I titled this post " S'MORE HERSHEYS! " because I already published an article about my visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania in a previous post. However, that article did not mention the lovely Hershey Gardens, that is also part of the philanthropic heritage, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Milton Hershey to all visitors of this Pennsylvania town.
I wanted to write about the gardens because I read on their website (www.Hersheygardens.org ) that they are having special programs there during the month of December, that will encourage family togetherness, in keeping with the spirit of Christmas. The shiny sculptures of chocolate kisses shown in this photo are a another reminder of a Christmas tradition for many people---a Christmas stocking filled with red and green foil-wrapped Hershey's Kisses!
Milton Hershey started what was later to become Hershey Gardens, with a simple request: Create a nice garden of roses. What started as a three and one-half acre rose garden....
Hershey Gardens also has fountains, ponds, and other features that make photography there a delightful experience. Not surprisingly, the location is also popular for weddings and other special events.
The colors you will see when you visit depend on when, on the growing calendar, that you are there. It was October during my visit, and these rows of purple plants were very eye-catching!
As you would expect for an October garden experience, bright and colorful mums were plentiful throughout the landscape.
In addition to blooming plants, Hershey Gardens is famous for having a stately collection of rare, signature trees----like the evergreen shown in this photograph.
The gardens are situated on a hillside overlooking the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania. The two tall pillars you can see in the center horizon of this photograph mark the location of the Hershey's Chocolate Plant, located in the valley below.
Most of the walkways at Hershey Gardens are paved, making them wheel-chair accessible. In addition, electric golf carts can be arranged for groups that have impaired mobility.
Unlike some gardens that decorate extensively with holiday lights during the winter, Hershey Gardens strives for a more natural look. Their website encourages their winter visitors to concentrate more on the beauty of the evergreen trees during their colder-day visits. By so doing, they will be able to see more birds and squirrels going about their tasks of seed, nut, and berry "harvesting".
This gazebo near where the Culinary Herbs are grown can also be a gathering place, for teaching future chefs the value of using fresh herbs in their food preparation techniques.
This row of all types of coniferous trees will be "ever green", regardless of the month of your visit!
I was fortunate to be at Hershey Gardens during a time when I could go inside their Butterfly House, and see some of the 300+ butterflies who live there.
These butterflies clinging to tree branches are reminiscent of the Pismo Beach (California) Monarch Groves, where thousands of butterflies visit regularly during their annual migration.
This photograph taken inside the Hershey Gardens Butterfly House, gives new meaning to the modern phrase "cocooning". Each of the colored spots hanging on the shelves represent different types of butterfly larvae. Visitors can see the various stages of a butterfly's life, right before their eyes! Likewise, the school that Milton Hershey founded for underprivileged boys and girls, enables troubled youth to develop into adults who are contributors to the well-being of our nation. The website for the school is www.MiltonHershey.com or phone 1-800-322-3248 for more information on applying for the school . Proceeds (after expenses) from the manufacture and sale of Hershey's products go toward the M.S. Hershey Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization. It is this foundation that operates the gardens. You can find out more by visiting their website at www.mshersheyfoundation.org .
The Children's Garden will be a popular place on the weekends of December 7 - 8, and December 14 - 15. Those are the dates for the special holiday promotion called "Santa's Secret Garden".
Even when Santa is not making a house call at Hershey Gardens, the Children's Garden is a fun place to visit. I can imagine this fire pit, with the log benches surrounding it, is a popular spot for making the ever-popular campfire treat called "S'Mores", with its famous signature ingredient of a Hershey's Chocolate Bar.
Marigold blossoms are often used as borders for home gardeners, with the goal of keeping away hungry rabbits, from their still-growing vegetables. Apparently, they are also used by professional gardeners, as they were present throughout the Hershey landscape!
The lush beauty of Hershey Gardens is a good visual image for the verse in Isaiah 58:11 that says "The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." And so it is for a stroll through Hershey Gardens---a walk that will not only strengthen your frame, but also give you miles of smiles!" Tricia