Friday, July 5, 2013

A Horticultural Extravaganza at Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens

Acres of flowers, shrubs, trees and not a weed in sight. For over 200 years, the property now known as Longwood Gardens has been devoted to botany. In 1798, the Peirce family, who purchased the land from William Penn in 1700, began planting an arboretum on their farm. By mid-nineteenth century, it showcased one of the America’s best tree collections, and created one of the first public parks. In order to save those trees from demolition 1906, Pierre DuPont bought the farm. Through his vision and gardening talents, the arboretum expanded to become an exceptional horticultural showplace. DuPont had been inspired by the great gardens of Europe, and the entertaining water displays he had observed throughout his life.

The grounds
Today, Longwood Gardens ranks as the world’s preeminent horticultural venue. On a pleasant day, stroll along the Flower Garden Walk and through Peirce’s Woods. Explore the Forest and the Meadow. The Idea Garden will inspire you to improve your own garden. And don’t miss the expertise of the gardeners in the Topiary Garden. And that’s just a sampling of what you’ll find.

The conservatory
But, rain or shine, the conservatory is a “must-see.” The four-and-a-half acre climate-controlled facility contains the unforgettable Orchid House and the Rose House, a unique water lily display, the amazing Cascade Garden, an enormous Orangery and much more.

All through the year
Besides the permanent exhibitions, Longwood Gardens offers music programs, culinary events, horticultural classes and seasonal displays and programs, such as the magnificent Christmas spectacle and ice skating show. Summertime brings entertainment under the stars. Until September, watch water spouts frolic while fireworks thrill you during the Festival of Fountains. Don’t miss the music of Dmitri Shostakovich (also with fireworks) on the evenings of July 20 and August 31, 2013. The renowned Philadelphia Orchestra performs on July 18 and 19. As the sun goes down on Fridays, it’s time for families with special fun activities geared to kids. And oenophiles should reserve their place for the four-course gourmet wine dinners before they are sold out.

Longwood Gardens is located in Kennett Square, a short trip from Philadelphia.

For more information and tickets, go to
All photos by Valerie R. Hutton

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