Monday, September 3, 2007

Off to College

Well, I've had a life changing event this week. We sent the last kid off to college. All the way to Boston. For what ever reason both girls decided that the East coast was where they wanted to be. So Alexa and I drove out to Boston and as we like to do, we made a detour. I have always wanted to visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt house in Hyde Park, New York. It wasn't too far off the New York State Throughway. The house actually belonged to his mother, Sara, and many of the original furnishings are still in the house. We also toured Eleanor's cottage, where she retired to after FDR died, Val-Kill, and a Vanderbilt mansion. There were gardens at both houses and Alexa allowed me to wander through them and take a few pictures.

The gardens at the Vanderbilt mansion were beautiful. At the time the Frederick and Louise lived there, in the late 1800s, at the height of the "Gilded Age," when the grandchildren were busy spending the money their industrialist grandparents and parents had amassed, the gardens supplied all of the cut flowers used in the house. According to our guide, 50-60 arrangements were made everyday. This bed to the right is planted with red cannas surrounded by what I recall to be dwarf pennisetums, or fountain grass. In front is a mass planting of pink zinnias.

This is a view of the Hudson river from the Vanderbilt house. This mansion is the smallest of all the Vanderbilt mansions, with a mere 54 rooms. Frederick Vanderbilt was the black sheep of the family, having married a woman 10 years his senior and divorced from one of his cousins. He recieved $10 million less than his brothers, but interestingly was the only brother to have any money left at the end of his life. The mansion was willed to a niece who immediately put it up for sale for $350, 000 and after getting no takers lowered the price to $250,000. Eventually, for $1 and a big tax break, she gave it to the US National Park Service after appealling to her neighbor at Springwood, President Roosevelt.

My Favorite Gardening Magazine

If I am reduced to writing about my favorite magazine, you would not be amiss if you assumed a slow news week here at Countryside. I don't know about you but I am really looking forward to some cooler weather and NO MOSQUITOS! In the meantime I've been thumbing through some of my Gardeners' World magazine that I wasn't able to thoroughly read when they arrived earlier in the summer.
This magazine is published by the BBC as an adjunct to their popular television series of the same name. I don't know if they show this program on HGTV, since I am the only person on the planet without cable, but all of the program's personalities write articles for the magazine. The pictures are fabulous. I especially like reading about new plant introductions and the section titled, "What to do now." There is a great section on container gardening and always lots of new ideas for the garden. It is very inspirational, especially during the dark days of winter. I took a bunch of last year's issues into work and left them on the lunch table, if you would like to come in and take a look.
What's your favorite gardening magazine? Drop us line and let us know.

1 comment:

April said...

very interesting historical garden info. An interesting, and tragic garden visit.