Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Visit to Longwood Gardens

I had the pleasure of attending a work-related conference at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Penn. I know, I know: Pinch me, I’m working! In the coming weeks, I thought I would share images of some of the wonders at Longwood. Let’s start with a wee bit of history then it’s on to photos taken in the 4-acre conservatory.

A 36-year-old Pierre du Pont, whose family had a long tradition of gardening, purchased Peirce’s Park on which, beginning in 1798, had been planted one of the finest collections of trees in the nation. The property fell into disrepair and plans were underway to cut down the trees in the arboretum. Mr. du Pont bought the property in 1906 primarily to preserve the trees. Properties around the original acreage were purchased, expanding Longwood Gardens to around 1,000 acres. The original Conservatory opened in 1921. You can read a detailed history on the website.

In the future, I’ll share photos of the trial and idea gardens (especially the Calibrachoa), iconic Flower Garden Walk planted in a rainbow of color (yellow to orange to red to blue to purple flower border) and a few other special spots.

Bismarckia noblis palms native to Madegascar welcome visitors at the main entrance to the Conservatory.

Bismarckia noblis

Views in the main conservatory.

This gets my vote for the loveliest walk to the bathroom: a green wall primarily populated with ferns and pothos.

Photos of a few specimens in the conservatory’s fern passage.

Hare's Foot Fern - Phlebodium aureum 'Blue Star'

A giant maidenhair fern - Adiantum trapeziforme var. Braziliense

A beautifully mounted staghorn fern - Platycerium bifurcatum

The conservatory’s Silver Garden was breathtaking.

Felt-Bush - Kalanchoe beharensis 'Oak Leaf'

A member of the lily family from South Africa
Haworthia reinwardtii forma kaffirdriftensis

Parry agave

Here are a few more photos that hopefully will inspire you to plan a visit to Longwood Gardens and Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley.

Visitors in the tropical hanging garden

This tree-like plant - sorry I didn't catch the name -
doesn't put out the welcome mat for anyone!

A Longwood hybrid Victoria waterlily in
the Conserrvatory's outdoor courtyard

Wood's Cycad - Encephalartos woodii


  1. Spectacular! I've never seen a Bismarckia noblis with such a thick trunk, and your photos of the silver garden...a must see! Looking forward to more...

    1. danger garden, I often was thinking of you while strolling the conservatory and gardens and seeing all the exotic plants. Almost all were too big for the danger garden-type homeowner to move into a protected spot in our climate then out again in spring.

    2. That sounds kind of like a challenge...

  2. In 2006 I spent one entire day at Longwood, trying to see everything, & walking as fast as I could. At the end of the day, I was exhausted & had barely scratched the surface. The love and commitment it took to create such a wonder is breathtaking, and I am so grateful it has been maintained & open to the public. The next time I have an opportunity to go there, I'm wearing better shoes!

  3. And it would be interesting to visit in different seasons, too.