PHILADELPHIA REFLECTIONS
Musings of a Philadelphia Physician who has served the community for six decades

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Delaware (State of)
DelawareOriginally the "lower counties" of Pennsylvania, and thus one of three Quaker colonies founded by William Penn, Delaware has developed its own set of traditions and history.

Particular Sights to See:Center City
Taxi drivers tell tourists that Center City is a "shining city on a hill". During the Industrial Era, the city almost urbanized out to the county line, and then retreated. Right now, the urban center is surrounded by a semi-deserted ring of former factories.

Sights to See: The Outer Ring
There are many interesting places to visit in the exurban ring beyond Philadelphia, linked to the city by history rather than commerce.

Conventions and Convention Centers
When you have a big convention center, some circus is always coming to town. Philadelphia has always been a convention town, has had and still has lots of convention sites, and hopes to have more of the kind of famous convention we have had in the past.

Cultural
Culture and Traditions (2)

Gardens Flowers and Horticulture
Gardening, flowers and the Flower Show are central to the social fabric of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Gardens

{Ernesta Drinker Ballard}
Ernesta Drinker Ballard

There are many show gardens, mainly on former large estates, scattered around the United States, and the ones on Southern plantations are quite famous.

However, the fact of gardening is that climate has a lot to do with success. The really premier gardens of America are found in an East Coast strip from northern Virginia to southern Connecticut, with Philadelphia in the center of things. There is also a good-gardening area from Oregon to British Columbia, with a particularly notable garden in Vancouver, named after a sort of Philadelphian named Inazo Nitobe whose story is related in another blog. To have a really notable variation of exotic display plants, you need a lot of rain, a long cool spring, and a tradition of cultural association with the British Isles. Alkaline soils, generated by limestone, will produce a fine lilac display. Denmark would be a good place to go see that; but most of the show gardens in America are based on acid soils, with dogwood and azalea the predominant background coloration in May and June. A visitor from Michigan was once heard to ask what all the pink bushes were around Philadelphia, so it's likely the soil is not acid in Michigan. On the other hand, Korea is where wild azaleas originally came from, making the acid-soil hills crimson in the spring there. It should be noted in passing that Japan, Korea and the Delaware Bay are on the same 40-degree latitude, but Japan escaped the loss of species caused by glaciers of the ice age.

Many of the Philadelphia suburbs have thousands of azalea bushes in each town, and hundreds if not thousands of pink and white dogwood, or purple Empress Trees, or magnolias. When you have a lot of those as background to start with, you are ready to begin planting a show garden. For that we can largely thank John Bartram the botanist, one of the earliest Philadelphia settlers. The grounds of Friends Hospital are particularly notable for azalea display, and the Pennsylvania Hospital is pretty good, too. Although they are closer to Wilmington, the two most famous show gardens in the Philadelphia area are on duPont properties, Winterthur, and

{Longwood Gardens}
Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens, They feed you pretty well in the associated restaurants there, and the bookstores and gift shops are truly outstanding. But what in many ways is the best show garden in Philadelphia is Chanticleer , the former estate of a family that founded what is now Merck Pharmaceuticals, located in the suburb of Wayne, across the street from where Tracy Lord, the heroine of the The Philadelphia Story, lived on two square miles of the Main Line.

{Philadelphia Flower Show}
Philadelphia Flower Show

It's not clear why Chanticleer is such a well-kept secret, but it's sure worth the trip to see it at almost any season, May preferred. Interest in gardening is not limited to just a few big estates, it's a Philadelphia sport. Therefore it's not surprising to learn that the largest flower show in America is held in Philadelphia at Convention Hall in the Spring. If your feet aren't flat when you go in, they will surely be flat when you come out, because a complete tour would be miles long, threading among the aisles. It's not easy to guess how much money each exhibitor spends on a display, but it's surely not a cheap hobby when you get to this level. If you notice the landscaping on public grounds in the city, it's always a fair guess that it was paid for by the profits generated by The Flower Show . Almost everybody has heard of the Burpee Seed Company, and Mr. Burpee summed up the prevailing attitude of Philadelphia gardeners: "If you want to be happy for a day -- get drunk. If you want to be happy for a week -- get married. But if you want to be happy for a lifetime -- get a garden."


REFERENCES


Gardens of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley William Klein Jr. ISBN-10: 1566393132 Amazon

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8889 Horton Highway, College Grove, Tenn. 37046----I need a new catalog s I can write a good story on Dogwood trees in Tennessee. Many thanks. Bob Battle
Posted by: Bob Battle   |   Apr 12, 2008 7:05 PM
If you want to look up a lot more fabulous Philadelphia public gardens and arboreta, check out www.greaterphiladelphiagardens.org. It's an umbrella site for about 30 public gardens, including Bartram's Garden (the oldest living botanic garden in the country).
Posted by: Denise Ditzen   |   Nov 17, 2007 9:33 PM
If you want to look up a lot more fabulous Philadelphia public gardens and arboreta, check out www.greaterphiladelphiagardens.org. It's an umbrella site for about 30 public gardens, including Bartram's Garden (the oldest living botanic garden in the country).
Posted by: Denise Ditzen   |   Nov 17, 2007 9:33 PM
If you want to look up a lot more fabulous Philadelphia public gardens and arboreta, check out www.greaterphiladelphiagardens.org. It's an umbrella site for about 30 public gardens, including Bartram's Garden (the oldest living botanic garden in the country).
Posted by: Denise Ditzen   |   Nov 17, 2007 9:33 PM
If you want to look up a lot more fabulous Philadelphia public gardens and arboreta, check out www.greaterphiladelphiagardens.org. It's an umbrella site for about 30 public gardens, including Bartram's Garden (the oldest living botanic garden in the country). The site for Greater Philadelphia Gardens also features Winterthur and Longwood; as well as a couple of other du Pont estates, Mt. Cuba Center in northern Delaware, and Nemours Historic Mansion & Gardens in Delaware, which will reopen to the public in May 2008 after massive renovations. (Both these gardens are fairly close to Winterthur).
Posted by: Denise   |   Nov 17, 2007 9:32 PM
If you want to look up a lot more fabulous Philadelphia public gardens and arboreta, check out www.greaterphiladelphiagardens.org. It's an umbrella site for about 30 public gardens, including Bartram's Garden (the oldest living botanic garden in the country); also Winterthur and Longwood; as well as a couple of other du Pont estates, Mt. Cuba Center in northern Delaware, and Nemours Historic Mansion & Gardens in Delaware, which will reopen to the public in May 2008 after massive renovations. (Both these gardens are fairly close to Winterthur).
Posted by: Denise   |   Nov 17, 2007 9:29 PM

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