Catching up on a Couple of Previous Trips to Pittsburgh and a Visit to Kingwood Gardens
Berlin, OH - Events of Thursday, August 3; Tuesday, August 15; and Friday, August 18, 2015
Over the past few weeks, we made a couple of trips to Pittsburgh to visit with Lora, J. Michael, and Lydia. There were some cute photos that didn't get downloaded from our phones in time to make it into the blog previously, so we thought we would include two of them here. The first one was from the trip we made in early August to Idlewild Park. On the day before we went to the park, Margery spent some time reading to Lydia. In the past, Lydia was much more interested in just turning the pages rather than listening. However, she now seems to take much more of an active interest in the story.
Last Tuesday, we drove to Pittsburgh for dental checkups. Beforehand, we dropped Freeway off at Lora and J. Michael's house, and afterward we stopped to pick him up and to visit. It was a beautiful afternoon, so we went outside to play with Lydia. Lydia's playhouse has a simulated grill on one side. In the photo below, she has grilled Poppy a hot dog (plastic), which he pretends to eat much to Lydia's delight.
That brings us to our visit to Kingwood Center Gardens. We first went to Kingwood two years ago. We liked it so much we went back last year and again last Friday.
Kingwood is a 47-acre estate located in Mansfield, Ohio, which is a little over an hour to the west of Berln. Kingwood was built in 1926 for Charles King, who was President and Chairman of the Board of the Ohio Brass Company that made electrical fittings for railroads and trolleys. King was married and divorced twice. He never had children so he left most of his estate to a trust that still operates Kingwood Center today as a public garden.
Admission is normally $5 per car, but when we were there last Friday, there was a special exhibit of whimsical frog sculptures going on during which admission was $5 per person. However, we got free admission through the annual membership that we got last spring in the Edison-Ford Estates in Florida. One of the reasons we got the Edison-Ford membership was the reciprocal agreement they have with many other gardens across the country.
We started our tour with a brief look around the conservatory. It has two rooms - one with desert plants and one with tropicals. However, we were more interested in the outdoor gardens so we didn't stay in the conservatory long.
Next to the conservatory are the rose garden, the peony garden, and the gazebo garden. There were only a few roses that were still blooming, but the rose garden had several beds of annuals to provide added color.
The roses were fading, and the peonies were long gone; but the annuals in the gazebo garden were still going strong.
From the gazebo garden, we headed to the terrace gardens where there are 4 or 5 levels each with a slightly different color scheme.
From the top terrace we followed the path to the upper end of the daylily garden.
Daylilies bloom primarily in July, so there were only a couple of them still blooming since it was early August. In fact, there were so few of them we didn't even bother walking through the daylily garden at all, but headed directly to the mansion instead.
The mansion houses an extensive botanical library and also the offices of the foundation that operates Kingwood. However, the main floor is set up in much the same way as it was in Mr. King's time with much of his original furniture. Guided tours are available at specific times on weekends for $3, or you can do a free, self-guided tour any time during regular hours. We did a self-guided tour when we visited back in 2015 so we skipped seeing the inside this time. However, we did enjoy the container plantings by the front door as we passed by on our way to see the terraces that extend out from in front of the house.
We enjoyed our visit to Kingwood, although we didn't think the color combinations of the plantings were as attractive or as striking as they were in previous years. There were two reasons for that. First and foremost, this year's visit was later than in previous years and many of the flowers had started to fade and others, like the daylilies, were done blooming altogether. The second reason the colors weren't as striking is Kingwood seemed to utilize many more plants with purple leaves in their garden design in several of the areas this year. While dark-colored leaves can provide a nice accent to brightly colored flowers, we didn't think they showed up well as a major component of the design.
Even though some of the flowers at Kingwood had started to fade, there were still plenty of beauty to see. The photos below show just a few of the many flowers we saw.
From Kingwood, we drove to the Athens Greek Restaurant. Athens has three locations in and around Mansfield. We ate at the one in downtown Mansfield last year because we wanted to check out a couple of other things in the downtown area. However, we prefer the one that is only about two miles from Kingwood in Ontario, Ohio, where we ate the previous year so that's where we headed this time.
We both had lamb/beef gyro plates for $6.79, and we split an order of fries ($1.19 when added to one of the gyro plates). Paul liked the gyro plate, which is a deconstructed gyro with the meat, sliced tomato, sliced onion, tzatziki sauce, and a quartered pita served on a plate because it isn't as messy to eat. Although Margery decided she prefers a regular gyro served with all the ingredients wrapped up in the pita, we still both enjoyed our meals.
With our bellies full, we headed back to Scenic Hills where we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing.