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“Great soil is the foundation for a great landscape,” explains Claire Agre. A landscape architect, Agre is also a principal at West 8 urban design and landscape architecture, a design firm responsible for the execution of parks, gardens, waterfronts, and public spaces around the world. West 8’s latest project is to lead the landscape design of the Main Fountain Garden, including the planting of more than 2,600 boxwood in an exuberant hedge, 168 linden trees in Allee formation, and the development of additional pathways, furnishings, and fixtures for guests to enjoy. Great care was taken in all aspects of planning the Garden, from plant selection to bench design, but perhaps the most intensive aspect of the project was designing the soil upon which the Garden would thrive. But how does one design soil?

Introducing Canna ‘Longwood Simply Salmon’!

May 25, 2016
Our plant family is welcoming a new addition this summer: Canna ‘Longwood Simply Salmon’! This canna was bred here at Longwood and is being released commercially under the Longwood Gardens name. Canna is a genus of large tropical and sub-tropical rhizomatous perennial plants with showy flowers and foliage. Canna ‘Longwood Simply Salmon’ is a compact, virus-free cultivar with showy, salmon-colored flowers. Cannas have a strong presence at Longwood, as a favorite feature in our summer display. They also have a long history within our Research division.

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!

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