On a recent trip to Pennsylvania to see family, we had the opportunity to visit a local historical botanical garden called Longwood Garden. I posted some pictures on Facebook and had lots of people asked me about the gardens. So, here is short history about Longwood and some more pictures. Like many stories of great county estates and gardens, it starts with money. If you follow the history of wealthy American families such as the Vanderbilt’s or the du Pont’s, you will know that many of the wealthy, during the late 1800s into the early 1900s, loved to spend lavishly on homes, county estates, mansions by the sea, formal gardens for entertaining, etc.
Pierre S. du Pont was one of the very wealthy who choose to sink his time, money and passion into a large garden. He was known to be quite but loved to travel. It was a through his travels that he enjoyed, learned and become interested in gardens and water pumps/displays (aka water fountains). He then purchased property where the gardens sit (which was forest and farmland at the time) and started to build what he would call a “flower garden walk.”
The garden was then in bloom by 1909 and became the scene for many parties and social events. He then started to build a conservatory and then a small fountain. A music room was built and then a massive organ was added (which became one of the largest in the world). The fountains were added in the 1920s in what was considered a Water Garden. Water jets were added along with lights and the organ, when played, also was connected to the lighting/water jets to create an amazing water fountain show.
The garden was then opened to the public in the late 1940s. The orchids are a family favorite and as you can see by the photos, they are everywhere! Those giant orbs of white flowers and purple flowers, all orchids! Hanging from the rafters, more orchids, walls of them. There is a very formal collection of rare and beautiful orchids in exhibition in the conservatory.
In the 1950s-1960s, the gardens were expanded to include more tropical plants, a visitor center was added, more parking as added, etc. Professional gardeners, college students, and garden lovers sought out classes and lectures at the garden. Throughout the years, more changes and updates to buildings and the grounds were completed in addition to more educational programming. A restaurant was opened and holiday garden exhibits were very popular.
More gardens and updates were completed in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. Gardens such as the Children’s Garden and the Mediterranean Garden were added (along with many more). Today, you can visit Longwood year-round. The warmer months allow for visitors to enjoy the water fountains but the indoor conservatory provides visitors with a very beautiful in-door experience filled with color, texture, smells, and sights. The Christmas light show is a very popular with tickets selling out about every evening of the Christmas season.
Pictures include mostly photos from the conservatory and of the water fountains. Truly, one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited! I was even more excited to take pictures and use those photos to help with creative branding. The textures and colors of the flowers, plants, stone, etc. were very inspiring. I look forward to seeing the fountains in action here this spring or summer!