Monday, February 6, 2012

Mount Vernon Gardens

Boxwood parterre at Mount Vernon,  and greenhouse to the right, 2009
Yesterday Prudy and I went to hear a lecture at Green Springs Garden Park by Dean Norton, chief of horticulture at Mount Vernon. He was a great speaker, very engaged with the audience,  and relayed so many interesting details about the history of the gardens at Mount Vernon, and about all the work they have done to restore the Upper Garden according to George Washington's plans, a huge venture which was just finished about a year ago. Archaeologists dug up the gardens and were able to find many clues about how the gardens had been laid out in the 1780s and what had been planted there. Norton showed slides of the gardens at different times over the years, and of George Washington's actual drawings and plans for the gardens and greenhouse, as well as for the main house and outbuildings. Walt and I were there in the fall of 2009, and I can remember seeing the archaeologists digging in the garden when we were there. That's so amazing that they could tell the borders of the garden and what had been planted there during George Washington's life.

Gardens 2009

Now the garden is planted with heirloom plants, bulbs, perennials, annuals, shrubs, and roses, in keeping with what George Washington had planted. You can't see it very well, but in the picture above there is an archaeologist behind me sifting through garden soil at a table. We were there right when they started the garden renovation. So now we will have to go back for a visit this spring and see the gardens that George Washington planned.

Serpentine walls that have enclosed the gardens since George Washington's time

And below are a few pictures of plants blooming around Green Spring Park on a cold February afternoon.

Winter aconite

Winter jasmine

Hellebore foetidus

And of course it was Super Bowl Sunday, so later in the day we headed over to the Bensons to watch the game with the Rubards. Gillian made some delicious appetizers, minestrone soup, bread, and homemade cookies. We ate our way through the game, and all were happy to see the Giants win.

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