Spring has sprung and I find myself thinking about gardens more and more. My absolute favorite (of those I’ve visited thus far) is Longwood in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  Lucky for me, it’s nearly in my backyard.  One cool thing about Longwood is you can visit at any time of the year and there will be something unique to see.  There are the water lilies, fountain shows, concerts, and outdoor blooms in summer. The chrysanthemum creations in the fall, and unbelievable lights and decorations at Christmas.  Longwood has a huge (I mean huge) conservatory where gardeners keep displays going year-round.  The grand scaled palm room, the desert themed silver room (my favorite), the sweet fragrance and eye appeal of the orchid room, and the rainforest mood in the cascade garden. And there’s more!  Trees and bushes in miniature at the bonzai display, all kinds of playful creations in the children’s garden, and hibiscus and rose rooms.  I continue to be amazed at what the master gardeners at this former Dupont estate can do.   Many of the plants grown here are custom hybrids that cannot be found elsewhere.

The Silver Room - my favorite in the conservatory

I smell orchids

Beauty at Christmas

When visiting in summer, I always head straight for my favorite place in the gardens…the garden walk. The plantings along this brick pathway are grouped in four colors schemes, so as you stroll along, the colors change from blue to red to yellow, and finally white.  At the end of the garden walk, enter the woods where rhododendrons and azaleas bloom in May-June.  Continue through the woods to the formal Italian water garden.  This ranks as my second favorite place at Longwood.  When I held an annual pass, I’d stop in just to take this stroll through the garden walk and to the Italian water garden.  Another feature I always explore in the summer is the outdoor lily display.  You will be amazed at the size of the pads on the Longwood hybrid water lilies.  Water lilies are such perfectly formed flowers.  There are day blooming and night blooming lilies here so there always seems to be new eye candy to discover.

Italian water garden

Water lilies

Water lily...so perfectly formed

On a recent trip, I discovered a new addition to the gardens:  treehouses.  There are three interspersed throughout the outdoor adventure, and they include benches for the adults to sit a spell while the children play in the giant-sized treehouses. Other activities for children at Longwood include the indoor children’s garden (open year-round) with its playful water features, hideaways, and clever activities.  Children also enjoy the “animals” in the topiary garden. There are often special activities for children as well, such as pumpkin carving and pot-a-plant.  Check Longwood’s schedule for all kinds of activities for children and adults.

The grandest area at Longwood is the Main Fountain Garden.  While it’s quite enjoyable to walk amongst the 5 acres of fountains during the day, the best time to view them (in my humble opinion) is during the Festival of Fountains.  Longwood stays open late on Fridays and Saturdays in summer, and does a multicolor illuminated fountain show set to music.  I find it hard to choose a favorite between this and Vegas’s Bellagio fountains.

Main fountain garden

The Brandywine Valley, where Longwood Gardens is located, has many more places to explore.  I highly recommend taking a scenic drive south on Kennett Pike (Route 52) between Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware.  This is the journey the Duponts took as they visited their country estate.  You’ll pass by Winterthur and Hagley, two other Dupont properties available for exploration.  As you approach Wilmington, pick up Route 141 north to Route 100 north.  This will bring you back to Route 1 where you started.  For more scenic driving, continue north on Route 100 for a spell.

Related posts:
Podcast Episode 4 – Longwood Gardens
Duponts of the Brandywine Valley – Part I – Hagley
Duponts of the Brandywine Valley – Part II – Winterthur

Join the conversation below! Which estate should I visit next?

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2 Comments on Duponts of the Brandywine Valley – Part III – Longwood Gardens

  1. Mary says:

    Jill – glad you enjoyed the pics. I have a lot from Longwood…it’s one of my favorite places.

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