Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Mansions & Gardens of Newport Rhode Island: The Elms and The Breakers

Newport Mansions & Gardens

The Elms
I recently returned from a second visit to the Newport mansions and the beauty and history behind these magnificent estates is astonishing.    In a previous post I shared a visit to the Marble House and tour along the infamous Newport Cliff Walk.  Follow along with me as we visit the Elms which is known for its majestic gardens and the Breakers which is known for being one of the largest of the Newport mansions.
The Elms (Back)

The Elms was the former summer retreat of businessman Edward Julius Berwind, founder of the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company, and his wife Herminie.  Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the Pennsylvania coal industry and in 1898 the Berwinds hired architect Horace Trumbauer to design the Elms modeled after a mid eighteenth century French Chateau outside of Paris.  Construction was completed in 1901 at a cost of approximately 1.4 million dollars.  The beautiful Classical Revival gardens at the home were developed between the years of 1907 and 1914 and include specimen trees, a massive lower garden, fountains, marble pavilions, a sunken garden and carriage house.  When Mrs. Berwind passed in 1922, Mr. Berwind invited his sister Julia to act as a hostess at both his New York and Newport homes until his death in 1936.    Julia then continued to spend summers at The Elms until her death in 1961 and the mansion was put up for public auction. The Preservation Society of Newport purchased The Elms in 1962 and opened it to the public.   It is now designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The Elms Classical Revival Gardens (Lower Level)
The Elms Marble & Bronze Fountain
The Elms (Front Entry)
The Elms Back Gardens on Great Lawn
The Elms Lower Gardens and Pavilion
150 Year Old European Copper Beech Tree ~ Fagus sylvatica ‘Cuprea’
Family:  Fagaceae
Height 50-60 feet and Spread 35-45 feet
Zones 4-7
Native to Europe
The Breakers
The Breakers is the former summer residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt built the family fortune in the steamship industry and later in the New York Central Railroad and grandson Cornelius Vanderbilt II later became Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885. The Breakers is the largest of the Newport mansions consisting of 70 rooms including a two and a half story Great Hall and Morning Room. Cornelious Vanderbilt II purchased the original wooden structure that was destroyed by fire in 1892 and hired architect Richard Morris Hunt in 1893 to design an Italian-Renaissance style palazzo. The Vanderbilts had seven children and youngest daughter Gladys inherited the house in 1934. She opened The Breakers in 1934 to raise funds for the Newport Preservation Society and when she passed the home was purchased by the Preservation Society in 1972 and declared a Historic Landmark.   
The Breakers
The Breakers Entry
The Breakers Gardens
The Breakers Side Entry
The Breakers Great Lawn
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of the Newport Mansions and gardens.   Thanks to the Preservation Society of Newport County these magnificent mansions that are part of our national heritage will remain historical landmarks that can be enjoyed by all. I also visited the Green Animal Topiary Garden which is one of the oldest topiary gardens in North America.  I will dedicate an entire future post to these magnificent and fascinating gardens of Newport.
As Always...Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day: August 2013

August 2013 Garden
Welcome to my August northeastern garden.  It's hard to believe that the summer has passed by so quickly and that it is time for another Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.  This year has been a whirlwind of unexpected changes starting with a season that was two to three weeks behind schedule to the present time where we are ahead of the norm in many respects.   A cool spring was followed by instant summer with 90 degree temperatures and much rain which caused the gardens to rapidly progress.  Come take a walk with me to see what is blooming in August.
Crape Myrtle 'Sioux'
 The Crape Myrtles are in full bloom and I have been practicing with my newest Nikon camera zoom lens to get this close up.  It took several tries adjusting the lens until I got this one!
Crape Myrtle 'Sioux' Bark
 While photographing I noticed the bark rapidly peeling off my Crape Myrtle.  This is a sign that the tree has finally reached its full maturity.  It sheds its outer darker bark and displays the beautiful coloration you see of the attributes of the tree.
 Here is one of the resident dragonflies.  I am convinced that it is the same one that lands on the top of this lily stem several times a day and poses for me!   They are welcome guests in the garden.
Dwarf Butterfly Bush and Heuchera 'Caramel'
 Around the bend is my dwarf butterfly bush Low & Behold 'Blue Chip' displaying its purple blooms next to Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Caramel') ...
Butterfly Visitor
and the resident Monarch Butterfly is enjoying the nectar of the flower.  While there was an abundance of Monarchs and Swallowtails last season they seem to be lacking this summer so it took some patience to get this photograph.  This welcome visitor came just in time for Bloom Day!
Coreopsis 'Zagreb'
 By the driveway entry Coreopsis 'Zagreb' is now in full bloom.  The bright yellow daisy-like flowers put on quite a display and usually last from July well into the fall.
Oriental Lilly 'Stargazer'
Technically these 'Stargazers' ended up blooming two weeks earlier this year falling right between the two Bloom Days so I included them here. I just love them too much to leave them out!  Their fragrance fills the yard every summer.
Dwarf Fountain Grass Plume
I have numerous fountain grasses on the property and they are starting to display their late summer plumes.  This one is called 'Hameln'.
'Nikko Blue' Hydrangea Bloom
 The hydrangea are nearing the end of their season so perhaps it is time to bring in some dried seed heads for decoration...
Knock Out Rose (Double Pink)
 while the Double Knock Out Roses just keep on blooming which is what I love about them.   
Platycodon (Balloon Flower)
By the patio is an interesting conversation piece called Platycodon or "Balloon Flower".  The blooms look like tiny balloons (hence the name) that you can pop once they turn brown.  It reminds me of the plastic bubble wrap that comes with packaging and my guests enjoy popping the spent flowers..such fun!
Daylily 'Sammy Russell'
 By the pool the 'Sammy Russell' Daylily are getting towards the end of their bloom...
Sedum 'Brilliant'
while the Sedum are getting ready to produce their vibrant pink flowers that should be here in about two weeks heading the garden into September.
Crape Myrtle 'Tuscarora'
On the other side of the property is my other Crape Myrtle...'Tuscarora' that has a deeper pink bloom.  Both Crape Myrtles will bloom up to 120 days and I look forward to their display in late summer.
Hydrangea 'Tardivia'
Along the side of the house is my Hydrangea 'Tardivia' tree that I purchased years ago and is now approximately eight feet tall and is covered in fragrant white blooms.
Knock Out Rose (Double Red)

and here is Red Double Knock Out Rose still blooming away.

Thank you for visiting my Long Island August garden.  Please visit our Bloom Day hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what is blooming in other gardens around the world.  If you like leave a note to let me know you stopped by and I will be sure to visit you as well.
Happy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and...As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Gardens of Aruba: A Look Beyond Part II

Beyond the gardens of the northeast there is a world of tropical flora and fauna. I recently traveled back to the island of Aruba in the Dutch Caribbean and again captured some of its beauty. Aruba is a 20 mile (33 kilometer) long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela. Mostly a dry desert island with an average rainfall of less than 20 inches per year Aruba's main flora consists of cacti, aloe and agave; however, many tropical plantings have been introduced to the island. The variation of colors and textures of these plants is so interesting that they are definitely worth sharing. Most are in full bloom throughout the year and are a welcome site to the avid gardener! You will also view some of the local fauna that by the way are not at all camera shy!
Aruba Blooms

Yucca Flower

Island Bird in Croton Plant
Divi-divi Tree
The Divi-divi tree is Aruba's natural compass with its permanently bent artistically shaped branches pointing to the west...the direction of the trade winds that come across the island from the northeast.
Palms, Yucca and Agave
Ixora coccinea (Jungle Geranium Pink and Orange)

Sea Grape Tree

Variegated Yucca
 Tropical Azalea
 Ixora coccinea (Jungle Geranium Orange)
Giant Spider Lily Queen Emma Lily (Crinum augustum)

Colombigallina passerina (Common Ground Dove)

While out of my gardening zone I am not familiar with many of the species of these plants but I have been able to identify several through research.  For more Aruba blooms visit my previous post at Gardens of Aruba: A Look Beyond.  So for now it is a bid farewell and back to my gardens in the northeast.  I hope you enjoyed visiting the flora and fauna of Aruba. 

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved