Tales of travel, birds, exercise, nature, friends, beautiful places, ecology, and life in general.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Here I will share some photos from a trip to Longwood Gardens that I took with my good friend Kiri. For those of you not familiar --it is located in Kennett Square, PA and includes1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. It was a bit cold when we went so we stayed in the warm greenhouses, but still had a great time. First...a quick history lesson...
Pierre du Pont was the great-grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, who arrived from France in 1800 and founded the E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company gunpowder works. Pierre turned the family business into a corporate empire in the early 20th century and used his resulting fortune to develop the Longwood property. He is described on Longwood's website as an "industrialist, conservationist, farmer, designer, impresario, and philanthropist". I'm not really sure how indusrialist and coservationaist go together...and aside from him purchasing the land in 1906 "so he could preserve the trees", I couldn't find much on him as a conservationist. And DuPont is certainly not the best role model of conservation. In fact, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst ranked DuPont as the largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States.
HOWEVER.... In 2005, BusinessWeek magazine, in conjunction with the Climate Group, ranked DuPont as the best-practice leader in cutting their carbon gas emissions -- DuPont reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 65% from the 1990 levels while using 7% less energy and producing 30% more product. AND...in defense of Longwood Gardens--which seems a bit extravagent in is energy and water use--they do have many sustainable practices such as recycling, composting, and using many kinds of eco-friendly materials and products. So I guess I can't complain too much.
Anyway, its hard to find anything green right now let alone anything blooming--so this is the place to go! Longwood Gardens is currently having an Orchid Extravaganza!
The orchid family is currently believed to be the second largest family of flowering plants and the number of orchid species equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species. That's a lot!
FYI: Some Orchids of the genus Ophrys (called bee Orchids) bear flowers resembling female insects in appearance and smell. Male insects are attracted to the flowers and attempt to mate with them, thus pollinating the flowers. Sneaky lil flowers!