The most feasible way to get to Longwood Gardens (which is just about 30 miles from Philadelphia, USA), is via a car. The garden provides free car parking spaces for the Guests of its Constitutional Walking Tour. The guests can also drive quickly from Old City to Kennett Square, via the US-322 and I-95 South.
Before going into what is obtainable at Longwood Gardens, it would be a good idea to give a rundown of how far this remarkable botanical haven has come. The place where Longwood Gardens sits today was bought from William Penn by a Quaker farmer named George Pierce, in the year 1700. Even to this day, the oldest standing structure in Longwood Gardens is the 1730 farmhouse built by the son of Mr. Pierce; Joshua.
Meanwhile, Joshua went on to become the grandfather of twin boys, Joshua and Samuel. These grandsons of Mr. Joshua eventually controlled proceedings in the farm. They started planting an arboretum that spanned as much as 15 acres in land mass. The Pierce twins were both passionate about botany as well as natural history. They eventually went on to collate and plant diverse species of plants, gotten from all around the globe. By the dawn of the 1850s, the Pierce twins had over time assembled some of the world’s most impressive tree collection, which went on to draw national accolades. What was once a farm had become a world renowned arboretum. It also became a place where families and friends could come to hang out and have a lovely time.
However, tragedy struck, some years down the line. The arboretum was destroyed. This was sometime in 1906, after the death of the Pierce twins. By this time, the arboretum had begun to depreciate to the point of utter deterioration. It was eventually sold alongside the Pierce Estate, to some lumber mill owner, who had planned to fell the trees in the arboretum. However, by providence, the property was eventually bought by a scion of the wealthy and influential du Pont family. His name, Pierre Samuel du Pont. Even though Mr. du Pont lived in the estate, he still revamped the arboretum and opened it once again to the members of the public.
Pierre Samuel du Pont was serving as the chairman of the Dupont Company, as well as that of General Motors Corporation (GMC), when we bought over, the Pierce Estate and Arboretum. He didn’t relent throughout his lifetime, in further developing his newly acquired estate as well as the arboretum (which he took very good care of). The arboretum became alive and beautiful once again.
By the time Mr. du Pont had died in 1954, he had already left instructions stating that the Gardens should be used solely for the purpose of public events, such as exhibitions, education, and enjoyment.
Not only did Pierre du Pont rejuvenate the arboretum, but he also rapidly expanded it into one huge botanical garden that consisted of over a thousand species of plants. He ensured that the outer arboretum was merged with several other outdoor gardens. He created well over 20 indoor gardens that gave rise to the amazing arboretum that it is…covering about 4.5 acres of indoor heated greenhouses. This made it the largest arboretum in the world.
Today, the Gardens are all run by Longwood Gardens Inc. It is a non-profit- making organization that is not funded by the government. It has its main funding sourced from the Pierre du Pont endowment, including the sale of merchandise and also from admission income.
Longwood Gardens now contains at least 1,050 acres of gardens, meadows, and woodlands. It also has 20 outdoor gardens and 20 indoor gardens, including the fountains and the Main Fountain Garden situated by the Conservatory. Over the years, Longwood Gardens holds lots of education-oriented programs, which have gone on to produce some of the world’s best-trained horticulture experts. The Longwood Gardens host diverse entertainment and art events.
The conservatories, which are dozens of gardens that are found both indoor and outdoor, and allowed for visitors to view. These greenhouses consist of about 11,000 diverse species of exotic plants, trees, and shrubs from all over the globe. Every conservatory has its very own unique theme and designs. Of all the gardens in the arboretum; the Orchid House, Silver Garden and Orangery are about the most popular of the indoor gardens.
As a result of the unregulated outdoor climatic condition, the Longwood outdoor gardens just can’t handle the sheer broad diversity the tropical plants found in the conservatories. Notwithstanding all the challenges, the outdoor gardens still manage to bloom and blossom in due seasons all your round. The spring season is when you are likely to behold the incredible spectacle that the outdoor gardens are. Till date, some of the outdoor gardens infuse some of the plant and tree varieties that were used by the Pierce twins, Samuel and Joshua over two centuries past.
Series of eventful tours are some of the services offered at the Longwood Gardens. This allows guests to feast their eyes with some of the most impressive collection of plant and tree species one can ever find. This tours allow the visitors to truly see and understand where these plants are coming from. The Longwood Gardens also host theatrical and musical performances that wrap up with an exciting display of fireworks over the great fountains of the gardens. Classes are also in the offing for those who are eager to replicate what they’ve seen at the Gardens, at home. In their very own backyard.
Despite the fact that Longwood Gardens is renowned for its amazing and astonishingly beautiful and exotic plants species. There is something else that makes this place famous. It would shock you to know that this particular something, is a musical instrument. The Longwood Organ! It is a custom made Aeolian organ. It is the largest of its kind, to be found in a residential property. It was built in the Longwood Gardens Ballroom. Pierre eventually bought it du Pont in the. It went for a whopping $122,700 USD. By inflation adjustment today, it cost $1.5 million USD.
This incredible Organ is made up of over 10,000 windpipes. With the largest of these pipes being about 32ft tall. It produces a very subdued sound at the rate of 16HZ. How impressive! The organ weighs an astounding 55 tons. This incredible musical instrument is the chief attraction of the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition, that pulls some of the world’s best organists, if not all.
Everywhere you look around the Conservatory, you would see the craftiness and beauty of nature on full display. One of these parts of the Conservatory is where you have lots of holiday trees that children love to play with. Children from nearby schools visit and make ornaments.
Now, for those of you itching to visit this incredibly wonderful piece of paradise on earth; you ought to note that there are lots of other people who are also eager to be at the Longwood Gardens too. In fact, they troop in in their droves virtually every single day. So it is necessary that you plan your visit…to coincide with the off-peak periods and days so that you can enjoy the most of your time here. Therefore, plan your holiday visit to Longwood Gardens, during off-peak hours.