a stroll thru Ladew Topiary Gardens

onthresholds_Ladew 1

I think strolling is good for the soul. As are gardens. At least they are good for my soul. There is something about the slow pace of moving through a garden and taking everything in that feels restorative and even a bit luxurious. It’s something akin to walking through museum galleries, only most gardens are outside which adds another dimension to the experience (bees, dragonflies, frogs, not to mention the weather). And—despite the fact that we might also be in a garden for educational or cultural reasons, gardens, in general, feel more relaxed.

We can take our shoes off and no one will mind. Read more

community gardening day at the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens

onthresholds_old post card of conservatory

The Palm House at the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens in Baltimore City sits just off Druid Hill Park Lane, not far from the Maryland Zoo (many people believe it to be the old Reptile House, which it is not and never was, but it is a very common mistake). It is, and always has been, a gorgeous Victorian glass house filled with tropical plants and palm trees that reach high toward the ceiling where you can see the sky. It opened to the public in 1888 and is still going strong today. Read more

garden room

orchids and ferns at longwood_onthresholds

These orchids and ferns and pots and the hose and the window itself—a sultry scene for sultry days that makes me think of Blanche Dubois and her beautiful sadness…not a bad idea to stay inside and watch old Tennessee Williams’ movies like Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Night of the Iguana…and of course Suddenly Last Summer.

potted thyme

potted thyme_onthresholds

Honestly I don’t know how this thyme is growing. I bought it early this summer, knowing that we don’t have nearly enough sun to keep herbs alive, but when I saw it, I couldn’t resist its tiny fragrant leaves and the way it ever-so-slightly creeps over the pot, and now it is reaching for the sun…and looking lovely. I will feel awful even snipping off a little for some lemon thyme chicken—but I think it is a survivor. Usually I would roast the chicken but around here it is too, too hot for the oven, so we have been hooked on Barefoot Contessa’s grilled chicken with bow tie pasta and broccoli. Simple and very good and it doesn’t use a lot of fresh thyme—just a tablespoon (although I must admit, I just take a few stems and put them in the marinade, which makes it even easier).

Here’s the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-chicken-with-broccoli-and-bow-ties.html

afternoon at the gardens; or waiting for the orchids

Orchid Room empty_onthresholds

 When will the orchids be back in the orchid room? Soon, very soon. Do you have any perennial cuttings to share? I don’t think so. We are having a community gardening day on Friday across the street with a church youth group. Can you help? Yes. Is this the zoo? No. Are these plants for sale? Some. My husband proposed to me here. Very nice. Do you take credit cards? Not today. Where is the corpse flower?…it’s all over the news that it’s blooming. Not here. Is this the botanical garden? Isn’t there just one? No, there are many. What happens if a palm tree grows too big for the palm house? It is removed. Is that hard to do? Very. Does it break the glass? Has the glass ever been broken? I don’t think so. I’ve lived in this neighborhood most of my life but I’ve never been here. Glad you finally came. Was this the reptile house? No. Never? Never. If we have the wedding reception here, where will we dance? Here in the pavilion and there among the flowers and the palms…

To find out more about the world of the gardens and being a volunteer visit their website http://www.rawlingsconservatory.org/


a room of glass

Greenhouse at Longwood Gardens

It was a very different kind of day than today, a bitter cold winter day of snow and whipping winds when we found ourselves in this room of glass, one of many, so many rooms of glass, that your imagination runs wild and it is as if you are a child in a dream or a character in a storybook, lost among the beauty and wildness of a place that keeps you sheltered from the world…if only for a little while…fond memories of a quiet afternoon at Longwood Gardens.