Longwood Gardens Part Two: Evening Stroll and Waterlilies
Part two of our Longwood Meadows tour continues where Part 1 left off- as we left the meadow and headed towards the rest of the main property looking for dinner and more.
First, something magical happened as we cooled down (it was hot in the sun - the meadow has little shade) and then we ended up walking down paths that were at their peak time. Golden-ish hour. I say ISH because it was honestly longer than an hour before the sun went down, but it was that gorgeous end of summer evening light.
We walked through the arboretum (above) past gorgeous flowering trees — I missed which one that was by the way above - flowering tree in the end of AUGUST!? Noted for our next visit to find out what that tree actually IS.
We saw this treehouse —> umm hi, I need this in my backyard (treehouse masters is in my distant future I think), and past my favorite evening location …
The Italian Gardens at Longwood Gardens.
Umm yes. Also yes, so authentic, yet perfectly Mid-Atlantic, yet so European - I was instantly brought back go my semester abroad in Italy. I truly truly regret not taking in the gardens more. I mean I lived in the city where Boboli Gardens exist and I took ZERO photos of it. What was I thinking?!? Well, I can say I was in awe or really cold most of the time in those gardens, and my little tiny digital camera in 2007 did little to even capture the beauty we saw there. But this, this little garden brought it all back. The complex dichotomy between strict geometry and the sculpture which has this very natural feel - think Villa Medici near Florence, think Tivoli Gardens near Rome - the flint style walls with adorable little elements of kitsch (whatever they called kitsch back in the Renaissance lol).
Do you see the frogs in this garden? Mom and I decided a few frog fountains are just what we need in her yard. Don’t tell Dad.
By the way, we were basically alone in the Italian gardens - we were almost alone in the meadow (not the farmhouse museum), but on a Friday night these two places, which came out to be some of my absolute favorites were the least populated. Take note visitors.
And then, we came across the fountains. The OTHER fountains.
The formal fountains didn’t exist back when I came the first time (ehhh I think it was 2013 and 2014) so the fact that they were even here and so amazing was incredible. And it was like taking a train from English meadows, to Italian gardens to German beer gardens ( we stopped for a hot-dog and vegan burger with beer and music in between) and then on to Spain’s open public gardens. I didn’t think I’d like the fountain display, but I LOVED it!! Make sure to watch the video below. Who knew fountains set to music could be so such a gorgeous and fun experience.
We were trying to decide whether to stay for the late night fountain display with the lights when I realized the sun was about to set and everyone was focused on the main fountains. I grabbed mom’s hand, and said - don’t look at the inside, dragged her through the orangery and to the lily pads. To say that you should definitely be there at sunset is a freaking understatement. Months later, this moment still brings me joy. I think it might forever, because of just how much my mother LOVED this, and how much joy seeing these brought her smile to life. We had had a beer at the beer garden (also not to be missed), but magical is just not the right word. PS. Yes, that’s a castle folly in the background. Bananas.
See that - she’s just super happy and smiling for me holding the camera - a rare sight! She usually complies lol, but this was just the calmest, happiest moments sitting here in this water garden.
I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves here. My words don’t do them justice.
And with that - head on over to Longwood Garden’s Website so you can prep your trip down there. The lilypads the size of cars did it for you right? Have you been to Longwood? What’s your favorite part? In our next posts we will go into the main building areas + the outside which we haven’t featured yet :) Stay tuned.