Monday, April 20, 2015

Houmas House Plantation Gardens

DH was so sweet to take me on a day trip to visit the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens outside of Baton Rouge for my birthday! I love touring old plantation homes- the history, the odd contraptions they used to solve problems we never think about today, and the large self-sufficient estates. But the Houmas House was so much more than a usual tour because of the incredible gardens, and of course, I'm a sucker for breathtaking landscaping because I can appreciate how much work goes into it!


I wish I had gotten better pictures, but I wasn't planning on blogging about the trip until later thinking back on how wonderful the visit was! So just know that these pictures do not do justice to the beautifully crafted jungle of plants that cover the grounds.

The main house has an 8 oak alley. It used to be 24 oak but most were destroyed to make way for a levee along the Mississippi River. The gorgeous oak trees are literally all over the property, setting the frame for the gardens. The oldest trees span in age from 300-600 years old.


The oak tree all the way to the left has what looks like a fancy bird house it in, but it actually houses a huge bee hive where they make their own honey to sell in the gift shop. Love that!


A central circular pond is surrounded by 4 quadrants of gardens that include the vegetable gardens, vine covered walkways, formal gardens, and water gardens.


There are formal gardens with the typical trimmed hedges, symmetrical lawns, and Greek statues.



 The formal gardens have nooks and crannies with quaint seating areas, and even the flower gardens are dotted with edible plants such as dill, artichoke, broccoli raab, cabbage, and kale.


Does this picture look familiar??? Look closely... 


That's right, it is Monet's Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge paining! It even has a Japanese tea house from the top, from which the view is even more of a likeness to the painting. To see this reinvention of the well-known painting is like seeing art come to life! This pond and waterfall is just one piece of the elaborate water gardens that have fountains, flowing streams, and waterfalls that flow into a seeing of pools and koi ponds graced with Louisiana irises and water lilies. Simply breath-taking!


The vegetable gardens were fascinating to me! They use all of the food that they grow in the vegetable gardens in the kitchen for use in the restaurants on the property, which I love. 


They had gotten 11 inches of rain the week that we visited, so you will notice the water still puddled between the rows of vegetables.


The trellises are all formed from intertwined branches and vines creating an artistic yet natural look.


While the vegetables have an overgrown, natural look to them with interplanted crops and curved rows forming a variety of shapes and designs, there is still a visible order and intentionality to the plantings.


I also recommend the tour of the house. The view of the gardens and the property from the second story balcony and fantastic!


Overall, I wish I would have taken a thousand more pictures! What I have are the few that I quickly snapped at the end. I guess that is the sign of truly living in the moment and enjoying it- being so present where you are that is doesn't occur to you to preserve it for later. I hope you have the chance to visit. You will not be disappointed!