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Peirce’s Woods in Bloom

April 25, 2016
I love this time of year in Peirce’s Woods, even though it feels like a non-stop race to pull all the weeds before they go to seed. The beauty of the woods in bloom makes me forget all that. Suddenly all the flowers in Peirce’s Woods have opened all at once. Peirce’s Woods is an art form garden, composed with native plants. The central design theme is large horizontal sweeps of groundcovers balancing the strong vertical lines of the mature tree trunks. Most of our native woodland flowers take advantage of the brief period in early spring before the trees fully leaf out to grow, flower and set seed. The two main groundcovers currently stealing the show are sweeps of white foamflowers (Tiarella) and ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera).
Built in 1931 by Pierre S. du Pont, the Main Fountain Garden was inspired by Pierre’s passion for engineering and design, and his travels to European gardens. After years of deteriorating stonework, many fountain features were turned off—leading to limited access to the Garden since the early ‘90s. In order to save this treasure, we embarked on a major restoration project. This spring will mark the halfway point of the two-year revitalization. In this post, we will go below the surface of the Main Fountain Garden and explore some of the engineering behind the beauty.

500,000 More Reasons to Love Spring

March 4, 2016
As February transitions into March, those of us in Southeastern Pennsylvania are looking everywhere for signs of spring. This year, the grounds of Longwood Gardens are providing a half million new reminders that spring is just around the corner. Last fall, our gardeners, students, and volunteers completed a massive effort to add 500,000 early spring bulbs to the landscape, and these bulbs are beginning to bloom now!

Fountain Technology in the Jazz Age

December 9, 2015
It was the age of flappers and jazz … but at Longwood Gardens it was more about industrial-strength classicism and illuminated fountains, thanks to the vision of Pierre S. du Pont. Mr. du Pont was in the technology business of chemistry and automobiles. He was building skyscrapers, chemical factories, and assembly lines, so it wasn’t hard to adapt technology to make fountains spurt and glow. Longwood’s first fountain (1907), on the Flower Garden Walk, was supplied by gravity from a tank in the Peirce-du Pont House attic, which in turn was fed from a hydraulic ram at the Large Lake. No electricity was required since the power to push water uphill came from the water itself...

Inspiration Flows: Designing A Longwood Christmas

November 30, 2015
During the past year, Longwood guests have had the opportunity to watch the revitalization of the Main Fountain Garden. The current view in front of the Conservatory may not appear to be an obvious source of aesthetic inspiration for other projects around the Gardens; however, Longwood’s Display Designer, Jim Sutton, has placed this massive project at the heart of the Gardens’ Christmas theme. This year, fountains and the essence of water inform every aspect of the Conservatory’s display as the Main Fountain Garden revitalization continues a short distance away.

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