Friday, December 14, 2012

A Magical Christmas at Ladew Gardens

Some of the clever topiary that Ladew is famous for -

My mom, sister and I having been enjoying the tradition of a Christmas outing for several years now.  We've gone on holiday tours, visited bedecked nurseries, and oohed and aahed over historic homes decorated for the season.  This year my sister suggested a visit to Ladew Gardens' Christmas Open House.  After viewing the gardens this past summer with her family, she took a gamble that the Christmas tour of the estate house would be worthwhile - and did she ever score!

This is the side entrance - opening into a quaint kitchen.
The estate was owned by Mr. Harvey Ladew from the late '20s  until the early '70s.  Mr. Ladew was a native of Long Island and bought the farm as a place to live and entertain while he pursued his passion of fox-hunting while in Maryland.  The house is just lovely - even without the beautiful garden arrangements and displays by local garden clubs - as it's decorated with fox-hunting objects and a mixture of fascinating items from all over the world.  The topiary gardens encompassing the estate are considered some of the finest in North America.

Love how they used peacock feathers in the windowboxes -
Unfortunately, you can't take photos inside the house (which was nearly killing me!).  However, I did get some shots of the grounds and the barn in which were dozens and dozens of fresh holiday arrangements for sale, made by volunteers.  My sister took advantage of the greens sale that was going on, and we all partook of the complimentary hot cider and cookies while we shopped in the barn.  After touring the home and a bit of the gardens, we decided on lunch in the little cafe in the lower portion of the barn.  We enjoyed excellent soup and sandwiches in what was one of the old horse stalls - still bearing names of Mr. Ladew's favorite horses.

The gate leading to the Victorian garden -

If you have the opportunity to visit Ladew's Christmas Open House next year, take it!  We're told that every year the house is decorated differently by volunteer garden clubs and designers.  Visit here for more information (the website is gorgeous).

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