Arm Chair Travel for Gardeners

Arm Chair Travel for Gardeners
My favorite time to travel is normally the fall and spring. During those periods, temperatures tend to be comfortable and lots of things are in bloom.

While we’re waiting for winter to pass and spring 2005 to arrive, this is a good time to begin our planning our garden tours.

During the first half of the year, a number of garden and flower shows will be taking place. These are great places to get some design ideas and landscaping tips. The Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show—Gardens of New England is taking place February 17-20. It will be staged in the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

In Cleveland, there’s the Cleveland Home and Garden Show from February 5th through the 13th. This is taking place at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland.

From February 24th through the 27th, there’s the Maymont Flower and Garden Show. Held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, this marks the 16th year the show has taken place. For 2005 there will be a number of display gardens based on movie-inspired themes.

Continuing in March, you can visit any number of flower and garden shows. Starting on March 1st and running through the 5th is the Southeastern Flower Show. This will take place in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center. From March 3rd through the 7th, the Midwest Regional Lawn, Garden, and Flower Show, “Symphony in Bloom,” will take place at River Center in Davenport, Iowa.

On March 4-6th, there is also the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. The title for this year’s show is “Celebration of Orchids.” 2005 is the 60th year this has been held. It will take place at the east Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara.

Later in May there is the renowned Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 24-28. But you don’t have to travel that far to enjoy a spectacular event. The Cleveland Botanical Garden Flower Show is the largest outdoor flower show in North America. This is modeled after the Chelsea Flower Show. There’s no better way to spend Memorial Day weekend. This year will be the 75th anniversary of the show. For this event, the theme is “The Garden as Art.”

Winter is a great time for arm chair travel. In this process, we learn a lot about our landscaping likes and dislikes. This is a pleasing activity for gardeners who feel warm weather can never arrive early enough. Here are some of my favorite garden travel titles. There’s no better place to start than Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. “Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello” was published by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and is distributed by the University of North Carolina Press. This collection of photographs and essays shows the home and garden at its very best, and showcases this world class residence with its fine art objects, furniture, and artifacts. A number of experts at Monticello contributed to this volume, including Peter J. Hatch, Director of Gardens and Grounds. Separate chapters are devoted to the architecture, the gardens, plantation life, and the furnishings. It is lushly illustrated with color photos and plans for the home and gardens.

Though it may not be as widely known among average gardeners, the Holden Arboretum is a world-class arboretum in its own right. Its exquisite beauty is beautifully portrayed in “The Holden Arboretum” from the University of Akron Press. Featuring photographs by Ian Adams and text by Steve Love, this is part of the press’s series on Ohio History and Culture. It is available both as a paperback and hardcover. Located in Kirtland, Ohio, Holden Arboretum came into being when Albert Fairchild Holden endowed the arboretum in the memory of his 12-year-old daughter following her untimely death. Essentially a living museum, it features 3400 acres of display gardens, woodlands, meadows, and forests. The introduction presents the engrossing history of the arboretum and its expansive gardens. Following that are pictorial essays showing Holden during the various seasons of the year.

If travel to the United Kingdom is in your future, you'll definitely want a copy of "Hudson's Historic Houses & Gardens." It is published by the Globe Pequot Press. This year marks the 16th year this popular guide to Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been available. Lushly illustrated in color, it is very reader-friendly, and has all the information you'll need in planning your visit. Among the many features are descriptions, locations, the opening times, contact information, admission prices(if any), websites, and lists of special events.

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Globe Pequot Press

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