Longwood Gardens gives students the time and resources to organise outings to local horticultural places of interest. We have had the opportunity each week to be a part of these. It is a wonderful thing, firstly allowing students to catch up with others who may be working in different areas. Longwood is a large place and by its nature can become compartmentalised. Secondly, it enables one to see how others respond to different settings, and to discuss what enthuses each other.
Recently we visited the carosel lavender farm. This is a project started by a pair after they began renovating a historic farmhouse, which I believe began its life in 1748. The location of the farm is within the notable Bucks County, a staggeringly beautiful picturesque rustic idyll.
Incidentally they also have a couple of llamas. A surprising addition to the scenery, but one that I enjoyed. I am used to horses and cows coming over to see you from an english field. The llamas seemed friendly, but they certainly have an aloofness which I expected.
The renovation of the farm buildings had been undertaken with real care and skill. There were gardens surrounding the renovated farm buildings created in a cottagy style which suited their surroundings.
We have lavender farms near to Hidcote, and these scenes evoked memories of walking through the cotswold countryside. The feelings mixed with the mediterranean, focussed through the owner having strong ties to there, to form a beautiful scenic mixture.
A lavender maze was a beautiful area to play in and admire out of.
There was a good selection of lavender types and cultivars grown. The varieties had been selected by trial. The most successful varieties are then propagated. The progeny from specimens grown on the site are used to renew the collection, as these plants are adapted to the local environment better than specimens bought in. Both French (lavendula dentata) and English lavender (lavendula angustifolia) is grown.
Good husbandry involves keeping the plants compact, particularly to guard against snow damage, which actually serves to insulate the plant if it has good form. The slope is the key, provided keen drainage from the mature plantings. However, keeping the youngsters well watered during establishment is vital.
I liked the setting. The rural landscape and the renovated buildings. The ethos of the business was open, transparent, traditional, and at a scale not to lose this.
It was beautiful and functional, and allowed visitors to use the landscape how they wished. This flexibility impressed.