Before it gets too hot and while the peonies and wisteria are blooming, you might want to bring your mom, child or anyone else who would enjoy spending the day strolling the gardens and gracious grounds. There is so much to see, it would be impossible to take it all in at one glance. Suffice to say, the gardens and library are extraordinary…
The library houses one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the U.S. $1.5 million dollars has been awarded to 158 scholars in the humanities to do research at the library for the 2011-2012 year. There is a rotating exhibit of many first edition and rare books. Among the items on permanent exhibit are a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America (sadly, many of these have been dismantled and sold for home decor), and a collection of the early editions of Shakespeare’s works.
The many theme gardens include; the rainforest, a childrens garden (with lots of water so bring extra clothes/shoes for the kiddies), a Japanese garden, a Chinese garden, a rose garden, a Shakespere garden, and a jungle garden. These are not small gardens either, so wear your most comfortable walking shoes. They are having their 37th annual plant sale on May 15th. In the past, I have found their prices very reasonable and the range of plants sold to be fantastic!
They are taking reservations now for Mother’s day picnics in the rose garden. You should note that the the Japanese garden is closed for renovations, including adding a ceremonial tea house, until its centennial in the spring of 2012. We love to go to the Rose Garden Tea Room (reservations recommended, see the link below), a cafe and a Chinese tea house. We’ve never eaten at the Chinese tea house so if any of you out there can comment to that, thanks in advance!