Which New Orleans gardens can nurture your green heart?

Which New Orleans gardens can nurture your green heart?
July 24, 2009
Traci Claussen

One advantage of living inside a concrete jungle is being able to take a “quick” green escape at any one of our public gardens. In New Orleans, that includes the Botanical Gardens inside the 12+ acres that encompass City Park, and the idyllic, tranquil oasis of Longue Vue House and Gardens. It also includes the lush neutral grounds between two of our famous Avenues, St. Charles (Uptown) and Esplanade. These gardens not only know how to age gracefully, they have the strength and deepness of root to thrive again, even after storm floods attempt to wash them away.

Visitors to New Orleans, as well as the indigenous, should make the time to break away from the natural habitat, Bourbon or otherwise, and put your heart in one of our gardens.

Longue Vue House & Gardens

Located on eight acres of beautifully landscaped formal and informal gardens, the magnificent Country Place era estate comprised of a Classic Revival-style mansion, Longue Vue House & Gardens is the former home of philanthropists Edith and Edgar Stern. Designed by renowned architects William and Geoffrey Platt, and “the dean of American women landscape architects” Ellen Biddle Shipman, Longue Vue has an important place in our country’s history of garden design as one of the last Country Place Era Homes.

The Country Place Era (c.1880-1940), a time when the change of the city structure during the industrial revolution created a desire to evoke a tranquil lifestyle, encouraged people to build away from the city-center and encounter the land without leaving the city too far behind.

Shipman was a champion designer of gardens in this style, possessing the eye of an artist, she understood how to successfully create the experience of a “garden room.” While her client list included the company of Roosevelt, DuPont, and Ford, Ellen Shipman had a philosophy in regards to gardening very much in the keeping with the democratic learning of the Sterns: help individuals learn how to empower themselves.

On my recent sneak-peek of the gardens of New Orleans, Longue Vue’s Head gardener, Amy Graham, walked us through the damage and rebirth, starting with the Portico Garden Terrace with its boxwood parterres with pink perfection camellias, gardenias, pale pink crape myrtle, sweet olives and “Little Gem” magnolias influenced by the Beauregard-Keyes (pronounced like skies) House at Chartres and Ursulines in the Vieux Carre.

We practice sustainable gardening here at Longue Vue, said Graham. All of the cardboard waste from our gift shop is used as under cover, preventing weeds from popping up in our boxes.

Thanks for the tip, Amy!

Enjoy all the hidden jewels at Longue Vue House & Gardens, 7 Bamboo Road, New Orleans 70124.
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