Just what does a dead, mega wealthy Industrialist have to do with a midwestern woman from a different era? Well, I think Industrialist, Pierre DuPont and I would have been dear friends if it weren't for some small pesky issues such as: First, he died before I was born, and he was one of our country's early east coast, mega barons while I am a midwest woman of modest means. But, 'had' we lived in the same era, and "had" I the opportunity to chat with Pierre, I feel certain we would have been great pals!
As two unlikely people from disparate backgrounds could be- we would have been great chums. Yes, I could imagine us strolling his 1,000 acre Longwood Gardens estate whilst discussing the merits of certain plants. I would oooh and aahhh over his latest botanical samples housed in his splendid conservatory, and we would enjoy a cup of tea while watching his fountains explode to life. I could imagine gently patting his knee, and kindly suggesting that the massive fountain display was, well, perhaps a tad massive - while he, gently tapping my knee and smiling, would kindly remind me that when one owns a thousand-acre estate and has unlimited funds, well, he could have whatever fountain display he desired. I would smile right back at him. He's a doozy - that Pierre. And, a good part of the reason I adore Pierre, is for his unrestrained vision.
I, too, have an unrestrained vision. Just ask my husband! During the fall, anyone coming out to the farm might find me sitting on a rock and staring out into the distance. Had they followed my line of vision, they would have seen a field with towering weeds. In my line of sight, there was a glorious garden. I could see the beautiful blooms. I could see the perfect pathways. I could see how the setting sun might set certain colors on fire. I could see, as if it was already there. The vision was so real to me, that for weeks on end, I no longer saw what was. I only saw what it had already become 'in my mind'.
This past fall, I had the opportunity to go visit my very dear friend Lorita, and her husband Tom in New Jersey. They graciously agreed to fulfill one of the items on my 'bucket list', by escorting me to Longwood Gardens - the famous garden estate created by Pierre S. DuPont in the Brandywine Creek Valley area of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Longwood Gardens is the result of years of DuPont's gardening passion, unrestrained vision, unlimited wealth, and hundreds upon hundreds of laborers. Spreading out over a thousand acres is 'natural room' upon room of breathtaking textures, colors, and magic. To a passionate gardener, it is, without doubt, a 'gardening utopia'. Even with my quirky ability to visualize clearly what isn't there, as if it exists - I can truly say that Pierre's imagination is a good step ahead of mine.
I wish Pierre were still alive, as I do believe, I would gather as much courage as possible, and I would send him a note with some photos. Just to see if he might lend me his creative input, if only for a moment, on our little project in Blue Valley. Maybe he'd invite me to tea. He'd wonder what kooky lady, of little means, would have the audacity to share in his same vision. He'd be 'entertained' to think he might have a small female counterpart somewhere in the world, who 'got him'. Who could understand his all-consuming need to add beauty wherever the eye rested - in the form of greenery, blossoms, vines, and sweet scents.
In Longwood Gardens, is a quote from Pierre DuPont that stopped me dead in my tracks. It reads, "I have recently experienced what I would formerly have diagnosed as an attack of insanity, that is, I have purchased a small farm....". It continues, "I expect to have a good deal of enjoyment in restoring its former condition and making it a place where I can entertain my friends."
Yep. Pierre had his Brandywine Creek Valley, and I have my little Blue Valley. And together we both believe we have experienced an 'attack of insanity'. In honor of my pal, Pierre, let's hope I can do my smaller vision as must justice as he did with his enormous one.
Oh and a parting apology to Pierre : I'm sorry Mr. P - but there will not be any massive, dancing fountains in Blue Valley. Wink.