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More Memories of Winterthur Gardens

We shared photos of the Quarry Garden at Winterthur in October on our last post. We were so delighted with this garden, we want to share more of the memories of Winterthur’s gardens, especially more of the Quarry Garden, today. Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-42-59Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-42-17Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-40-40Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-38-49Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-37-20Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-36-48Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-36-17Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-35-27Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-34-20Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-33-54Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-33-11Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-32-34Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-32-00Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-31-55Fleeting Architecture 2014 259 14-31-43The whole place is swoon-worthy. Enjoy!

Quarry Garden at Winterthur

In mid September, we took a 3-day trip to the Brandywine River area near Philadelphia that is best known for the many mansions, museums, and gardens formerly owned by the du Pont family. We have shared with you our photos of the costumes on exhibit and the introductory tour of the mansion at Winterthur Museum and Gardends, the Italian Water Garden, the orchids, and the main water garden at Longwood Gardens, and Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Winterthur Quarry Garden
Winterthur Quarry Garden

Today we want to share with you our photos of a small garden at Winterthur called the Quarry Garden.

Flowers in the Quarry Garden
Flowers in the Quarry Garden

Flowers in the Quarry Garden
Flowers in the Quarry Garden

As you might already know, if you’ve ever ventured off Quarry Lane down the stone steps and into the quarry itself, there is a path leading to a set of four beautiful stone masonry weirs.

Hardscaping in the Quarry Garden
Hardscaping in the Quarry Garden

These weirs were originally built to direct the Quarry’s streams down to the meadows and pond through a series of waterfalls.  However, today some of the weirs are not so effective as they used to be as you can see in this photo of a weir where the water is flowing through the stonework instead of over it.

Hardscaping in the Quarry Garden
Hardscaping in the Quarry Garden

Therefore, this winter, Winterthur will be restoring the weir stonework and resetting boulders along the stream so the waterfalls return and visitors can have better access to this gorgeous waterway – stay tuned for more updates on the restoration process!

Hardscaping in the Quarry Garden
Hardscaping in the Quarry Garden

Just like our own shady garden, there are tons of mahonia in the Quarry Garden. There are about 70 species in the genus Mahonia, which is named for Bernard McMahon, a 19th century American horticulturist.

Mahonia in the Quarry Garden
Mahonia in the Quarry Garden

Leatherleaf mahonia, Mahonia bealei, is an evergreen shrub with large pinnately compound leathery leaves, which are also sharply spiny.  The leaves, which resemble those of hollies, form in horizontal tiers. It has an open, irregular habit and grows to be about 6 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide in this area.  Its overall texture is wonderfully coarse.  The old growth bark is grayish brown and furrowed.  And the flowers are followed by beautiful powdery blue fruit that resemble clusters of grapes.  The birds love these once they have ripened!

Mahonia in the Quarry Garden
Mahonia in the Quarry Garden

Leatherleaf mahonia is native to China. It grows in USDA zones 6-9. It prefers partial to full shade and moist, well drained soil. Leatherleaf mahonia makes an excellent year round addition to the naturalistic garden with its interesting silhouette, evergreen foliage, fragrant yellow flowers and blue fruit.  And it is certainly appreciated on cold winter days!

When we were there, black-eyed susans and Royal Standard hosta were thickly blanketing the slopes.

Looking down into the garden
Looking down into the garden

Black eyed susans
Black eyed susans

Quarry Garden
Quarry Garden

Quarry Garden
Quarry Garden

Quarry Garden
Quarry Garden

Huge Royal Standard Hosta are everywhere
Huge Royal Standard Hosta are everywhere

Du Pont studied The Wild Garden (1904) and other writings by British horticulturists William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll. The result was Winterthur’s March Bank, the oldest surviving garden area at Winterthur, begun when Du Pont was in his 20’s. He began naturalizing daffodils on the bank and by the 1940s had planted thousands of snowdrops, snowflakes, crocus, squills, and glory-of-the-snow. What we saw was Sycamore Hill as a field of autumn crocus:

Winterthur March Bank
Winterthur March Bank

Winterthur March Bank
Winterthur March Bank

Autumn crocus on Winterthur March Bank
Autumn crocus on Winterthur March Bank

Autumn crocus on Winterthur March Bank
Autumn crocus on Winterthur March Bank

How I Wrote a 250+ Page Travel Guide eBook

As friends and family come visit us, I have been showing them my progress in producing a travel guide on the Everglades directed at those who depend on wheels to get around – using strollers, walker/rollators, or wheelchairs. They are fascinated with the approach I have used, and have asked questions in which you might be interested as well.

Alligator along Anhinga Trail
Alligator along Anhinga Trail

Why the Everglades?

I have traveled all over the country and spent a lot of time at many other national parks and outdoor habitats. But the Everglades was the first place we ever visited that just wasn’t what we were expecting. It was so much more.

  • I didn’t expect to find so much to like – the weather (in the winter, of course), the birds, the landscape, the sheer size, the remoteness, the lack of human habitation, the solitude, the food, the people that we did encounter.
  • I didn’t realize how large the Everglades ecosystem is as compared with the Everglades National Park. It stretches from Orlando to the Keys including the water off the Gulf and Atlantic!

    Wood stork in the Everglades
    Wood stork in the Everglades
  • I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about the place. Its history, its survival in spite of our efforts to “drain” it, its uniqueness in the world’s habitats, the rare species of plants and animals that inhabit it, and most of all, how accessible the place is if you take the time to drive to and through it.
  • I didn’t know how accessible it was for those dependent upon wheels to get around. There are many boardwalks built into the landscape, lots of tours can accommodate wheelchairs, and there are many hotels that have roll-in showers and other accessible bathing equipment.

    Anhinga drying its wings in the Everglades
    Anhinga drying its wings in the Everglades

 Why an iBook?

We started out to put together an album of our photos of the Everglades and neighboring parks and preserves. This grew into a mini research project as we studied where we had visited, planned more visits in the surrounding environs, and tried to identify the various flora and fauna we encountered behind the camera lens. We had tested the waters, so to speak, of producing an eBook and iBook, “A Garden for the Five Senses.” This book is only available in electronic form, either as an iBook for the Apple OS or as a Kindle Fire product (although I also produced a pdf for those without either Apple or Kindle hardware.)

Sky over Everglades City
Sky over Everglades City

I liked the way the Apple could enlarge the photographs for the viewer with a touch on the screen. I also saw that there was a lot more that it could do if we wanted to reference other parts of the book or take the reader to the internet. This is not possible with an eBook for the Kindle or for pdf documents. So when I made the decision to produce a full fledged travel guide in electronic format, I also saw that only the Apple iBook would give the reader the full functionality that I wanted them to have. This limits me in readership, but until I figure out how to provide the guide in other formats that are still useful, I decided to go forward with the platform that provides the best reader experience and functionality.

Cormorant at Big Cypress National Preserve
Cormorant at Big Cypress National Preserve

How Do You Use the Book?

When people use a travel guide, they don’t necessarily read the guide from beginning to end. They might approach it in a step-wise fashion:

  • Do I want to go to this place? To help the reader decide, we have included some of our favorite photographs of places we have visited and animals and plants we have seen. We have also included other photographers’ pictures that we think captures the ambiance and mood of the place. We even put bird sounds and alligator bellows into the book so you could hear the wild. (We could spend a lifetime photographing these special locales and not, by ourselves, convey the beauty and ethereal splendor of some of these places.) Thanks to our many underwater photographers and audio specialists for making what the book can share with its viewers and listeners.

    Setting sun over Everglades water's edge
    Setting sun over Everglades water’s edge
  • Okay, I’ve decided I want to go. There are so many questions now: when to go, where to stay, how to get around. To help you decide, we have chapters up front on when to go, how to get accessibility equipment if you don’t bring your own, and where some nice lodging with accessible baths are located.
  • Okay, I’ve decided where I want to go. What can I do there? To help you decide, we included separate chapters on each park, preserve, and other location, with some parks having several chapters because there is so much to do.

    Turkey vulture over the Everglades
    Turkey vulture over the Everglades

How Did You Produce the Book?

  • I started with DH’s marvelous photographs and the application “iBooks Author.” We had done the research to get us nice places to stay overnight, tried out tours, navigated the trails, tried the food and shopping opportunities.
  • Organization began around Miami since that was the biggest (and so most likely) city from which travelers would start out. I decided it made sense then to move east coast to west in the chapters.

    Little blue heron
    Little blue heron
  • I made most locations a separate chapter with its own history, ecology, what there is to do there, and sometimes special information like: the differences between crocodiles and alligators; or, how an ibis hunts for its food. Because there are so many accessible trails in the Everglades National Park, there are several chapters on it, with one for each trail.
  • I devoted a chapter on how to get special passes for entry into the national and state parks and a chapter on renting medical scooters, places to stay with accessible baths, and special tours and other stops.
  • I introduced a special chapter that is a kind of electronic index to plant and animal photographs to help newbies to identify visually some of the “strange” beings they might encounter. I wrote for permissions to reproduce photos, maps, and sounds if they were not available through Creative Commons for commercial use.

    Swamp lily in the Everglades
    Swamp lily in the Everglades

Pretty soon, 50 pages turned into 100, then 150, then 200, then 250. One step, one word, one photo at a time.

What Took the Most Amount of Time?

I must admit that most of my time has been spent on editing the “bookmarks” that link the names of plants and animals to their

Snowy egret in the Everglades
Snowy egret in the Everglades

photographs in the book. This is, in my opinion, a deficiency in the iBook Author software. I cannot link the actual photograph or its caption to a word in the text. I can only link a word in the text to another word. So what I have done is link the word or phrase, for example, “ghost orchid” where ever it occurs in the text, to another word on the same page where the photo of a ghost orchid is shown. This means that every time a change is made in wording, organization, size of photograph, etc., the page where the bookmark word exists might shift from the page where the photograph is. So I recompile the book over and over and check like a reader would do to make sure when he clicks or touches a highlighted word, for example, “slash pine,” he is taken to a picture of a slash pine. And there are hundreds of highlighted animals and plants in the book.

Did You Do Everything Yourself?

No, I paid a professional graphics artist to produce the cover. I used many more photos than DH took most with Creative Commons licenses, but some snagged by their generous artists. I also used bird sounds from  Xeno-Canto.org, Creative Commons commercial use allowed by Jonathan Jongsma.

DH also edited the text, helped with layout, and general management.

What Now?

I have asked for volunteer readers and beta testers to see if they like the experience on their iPads and/or Macs. I hope that they can use the guide in the field to check out the bird or plant as they encounter it in the ‘Glades and that the guide is not too slow to use on their iPads. I ask any of my readers to volunteer, remembering that I need readers that have some type of Apple device to test it out. If this goes well, we’ll go live on iTunes for wider distribution.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Are any of you in the middle of a publication project?

An Ancient Gardener Aging in Place

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