Monday, April 30, 2018

A Fox, Some Hounds and a Camel - A Fun Walk Through Ladew Gardens

To celebrate my birthday, Shira and I took a day-trip to Ladew Topiary Gardens outside of Baltimore, MD. It was a chance to explore a new place, snap interesting pictures and generally get some outside time. Maybe selecting the coldest day in Spring wasn't ideal, but hey, you've got to play the cards you're dealt.

Because of the crazy weather, some of the Spring plants had yet to blossom. The azaleas and rhododendron were close to popping, but weren't there yet. Still, the tulips and Virginia blubells were out in force. And I suppose the chilly weather kept the crowds away, too.

Pretty flowers, however, aren't the sole stars of the garden. The real champions are the topiaries and sculptures. The first scene you see when walking through the garden is that of a fox being chased by hounds. Hunting and sporting practices aside, the scene is quite vivid and really well done. Other highlights included a camel (just for you, Mom!), a victory sign and what Shira and I guessed was a unicorn. The topiaries look so natural, and there are so many of them, that you forget how much of an accomplishment they are. The gardens make it look easy.

The gusty, chilly wind wasn't ideal while we were strolling through the gardens. But, it did make the kinetic sculptures on site come to life. I grabbed a few pictures of some of the pieces, hoping to unravel their mysteries from the comfort of my own home. The sculptures make for a quirky addition to the garden; one that I wholly approve of.

There was something else about the gardens that took me some time to appreciate. I realized that many of the gardens we visit are botanical, and often strive to catalog and showcase as many plants as possible. Ladew Gardens has a different mission: it's there to showcase one man's attempt at creating a beautiful and pleasurable space. Sure, there's structure and plenty to learn from the gardens, but there's also a playfulness and personal feeling to the garden that make it especially unique. Ladew isn't a competitor to say the US Botanic Garden, it's an alternative and worthy peer.

On our way back to DC we stopped at Dougie's BBQ for a fantastic Kosher meal. The burger I had was beyond delicious!

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