Rhode Island is full of great places to explore and fascinating things to do, and I just can't keep up with it all! Much of my time these days is going into growing the comprehensive union Calendar of environment-related events called What Grows On in Rhode Island; yet I've got quite a backlog of ideas for Providential Gardener blog posts. The ones on the top of the list concern Bristol, RI ~ Blithewold and Coggeshall Farm. Here's Blithewold!
Blithewold's history is fascinating. It was the subject recently of a Providence Journal article in the Business section ~ finding good approaches in the mansion's management to Rhode Island's economic woes ~ see John Kostrzewa's Gloomy forecast hides state's potential, January 6, 2008. Its beautiful gardens are documented nearly every day in one the Rhode Island's best blogs, The Garden Blog. This is a journal that records what the gardeners see and do in the mansion's fabulous gardens along the shores of Narragansett Bay. If you live near Bristol or have the same climate, you have a great garden mentor ~ just follow along with what they do and your garden will thrive. Blithewold also offers many gardening workshops as well.
I am delighted to present in its entirety Barbara Gee's wonderful description of Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum today. Barbara recently published The Rhode Island Gardener's Companion, a must-have for Rhode Islanders who love their gardens.
As you probably know there aren’t many botanical gardens in the U.S. that lay claim to a historic landscape and that are celebrating 100 years. This 2008 Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol, RI, will be taking the year to celebrate its Centennial. Not only is this a commemorative year for Blithewold but an important milestone in American history, particularly that of Rhode Island. Blithewold’s rich history is woven into the fabric of life in its home state and throughout the region. 30 years ago, the house and grounds opened to the public. 10 years ago a group of concerned members united to raise funds and save the property from being sold for private development.
In a state as beautiful as Rhode Island Blithewold ranks as one of the largest tourist attractions in the state, attracting 32,000 visitors a year.
The sum of the mansion, gardens and arboretum is greater than the parts, and yet the gardens and arboretum stand alone as a wonderful horticultural resource to be visited in all the seasons. A staggering number of daffodils - 50,000 to be exact - appear to herald the early spring each year, and when the leaves fall from the more than 1,500 exotic and native trees the grounds blaze with color. The towering grove of bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Golden Groove’, covers an area nearly the size of a tennis court and becomes a magnet for children and adults alike. The huge display gardens overwhelm visitors with a lavish array of flowers, many of which are cut for use in the house. The elegantly designed Rock Garden nestles beside the water’s edge flanked by The Oriental Water Garden and a sweeping 10-acre lawn that rolls down to the bay. It is one of two on the property.
And this is just a taste of what Blithewold has to offer the gardening enthusiast.
To celebrate Blithewold’s Centennial many events will be held throughout the year. Attached is press information from Sandra Carney, 2008 Events Coordinator, that will fill you in on some of the events.
Please feel free to contact Sandra to answer any questions and provide further information. If you haven’t already visited Blithewold please do. If you want a personal tour let her know and she will arrange that. You can also learn more about Blithewold by visiting the website: www.blithewold.org
Sandi can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org or (401) 247-4220.
Photo’s to be credited, please, as follows: the aerial shot – John Corbett; the garden view – Kristin Green.
Barbara Gee ~~ Writer & Author
Business & Corporate, Marketing & PR, Technical, Creative, the Web
Contributor, Yankee Magazine, Newport Life, RI Home, Living & Design...
Rhode Island Editor, People, Places & Plants - the Northeast Gardener's Magazine
Titles published for Globe Pequot Press:
~~ The Rhode Island Gardener's Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Gardening in the Ocean State
~~ The Massachusetts Gardener's Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Gardening from the Berkshires to the Islands
728 Bristol Ferry Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871
T. 401-683-0367 / C. 401-297-9266 / www.barbaragee.com