21 September 2008

Hail to the Chief

Mount Vernon. Home to our first president. I wonder what the media would have done to George Washington...
We had a beautiful day at Mount Vernon.


"No estate in United America is more happily situated than this."
- George Washington


We got in line and waited for a tour through the house... My Mom seemed very happy to see this sign on a barrel. She HATES gum! (I had to sneak it as a kid)


We went through a couple of rooms - one of which was the dining "room" - very large and amazingly, it had the original wood floor George Washington had put in all those years ago.
We went out one door of the dining room and onto the back of the house, facing the Potomac River, to this incredible view...


After walking down this veranda, you go back into the house - no photos allowed (very understandable). They have done such a great job on the restoration. I think the part of the house that has stayed with me the longest is the Washington's bedroom. George and Martha had quite a tender love story. Their bedroom is the place where George died. Martha was by his side when he died from quincy (they said that it is a lot like strep throat and that Washington died of suffocation when his throat was swollen shut - so sad!!). The guide said Washington died in their bed and Martha never spent another night in their bedroom.

After we left the house we waited for a tour of the Gardens.

There was a large group waiting for the tour and I was thinking that it was cool that all these people were into gardening, when a guide show up for the National Treasure tour... I do love those movies, but really wanted to go on the gardening tour...
You could pay a few extra dollars and go see where they filmed part of the movie. After that group left, we were much smaller in number.
The guide took us over to the greenhouse area. They had beautiful espalier trees (2 dimensional - trained to grow along a wall or fence). Jason and I are hoping to grow some apple trees on the side of the house like this.
He had a greenhouse (this is a replica) and they are currently excavating to see where the original garden beds were and how they were laid out.


The two dimensional trees - they call them "espalier" (this is what wikipedia has to say about espalier -"Espalier is the horticultural technique of training trees through pruning and grafting in order to create formal "two-dimensional" or single plane patterns by the branches of the tree. The technique was popular in the Middle Ages in Europe to produce fruit inside the walls of a typical castle courtyard without interfering with the open space, and to decorate solid walls by such trees planted near them. Evidence exists suggesting that the technique dates back much further, perhaps even to ancient Egypt. The word espalier initially referred to the actual trellis on which the plant was trained to grow, but over time has come to be used to describe the technique.")
Pretty cool - Jason and I want to do this on the side of the house with some apple trees - but we can save all that for another blog entry:)...


This greenhouse is a replica (I believe they said the original one burned in a fire). Some of the original boxwood bushes were being pulled out - - diseased... so SAD! After all those years, and having to pull them out.

We went over to the walled vegetable gardens.

Can you tell what this is? I personally do NOT like to eat them!


Let me know what you think it is :)
I'll write some more soon...

3 comments:

Sants said...

Now I want to grow some espalier trees, too.

I saw all that as a teenager, but I appreciate it much more as an adult.

I think it is so cool you got to see all this stuff with your mom!

The plant looks kind of like artichokes on the outside, but maybe they are a brussel sprouts. I really have no idea! But I LOVE both artichokes and brussel sprouts.

Niki said...

Wow, That would be so awesome to go and see these places. Maybe now that I kind of live on this side of the states, I might get a chance. I am glad you had a great time. And I agree with Tif.. you appreciate things more when you are grown than when you are a kid... It took me a long time to realize that.....

cozy at home said...

Yep, Tif...
You are right! It is an artichoke :)