|On my way up to visit my favorite conservatories at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden last weekend, I passed this impressive pile of New England squashes and pumpkins. Gotta love fall!|
Raking leaves aside, we here in New England are in full, blown autumn - and it's gorgeous. It's one of my four favorite seasons, probably coming in second after winter ( I know, crazy, right?). It's true - winter just might be my favorite gardening season - mainly because of my greenhouse. I can totally see why the cold conservatories and greenhouses of the 18th and 19 centuries were so popular - their scent, their collections of plants, and their escapist environments - let's face it, there is nothing like a warm, humid greenhouse on a snowy day - all fragrant with jasmine vines, minty shrubs, forced bulbs and camellias. The same assemblage on a summer day just isn't the same. This luxury is inexcusably rare - but there are great conservatories around worth visiting, and surely, there is one near you at a university or botanic garden which deserves a visit this autumn.
Underglass, an entirely new season is emerging - so rare and precious that I am convinced that earlier generations really knew the the value of a glasshouse - those Victorians, well, the ones who had money certainly did - a conservatory in autumn is an experience few people get to enjoy. I can sort-of get close with my greenhouse, but it's no botanic garden. Still, it was something that I wanted to have built - I was one of those kids who decided that a new pick-up truck just wasn't as cool as a greenhouse. I understand that not all readers can build one, but if you can, you will never regret it. In America, it is curious how so few people build a glass house whereas in England, so many middle class people do - then again, they are not buying 30,000 SUV's. It's just a lifestyle choice, and one has to decide what is most important to them.
In the man time - I encourage you to visit a well-populated greenhouse or conservatory - one with a good collection, such as the sort found at a botanic garden this autumn - bring your kids, introduce them to the wonders of scent and science - It might just be what you need before the onset of the Holidays and the madness.
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