Saturday, May 21, 2016

New York City #2

 Friday was one of those days where beauty shows up in such abundance that it pours over your soul like a waterfall, impossible to capture it all but just as impossible not to walk away renewed and inspired.

We began the day at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

The guard at the front gate could already sense my emotions when I caught my first glimpse of the azalea garden and with a chuckle told me not to get too excited. Ha ha! Good thing he didn't see me when we discovered the tree peonies!

We couldn't get over the vibrancy of the azaleas. Really how can these be described? They were like some sort of other-worldly blazing neon sculptures. I just stood staring, trying to fit them into my everyday flower experience.

Perhaps part of the phenomena with azaleas is that they bloom without many (or any) leaves on the bushes so there is no balancing of color and blooms with the complementing green which gives them their out of the ordinary appearance. Christy and I were having a hay day with our cameras!

The other amazing flower in bloom was the wisteria. Talk about another artistic flower -- the vivid spring green contrasting with the delicate lilac color of the blooms that fall like exquisite bunches of grapes from the vine. Another sight I couldn't take my eyes from.

The building behind is the Brooklyn (Art) Museum. It made a beautiful backdrop for the garden. 

While the colored azaleas really captured my heart I found the white ones quite mesmerizing because of the massive amount of dazzling white against a darker background. 

Then we discovered that although lilac season was about over there were still several bushes in bloom! I was thrilled because I've been without a lilac bush of my own for about a year and really miss this flower that has deep roots in my childhood memories.

The color and scent were just heavenly.

Isn't this "Sensation" lilac so pretty with the outline in white? We found ourselves talking about our grandmothers who also loved lilacs.

Just look at this bloom! Perhaps you can almost smell it yourself!

You can see I was in a very happy place!

After the lilacs we strolled through the rose garden with our imaginations in gear, closing our eyes to consider what this place must look like in full bloom with climbing roses bursting over every arch and the scent of tea roses wafting from every corner of the garden. It surely means a return visit at a different time!

Then from a distance I caught sight of the tree peony garden and that's when the waterfall of beauty suddenly became a tidal wave of energy that I'm still riding.

Tree Peonies are a bit different from the regular garden peony. They grow from a woody stem in the ground and the stem doesn't disappear in the winter. Their bushes grow taller and the flowers grow in enormous sizes. These beauties are somewhat rare in the average garden, beginning with the cost of just one bush. So, to find an entire mature garden of such plants is quite overwhelming.

The blooms are just incredible in size and color and since pink is one of my favorite colors I am even more closely attached to these flowers.

Can you see the size of these blooms? They are magnificent and it is almost impossible not to reach out and touch them!

 This delicate pink with the crinkly petals was stunning. I just want to wear one of these except that it would be too big!

One bloom on its own is stunning enough,

but then an entire bush and garden? It really is beauty overload.

Christy and I couldn't get over the coral/salmon color of this one variety. It was breathtaking in real life.

One of the more simple blooms:

It was fun to listen to the other visitors. You could tell they too were having a hard time keeping their awe and amazement to themselves! In fact some couldn't and we just had to share our amazement out loud with whoever was standing there admiring them.

I probably could have spent hours taking in each blossom and revisiting them all again.

I think it would have made a wonderful setting for a concert.

Oh just look at these! Don't you just want to hold one of those in your hands and feel how enormous it is, inhale the delicate lemon perfume, and gaze at each petal!!!! (oh yes, I am crazy about these things!)

An attempt to capture the color of the coral flower:

There was one yellow bush which doesn't speak to me nearly as much but for its rarity:

The white blooms were beautiful too -- like many layered dresses of the finest organza.

And these with the cream centers -- how beautiful they would be for a wedding!

There was one bush with a sort of candy stripe! Also appealing because of its rarity as well as its garishness.

I think this is one of my favorite pictures.  I just can't stop staring.
And this is one very happy Heather. 

We couldn't spend the whole day with the peonies because there was much more to see! Off we strolled to the Japanese garden!

And then we discovered the bluebell woods! Oh it was as if we stepped into England!

I couldn't believe the timing of our visit allowed us to see these bluebells. I think they arrive much earlier in the United Kingdom.

We had so much fun trying to capture the beauty of this place.

I think they had planted something like 45,000 bluebells!

Before we left we walked through the Shakespeare Garden which contained many plants, trees, and flowers that are mentioned in the works of Shakespeare -- certainly a must for English literature fans!

 And just as the rain was coming on it was time for us to head for our 3pm reservation at the Lowell Hotel.

I was smitten with the arrangement of blooming tree branches in the lobby.

Normally afternoon tea is served in the elegant Pembroke Room. However, since it was undergoing renovations we were shown up to a suite on the 12th floor. There we were seated on a little couch in front of a roaring wood fire. Our wet coats were taken away to dry and baby Nathan's wet slippers were set by the fire to dry/steam.

One of the first things that struck us was the amazing skill of the wait staff. We were impeccably served and attended to throughout the afternoon. Never once were we made to feel that having a baby along was an inconvenience. Rather the staff made sure they did everything possible to give us a delightful experience.

Nathan was very well behaved. His training in taking tea has started early! He definitely has the outfit down!

So here is the scene we looked upon for several hours:

We tried both the Darjeeling and the Blue Jardin (a blend of Indian and Chinese teas with hints of rhubarb and wild strawberry)DAMMANN FRERES Jardin Bleu (Blue Garden) Black Tea, 24 Cristal Teabags. We both loved the Blue Garden tea best of all and drank cups and cups of it!

The scones were served with lemon curd, clotted cream, strawberry jam, and orange marmalade:


There were lots of little sandwiches with the first course and mine were made gluten free! After the scones we enjoyed the mini pastries (Christy) and macarons (me). The macarons were amazing -- they tasted homemade instead of dried out store bought. My favorite flavor was the Lychee & Rose.

I particularly enjoyed the Lobster Salad sandwich in the center:

Sitting there in front of the fire with the silver tea service and the beautiful food, sitting elegantly on a couch dressed up in feminine attire complete with pearls, and enjoying the company of a friend could not have made for a better afternoon!

We made the afternoon last as long as possible but eventually we had to pack up and head to the subway and make our way home for the evening. I tried a little sketch of a tree peony and we ate leftovers for dinner.

It was another delightful day. Next up I have more gardens, good food, and an excursion to Carnegie Hall to tell you about.

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Catherine said...

How lovely! Thank you for sharing your pictures. Your painting is wonderful!

reb said...

I read this to Sam and we both agreed we all need some tree peonies in our gardens! I used to stay at the Lowell with my mom when we would go to NYC. It's so perfect I used to pretend I was in England. Apparently it's the only hotel that's allowed a wood burning fireplace in Manhattan?

elizabeth said...

oh how lovely! Someday I must go there for tea! :)

I can tell how relaxing and rejuvenating this day would be! my goodness, I can't wait to go to that garden!!! how very special!!!

Thanks for this post, I just loved it!

Gail Peck said...

I just came across this blog post and I am dying over the peonies. My Google search led to you! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day.