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Marjorie Merriweather Post's Orchids at Hillwood Estate in Washington DC

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Today we went on the Greenhouse Tour at Hillwood House, the past residence of Marjorie Merriweather Post, inheritor of the Postum Cereal Company which grew into one of the largest business empires of the 20th century.

In 1973 when she died, an inventory was taken of the orchids on the grounds and showed 1000s in her
collection, estimated to value in the hundred thousands of dollars in todays market.

She loved orchids, and would send them ahead with a gardener to her summer residence, so that when she arrived she could continue to have cut orchids around her all the time.

We saw photos of the grounds form the 50s showing delphiniums growing abundantly, and learned that now in 2012 it is practically impossible to grow them on the estate because temperatures now rise too high.

I love orchids too. These ancient flowering plants have been around since dinosaurs, I believe. The gardner-lecturer today told us that generally an orchid has to be about 4-7 years old before it blooms. He was telling us this in the greenhouse, which, he says, in the old days, was kept at the appropriate temperature by coal burning furnaces, with staff spritzing the air to maintain the humidity. Today it is regulated by computers and while we were there, I got a free spa spritzing while viewing the plants and flowers.

After the greenhouse we viewed the residence which Marjorie had designed to serve as a museum. Today it is open to the public and one of the treasures of Washington DC.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful. Thanks for so generously sharing your trip with us all.


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