Posts Tagged ‘cactus garden’


I left our tour of Longwood at the Peirce-du Pont House on my last Longwood post. If you walk around the house to the side, you can enter through the centre conservatory and see the house interior. The first addition was added to the Peirce house by du Pont in 1909 and a mirror image of the original farmhouse, with a library and additional bedrooms, was added in 1914. A 12-minute introductory video can be viewed by visitors in the library.


To the south of the house stands a grove of giants. Huge, beautiful trees. I especially enjoyed seeing the mature London Planetrees (Platanus acerifolia). London Planetrees are thought to be a hybrid of the native American sycamore (P. occidentalis) and P. orientalis. They are near the northern extreme of their range in Ontario and aren’t too common here. I’ve always found their bark fascinating.


The biggest of the trees have cables running up their trunks. Lightning rods!


Close to the house is the Open Air Theatre. Pierre du Pont became interested in the performing arts as a child, and built an outdoor theatre at Longwood between 1913 and 1914. By 1915, he’s had fountains installed in the stage floor. Many theatrical, musical and dance performances were conducted at summer garden parties. In 1926, renovations were made. Change rooms were added and the fountain displays expanded. Today, the fountains “perform’ for visitors and ‘dance’ to the stirring music of John Philip Sousa, a friend of Mr. du Pont.


On the way to the Theatre Garden, you pass under a pagoda covered with angel’s trumpets or brugmansia. It’s hard to think of a more impressive flower than these huge, pendulous blooms.


And here is the Theatre Garden. Surrounded by a low wall, the garden features cactus, succulents and yuccas.


It’s a peaceful spot, with many unusual and interesting plants to study. My favorite feature of the garden wasn’t a cactus, but a tree, a rebar tree. Rebar, or reinforcing bar, is a steel rod commonly used to reinforce concrete structures. In this garden, the rebar has been formed into a graceful structure to support a moonflower, or white morning-glory vine. Surprisingly charming.


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