Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hillwood Gardens

I spent much of Saturday at Hillwood with JCB and friends. She's already blogged about the estate's gardens through her eyes HERE and I thought I would give it my own (long-winded) spin. If you want to learn more about the estate, I did more extensive posts on the grounds and house back in November, you can read them here. The house, the greenhouse and the Japanese Garden. Above, the approach up the driveway -heavily wooded.
I love gardens. Unfortunately, I have black thumbs but was born with the gene of appreciation. There is a lot to appreciate at Hillwood; surely the most spectacular gardens in DC.The last of the spring tulips greeted us at the visitors center.
Unusual specimens are all around -check out this color combination near the back porch!
White wisteria grows over a pergola which surrounds the rose garden.Marjorie Merriweather Post, the foundress, is buried in the middle of her rose garden under a marble column.
The formal gardens are closest to the house. These were on view from her bedroom, as JCB said in her post.The retro blue chairs are original to Marjorie's reign here.I'm a sucker for the beautiful garden statuary.It was a damp day and plants were heavy with their new leaves and the moisture. Everything just weeps: A very luscious garden.
The plaque above states that this ivy is from Buckingham Palace.
And that this boxwood is from nearby Mt Vernon.The moss was green on the Japanese Garden waterfall.
I thought these Iris in the cutting garden were really spectacular. I had never seen any like this before.
Wisteria drips over the edge of the breakfast room.It will become even more full and lush later in the season.On the other side of the breakfast room is this newly gilded fountain. I was told they cover it in the winter time to protect the gold leafing and keep it bright.Not all of the beautiful blooms are outdoors though. The green house houses a huge collection of orchids of all different types and colors. I loved these reddish orange orchids: for some reason they made me thirsty! Reminded me of blood oranges I suppose!Moss growing on a water storage container. Is there anything prettier?
Visit Hillwood! Information on their WEBSITE.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Clarence Moore House

The embassy of Uzbekistan has always intrigued me. Housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts style townhouse near where I live, the most interesting thing about it is the juxtoposition with its very modern neighbor. I have taken 100's of the two over the years!
The modern building next door - I love the old with the new!
Elevation of the mansion by the architect, Bruce Price.

Saturday I was able to tour the first floor and it was as beautiful as I could have wished. Original woodwork, lightfixtures, mouldings - a preservationist's dream come true! Built in 1909 for Clarence Moore by the architect Bruce Price of blonde brick and limestone 'dressing', the home soon became the embassy of Canada and housed this function until 1988. The entry hall. Not shown here are the beautiful black and white marble floorsI didn't miss out on photographing these AMAZING marble sconces lining the entry hall.These have to be original. Aren't they amazing?!Probably the most interesting sconces I've ever seen!
Ceiling detail in the entry hall. Exquisite plasterwork!At the rear of the LONG entry hall is the stair hall -seen above.This ancient fireplace stands at the foot of the stairs. You can see a glimpse of the marble floors.
Clarence Moore was a coal magnate from West Virginia who only lived in this DC house for 3 years; he sunk with the Titantic in 1912. His wife owned the house for years but rarely used it as she was never in DC after remarrying. She sold it to the Canadian Goverment in 1927 for $375,000 with an additional $100,000 for the furniture! What a fortune that was in the late 20s!
To the right of the entry hall are 2 small salons with delicate plasterwork. Between the 2 is a small hall and original powder room. Above the 1st salon contains textiles from Uzbekistan.

After the Canadian government vacated the premises for their new larger (and uglier) embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue, the government of Uzbekistan bought it in 1992. I have to give them credit that unlike many other countries, they have respected this great home and continue to preserve it.To the left of the entry hall is the large library, seen here.Library ceiling
Fireplace in the libraryTurkish couch in the library. I always thought these were so cozy!!
More on the mansion on Wikipedia.