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Butterflies of Longwood

August 11, 2016
Like many gardens throughout our region, Longwood has been doing its part to help the monarch butterfly. A wonderful byproduct of these efforts is that many other native butterflies also benefit. In fact, Longwood's Meadow Garden is home to dozens of different butterfly species, with more being identified each year as the landscape matures. While many of these butterflies are important pollinators like the monarch, others will ignore flowers almost entirely, and are drawn to the Meadow Garden for other reasons. Indeed, in order to enjoy these beautiful insects, we need to manage their habitat in ways that benefit all of their different life stages—larva (caterpillars), pupa (chrysalises), and adults (butterflies).

Save the Majestic Monarch

June 21, 2016
The Meadow Garden at Longwood is a beautiful space that helps to inform visitors about native and naturally producing flora throughout the seasons. The Meadow Garden also illustrates how native plants can be used in our own gardens both for aesthetic benefit and wildlife habitat. Each habitat in the meadow demonstrates the complex interrelationships of plants, insects, birds, amphibians, and many other small animals. Sadly, in recent years the beloved monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) has been in decline due to habitat destruction. The good news is we can work to reverse this trend in our own gardens.
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.

Fire in the Meadow: A Beneficial Burn

April 8, 2016
This spring we have been feeling the heat in the Meadow Garden! This 86-acre space at Longwood combines horticulture and ecology to create an environmentally sensitive landscape. Although this area of rich biodiversity may seem wild and maintenance free, meadows actually require regular attention. A typical meadow like the one here at Longwood requires regular scouting for invasive plants, the removal of woody plants, and a yearly mowing or burning. Historically, meadows in the eastern U.S. burned naturally as a result of lightning storms, or by Native Americans, who used fire to maintain plant communities and manage game animal populations. At Longwood, we have been practicing prescribed burns since the mid-1980s, with specific areas being burned on a rotational basis. This year a prescribed burn of our Meadow Garden was carried out on April 6.

The Meadow Gardener

October 7, 2014
As Longwood's new Meadow Garden enters its first fall season, gardener Colin McCallum-Cook shares his expertise and excitement about the plants that make up the Meadow's palette of Autumn's Colors.

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