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Orchids at Longwood

There are times that we need to slow down and be in the moment. This is one of those times.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 15

It is wonderful to still be able to travel just a little way from home and access one of the most beautiful places on this earth.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 16

Longwood Gardens is one of those places. We posted our first article about their orchids in bloom last week.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 17

It is about 3 hours up the road from us.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 18

There are a lot of other places near it to visit as well, so you can stay for several days if you can afford the time.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 19

Other gardens nearby include Winterthur, Nemours, and Mt. Cuba, all originally developed by du Pont family members and now public spaces.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 20

We only stay 3 days, so we can’t take it all in in a single visit.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 21

We combined Longwood with Winterthur this year so we could visit both the gardens and museum exhibits at Winterthur.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 22

We also visited Valley Forge National Historical Park during this year’s visit.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 23

We take the pup, so we have to find a place that will accommodate her too.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 25

There is a fine small hotel in Chadds Ford called Brandywine River Hotel that is convenient to good food (Brandywine Prime and Dilworthtown Inn) and all the other places in the Bucks County area.

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 24

For those of you who have visited Longwood Gardens, what is your favorite place there?

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Longwood Gardens Orchid House 27

For those of you who have not visited, where is your favorite place to see gardens and landscaping?

My Favorite Downton Abbey Costumes at Winterthur

We posted earlier about our visit to Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Pennsylvania to see the costumes used on the first four seasons of Downton Abbey.

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Mr. Bates working

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Mr. Bates’ shoe shining outfit from Downton Abbey

We first showed you some of the costumes worn by the help and by the upper class men and women. Then we highlighted some of the outdoors clothing worn on the series.

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Ladies traveling kit from DuPont collection at Winterthur

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More of her traveling kit

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Gentleman’s trunk from Winterthur

Today, we want to share our favorites with you. There are some costumes that blew my mind, because of their design, because of the their color, because they were timeless, and because of who they represented in their personality. Daisy the scullery maid and Mrs. Patmore the cook are my favorite characters and their outfits were part of the exhibition.

Here’s the first of our favorites, also one of the most popular of the exhibit, judging by the number of visitors crowding around it:

Edith’s wedding dress

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Edith’s wedding dress

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Closeup 1 of Edith’s wedding dress from Downton Abbey

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Edith’s wedding dress from Downton Abbey showing part of the back in mirror

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Back of Edith’s wedding dress from Downton Abbey

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Train of Edith’s wedding dress from Downton Abbey

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Another closeup of wedding dress

Daisy’s work dress

Beside evoking Daisy, this costume is special in other ways. The apron has triangular pockets! and the waistline closeup looks like the way someone would sew by hand rather than with a sewing machine. I may have read somewhere that this is an authentic antique. But I don’t know if that is the apron or the dress.

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Daisy’s costume from Downton Abbey

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Closeup of Daisy’s costume from Downton Abbey

Mrs. Patmore’s dress and apron

Again, this costume evokes Mrs. Patmore perfectly. Can’t you see her staring at you, both kind and stern and uncertain and certain? Plain sewn edges, no lace, but double neckline — just lovely!

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Mrs. Patmore in the kitchen at Downton Abbey

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Closeup of Mrs. Patmore’s dress and apron from Downton Abbey
Rose’s flapper dress

This might be my most favorite. The photograph does no justice to the color and texture of this genuine antique. The color blows you away, and the velvet picks up every shade in the light. The beading is almost secondary to the outfit.

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Rose’s flapper dress from Downton Abbey

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Closeup 1 of Rose’s flapper dress from Downton Abbey

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Closeup 2 of Rose’s flapper dress from Downton Abbey

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Closeup 3 of Rose’s flapper dress from Downton Abbey
Lady Mary’s spider web dress

This dress was a surprise for me. I don’t think of Lady Mary as especially vampy, but this dress is all that and more. I imagine that the beading is antique, meaning that the dress or what there is of it is authentic, but it definitely requires underlayment and under garments galore!

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Mary’s spider web dress

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Closeup of Mary’s spider web dress

Sybil’s harem pants

This outfit drew a lot of press. It was not an antique but drew on a famous designer’s introduction of harem pants around the turn of the century. I have seen bodice embroidery like it machine made from about 50 years later, but this could be original to the period.

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Sybil’s harem pants from Downton Abbey

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Bodice closeup of Sybil’s harem pants from Downton Abbey

We’ll leave you with one of the great quotations from Downton Abbey, when the Dowager Countess is slyly poking at Matthew’s mother’s always pointing out what needs fixing. It is one of my favorites.

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Quotation of Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey

Enjoy the eye candy and share with us your favorites!

Flowers for Every Occasion — and No Occasion at All!

Our guest author today is Jessie Hughes. This is a sponsored post.

There are many specific occasions in life when it’s considered a good idea to give flowers. These range from happy events such as birthdays and anniversaries to sad times such as a bereavement. If you are thinking of sending flowers then it’s a good idea to know what the most appropriate blooms are for the occasion.

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Birthday bouquet photo by liz west licensed under CC BY 2.0

This isn’t as simple as ticking off a list because a lot of the consideration can be on a personal level but there are certainly some dos and don’ts to be aware of.

Flowers on a bereavement

Often people send flowers when someone dies as a sign of respect; there are several things to consider if you are thinking of doing this. If you are sending flowers for the actual funeral the most important thing is to find out whether flowers are actually wanted; some people ask for family flowers only and that donations should be made to a relevant charity instead.

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paper white narcissus in bloom

If flowers are being received then certain blooms are more popular for inclusion in such arrangements. Such flowers often include white lilies, roses and irises. If you knew the deceased, or know the family, well then you may be in a position to include a favorite or meaningful bloom in the arrangement.

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Lily bouquet by Nico Crisafulli licensed under CC BY 2.0

Of course you can also send flowers to the family of the deceased after the funeral. The choice for this can vary from a white and more somber bouquet to a color and type of bloom that you know will be appreciated by the recipient.

Birthday celebrations

If you are buying flowers for someone on their birthday then you are probably going to consider the recipients preferences in your purchasing decision. But what if you don’t know the person that well; what sort of flowers can be fun and bring a smile? Sunflowers are excellent for doing this; they symbolize warmth and happiness. The face of the sunflower also reflects the longevity of the sun itself so you are wishing the recipient many more happy birthdays to come.

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Sunflower photo by Panos Photographia licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wedding Anniversaries

Roses are a traditional bloom for love, so they are extremely popular as a gift on wedding anniversaries. But that doesn’t mean they are the only flowers you can send on these occasions. There are certain flowers that are usually sent on certain anniversaries. Freesia is commonly sent on the seventh wedding anniversary and is a symbol of fidelity and trust.

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Freesia photo by Jukka Heinonen licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Tulips are many people’s favorite flower of love and are also a symbol of grace; they are traditionally sent on eleventh wedding anniversaries.

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Rose in front of rose

No Reason at All!

You can see how much flowers are an integral part of gift giving on several life occasions; of course you can actually give flowers at any time, you don’t have to have a reason. But if you are going floral for a specific reason then it’s a good idea to put some thought behind the purchase and buy blooms that effectively reflect the occasion.

Have Flowers Sent to You

Remember, men, women love flowers! Anytime, anywhere, any reason. Just do it! You’ll be rewarded in ways you can’t imagine. You don’t have to have the flowers delivered, or you can have them delivered to yourself and then take them in hand to your love. It’s less expensive than a fancy meal, easier than shopping for that just right gift of jewelry, and the memory to her will last FOREVER!

Back in March, Fleeting Architecture published an article about some of the meanings of flowers, including their types and colors. Go visit for some guidance as to what you might want to send others.

An Ancient Gardener Aging in Place

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