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More Costumes from Downton Abbey

This is our third post about the Downton Abbey costume exhibit at Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Pennsylvania.

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A Maggie Smith lace coat from Downton Abbey

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Closeup of Maggie Smith lace coat from Downton Abbey

The first post introduced the downstairs staff costumes, the maids and footmen, and the second showed many of the upstairs gentry outfits, with closeups of the antique details, embroidery, lace, and fabric.

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The beautiful fabrics of these costumes must be seen in person

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Closeup of last costume

Today, we’ll continue highlighting the beautiful dresses worn by the ladies and outfits worn by the gentlemen too. There are some Pinterest boards that you might be interested in too that you might want to consult or just to study of scenes and portraits of the actors in costume.

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Dowager countess’ hat from Downton Abbey

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Lady Cora’s coat and hat in front of Downton Abbey scene

We were surprised to see the museum so crowded (but not uncomfortably so) when we visited on Tuesday. They report that the number of visitors has shot up because of this exhibit alone because of the popularity of the BBC series in America.

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Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley’s outfits from Downton Abbey

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Matthew Crawley’s pinstripe suit from Downton Abbey

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Closeup of Matthew Crawley’s pinstripe suit from Downton Abbey

Susannah Buxton, the former fashion designer for Downton, received an Emmy for costume design. The current fashion designer is Caroline McCall.

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Another outdoor costume for Lady Mary from Downton Abbey

According to Buxton, Downton Abbey clothes don’t strictly adhere to the period, but use the same aesthetic while trying to make Downton style attractive to modern audiences. She says it’s more a translation than historically accurate. Her effort was to have each costume support the personality of the character, rather than make a statement on its own. So many of the costumes cry out who wore each piece that I look at the photos and rarely ask myself which character wore what.

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Lady Mary’s outdoor hunting tweeds from Downton Abbey

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Lord Grantham’s outdoor wear from Downton Abbey

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Matthew Crawley’s tweeds from Downton Abbey

She has also said that it would be too expensive to make all the clothing required for each season entirely new, so the series management rents much of the clothing, or uses period pieces of material around which the rest of the costume is constructed.

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Lady Edith costume from Downton Abbey

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Closeup 1 of Lady Edith costume from Downton Abbey

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Closeup 2 of Lady Edith costume from Downton Abbey

I have clothing in my basement that once belonged to family members in the 1900’s, teens, 20’s, and 30’s. The detail of these fashions is similar to the antique parts of these costumes. Such amazing handwork long before machines took over lace making, knitting, embroidery, and similar textile decorations deserves to be preserved, if only in digital form from movie and TV cameras.

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Countess’ evening dress from Downton Abbey

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Lady Cora’s gown

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Closeup 1 from Lady Cora’s gown

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Closeup 2 from Lady Cora’s gown

Or would it be better to give them to museums to better preserve what is left? Do you know of any archivists trying to save this stuff for the future?

Next post on this subject will be my favorite costumes, one of them an extraordinary original dress from the 1920’s.

Orchids in Bloom in Mid-September at Longwood Gardens

We show our photos of the spectacular orchids in bloom this year at Longwood Gardens. It is an amazing place.

Orchid house 7 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 7 at Longwood Gardens

We have spoken with you about experiencing more than sight in your gardens. The Orchid House at Longwood Gardens overwhelms you with sight and smell. I would love to touch these plants, but don’t dare.

Orchid house 2 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 2 at Longwood Gardens

We spent only one day at Longwood Gardens, but should have budgeted more time.

Orchid house 3 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 3 at Longwood Gardens

They have a new Meadow Garden that they spent nearly 10 years developing and planting that is a wonder. We will post photos from that in a future article.

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Orchid house 4 at Longwood Gardens

The Meadow Garden is as far from the entrance as possible, and there is only a small boardwalk and paved area that I could take the electric cart.

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Orchid house 5 at Longwood Gardens

It is in the opposite corner from DH’s favorite place to photograph, the Eye of Water, so we had to trek corner to corner (or DH had to) so it took more time than we realized.

Orchid house 6 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 6 at Longwood Gardens

Still, it only costs $25 to rent a very sturdy electric cart to get around. Without that cart, there is hardly anything I could have seen with just my rollator.

Orchid house 8 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 8 at Longwood Gardens

We did not see many identifiers on the orchids (there is one on the first photo) so we cannot tell you orchid aficionados what specific orchids were in bloom.

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Orchid house 9 at Longwood Gardens

They crowd the blooms into a hanging garden that divides the paths that takes to other conservatories so it takes only seconds to pass by and only inhale their fragrance.

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Orchid house 10 at Longwood Gardens

We have posted previous years visits that gives you a fuller picture of the space, what we call the Orchid House.

Orchid house 11 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 11 at Longwood Gardens

This time DH went left with his camera and I went right. DH developed the photos.

Orchid house 13 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 13 at Longwood Gardens

In an earlier post we gave some interesting facts about orchids.

Orchid house 14 Orchids in Bloom in Mid September at Longwood Gardens
Orchid house 14 at Longwood Gardens

What is it you like about orchids?

Do you raise orchids?

 

10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter

Our Guest author today is Kate Wilson. Her website JetFeeds is a creative writer’s dream. She may be interested in everything known to human kind, but she certainly knows her winter hardy plants:

Batten down the hatches: the Farmer’s Almanac is calling for another harsh winter. For gardeners of all levels of experience, a cruel winter can produce feelings of pessimism or hopelessness. All your hard work might be laid to waste by snow, frost, and freezing temperatures. The chances of newly planted—or even veteran—species dying under the harsh conditions is high.

But don’t despair! Although some of your favorite heat-loving species will undoubtedly meet their wintery end, there’s no need for all of your hard work to go to waste. Try planting some of these hardy plants this fall, so come winter you’ll have something cheery to liven up your wintry landscape:

Holly

Holly bushes are usually one of the first winter-resistant species to jump to mind. This sturdy plant remains verdant all year round and—as an added bonus—actually becomes more vibrant and festive in winter months, thanks to its colorful berries.

Holly berries in the snow 8246571625 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Holly berries in the snow

Snowdrops

Snowdrops do well in cold weather; a harsh winter won’t stop these petite beauties from popping up come spring. Plant the bulbs around trees, lampposts, or shrubs and watch for them to break through the last snow to provide the first hope of spring.

Galanthus nivalis close up aka 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Galanthus nivalis photo by André Karwath aka licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Hellebores

If the name Hellebores doesn’t inspire confidence, perhaps the nickname “Snow Rose” will. This perennial is known to flower as early as January and won’t be deterred from its schedule thanks to snow.

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Helleborus niger photo by Wildfeuer licensed under CC BY 2.0

Golden Sword Yucca

Looking for a container staple that won’t turn your planter into a plant casket at the first sign of frost? The Golden Sword Yucca is great for year-round containers. It pairs well with a variety of other plants and, while it may not be as perky or vibrant in winter, it will snap back to top form come spring.

Starr 070906 9016 Yucca filamentosa 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Yucca filimentosa photo by Starr licensed under CC BY 2.0

Boxwood

Shrubs are always a great choice for all seasons. Evergreen shrubs may suffer aesthetically during winter like many other plants, but most retain some color over the winter, regaining full vibrancy come spring. Some species, like the Green Mountain Boxwood, sustain their rich color year round, even during winter.

Buchsbaum 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Photo of Green Mountain Boxwood by Buchsbaum

Hardy Sugar Cane

The name says it all: this plant is hardy. Hardy Sugar cane grows tall, towering over smaller plants without overwhelming; it adds vertical appeal that looks great year round. As an aesthetic bonus, the flowering heads shift from pink to silver through the seasons.

Kash phul11 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Hardy sugarcane photo by Tito Dutta licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Japanese Fiber Banana

Although it won’t produce fruit, the Japanese Fiber Banana provides a striking, tropical component to your garden. This particular species grows tall and produces massive, light green leaves. What’s more, it can bounce back after winter, even a winter that reaches down to -20 degrees.

Musa basjooSochi1 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Musa basjoo or Japanese Fiber banana

Smoke Bush

The Smoke Bush needs yearly pruning to maintain health and vibrancy, but will produce beautiful flowers and leaves that will dazzle in summer and fall. It comes in several varieties with unique hues, satisfying a range of visual preferences or needs. Known to do well in zones 5-8, the Smoke Bush can tough out a hard winter.

Cotinus coggygria Royal Purple1 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Smoke bush photo by KENPEI licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

 Arborvitae

Arborvitaes are classic choices for privacy hedges due to their slim shape and lofty height. Their tall and slim tendencies also make them a great vertical focal point in a decorative bed. They do well in zones 4-7, so they are sure to weather a nasty winter. They just need proper watering and a little trimming to maintain their beauty. [Shenandoah suggests caution with this plant if you live in a deer-infested area because deer love most species of arborvitae. She will report next year about the survival of her next door neighbors' newly planted "Green Giant" variety which is said to be "deer resistant."]

Ice storm 1 10 Hardy Plants Guaranteed to Survive Our Next Harsh Winter
Arborvitae branch encased in ice

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel provides unique beauty to your lawn and garden during all seasons. Hardy enough to thrive in zones 3-9, it lights up with yellow leaves in autumn, followed by yellow flowers that cling even after the leaves have fallen off.

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Beautiful witch hazel in bloom

A garden or landscape made completely of evergreen shrubs will likely look a little drab. However, mixing a variety of the above species together with bolder, less-winter-resistant species insures that your yard will sustain a large portion of its beauty even in the harshest conditions. Choosing hardier plants is just one of many tactics you can use to prepare your garden for winter. With enough preparation, come spring you’ll only have to overhaul your bolder, more temperature sensitive accent plants, not your whole landscape.

An Ancient Gardener Aging in Place

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