The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Longwood Gardens

Flowers at Longwood GardensBesides catching up with wonderful old friends, the highlight of my trip was a visit to Longwood Gardens on Friday.  I know I blab about plants endlessly, but the truth is that I often get bored by gardens which are simply ornamental with no fruits or vegetables.  But despite being beautiful, Longwood was anything but boring.

There were massive trees and perky blooms lining formal pathways.  Inside the conservatory, the pillars were coated with climbing figs, while in other rooms tree ferns surrounded
Conservatory at Longwood Gardenswaterfalls and epiphytes clung to mossy niches along the walls.  Child that I am, I adored the children's garden with its leapfrogging fountains and scent-alley.  The century old bonsai trees left me with a different kind of awe.

Back outdoors, cats rested on benches and wandered along the paths.  A sign explained that the felines were Longwood "employees" --- part of the garden's integrated pest management system.  I wonder whether there's science to back up using cats as integrated pest management --- do they eat enough moles and few enough birds to make it worthwhile?

The short version is --- next time you're in the Philadelphia area, I highly recommend that you take an afternoon and check out Longwood!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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