Longwood Gardens
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
May 2008

Longwood was the private home and garden of Pierre du Pont, purchased in 1906. He purchased the site because it was already rich in trees. The previous owners, Joshua and Samuel Pierce, had begun planting an arboretum on the property in 1798, but it was du Ponts love of trees and horticulture that created Longwood. In 1946 he turned the land over to a foundation and Longwood opened to the public.
Today it is one of the world's foremost gardens, visited by millions. This is obvious from the acres of parking and the grand entrance.

longwood entrance

Longwood encompasses more than 1000 acres with many magnificent mature trees.

maple tree

The 600-foot-long Flower Garden Walk was built in 1907 and is still a highlight of the garden.

flower walk

One of the most surprising things at Longwood is the modesty of the Main House. Mr. du Pont lived in the Pierce farmhouse and chose to enlarge it rather than tear it down.
du pont house

Of course, it's not quite as modest as it appears. When du Pont enlarged it in 1914 he doubled its size and added such amenities as a bowling alley. He also added a conservatory connecting the two sections of the house.

house conservatory

He built a much more massive Conservatory that opened in 1921.
conservatory entrance

This conservatory is unlike any other I have seen. It is 4-acres of garden under glass, complete with lawns, flower beds, and espaliered fruit.

conservatory overview

There are spectacular water features throughout the grounds, including ponds, a lake, fountains and waterfalls.

A large topiary garden was a major hit with schoolchildren when we were there. I'm not a big topiary fan myself, but it's hard not to be impressed with this collection.

topiary garden

It is an amazing garden to visit. There is truly something for everyone. We spent 4 hours and didn't see it all. It's not my favorite garden but I can certainly understand why it is the favorite of many people.

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