Friday, August 21, 2015

The Museum of the Shenadoah Valley

I discovered a museum on line that I hadn't visited before, and which interested me because it had a formal garden area featuring statues and covered walkways, the whole sounding tremendously appealing in a photographic sense.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley also has a large building that only opened in 2005, housing collections of art and antique displays, everything about the Shenandoah Valley area. There is a house in the gardens,open to view the ground floor, and this was owned by Julian Glass, who donated the buildings and land to be opened to the public. It took Glass and his partner, R. Lee Taylor over 35 years to complete the gardens.
I started off  walking around the museum, wanting to save the best part, the gardens, until last. It was lovely and cool inside, outside was humid and in the upper 80's, and to be honest, the coolness was the main focal point for me. I was aware of paintings and objects, but really, the only items that pulled me out of my trance as I wallowed in the A.C. were a huge copper still and a bag of Route 11 chips, which was part of a display featuring products made in the Shenandoah valley.
 So before long, I was back outside in the oppressive heat and walking down towards the gardens. I was lucky to almost have the place to myself, guessing that other folks didn't really want to be walking around gardens in this high humidity and under a blazing sun. But I looked at the map and was soon entranced at the wonderful names given to various parts, the Parterre Garden and the Grand AllĂ©e.
There are a lot of beautiful statues here, tucked in nooks of walls or in hidden areas, and I nearly missed the beauty of this walkway until I turned around at the end and looked back.
There was a formal vegetable garden too, which I was delighted to see had a huge crop of tobacco plants, albeit covered in green fly, but I took the name down, Berley 21. The seeds can be purchased here, so I think I'll plant some next year. They have a very rapid growth stage and can grow 2-3" a day!
The statues and busts here were were gorgeous, I took photos of so many.
I was extremely fortunate at not having to share this little wonderland with crowds. There was one guy with a very loud voice, trailing behind his wife, and lamenting about the heat. His whining tones were quite pathetic and her face portrayed quite obviously how she felt about him. I managed to lose them by ducking into a courtyard and eventually his voice faded away, leaving me once again to the soft hum of insects accompanying the bird songs.
I was amazed at the size of these flowers, hibiscus I think, The flower heads were bigger than my head!
There was also an Asian themed garden, mostly shaded, with a brook trickling through, and dark emerald mosses and leaves on the rocky banks.
A small group were enjoying the shade here, with a couple who I assumed were engaged, and having their portraits taken. I hung back, not wanting to spoil their shots, and watched huge koi carp that were swimming in lazy circles in the pond.
I covered all the grounds then started walking back to the car. I'll have to come back in the fall or when there's snow on the ground; these were pretty and interesting gardens. I spotted a glint of yellow in the grass and bending down found a goldfinch feather. Another beauty to put in my feather glass at home.

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