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Cultures of Beauty

November 16, 2015
A life lesson here in Japan is that beauty is, without a doubt, in the eye of the beholder. Learning about the Japanese perception of beauty in contrast to our own has been a fascinating study in aesthetic. The chrysanthemum has provided us with the perfect subject matter to view these differences and has given us a whole new perspective on our own Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens.

Gardens On Trial: And the Winner Is ...

October 27, 2015
Something new happened in the Trial Garden this summer. For the first time, Longwood staff members from throughout the Gardens were given the opportunity to design their own plant combinations. Those who participated had to select three to eight plants from a list of over 160 plant species and cultivars. With 26 different combinations, our guests had the difficult task of choosing their favorite three garden beds. Look to see if your vote was one of the winning combinations!

Gardens On Trial—You Be the Judge

August 27, 2015
This summer, Longwood Gardens is doing something new with our Trial Garden. We have always put the voting power in the hands of our guests, asking them to cast a ballot for their favorite plants. But this year, our guests will vote for combinations of plants, judging a friendly competition among staff members over who created the most beautiful garden beds. Teams and individuals entered the competition this spring, creating 26 unique plots for your viewing pleasure. Each garden uses anywhere from three to eight plants that were selected from a list of over 160 species and cultivars—many of which are tried-and-true Longwood favorites, but some of which are new to Longwood. Some designers took creative inspiration from their favorite genera, while others played with varying color themes or were inspired by travels to distant lands.

No Stone Un-Conserved

August 18, 2015
What are the components of a grand fountain garden? Dazzling water effects powered by hydraulic calculations, an inspiring design, and a stunning landscape are all parts of an unforgettable scene. For Longwood Gardens’ Main Fountain Garden (along with many other gardens built in the European tradition), sculpture is key to the Garden’s character, lending a unique and intimate quality. Each hand-carved stone is one-of-a-kind and tells a story of both the designer’s aesthetic as well as the artisan’s hand. As our Fountain Revitalization Project progresses, our trusted partners at Dan Lepore & Sons are the stewards of these cherished objects—cataloging, cleaning, conserving, and repairing more than 4,000 individual artifacts that will all eventually be returned to the Garden. This monumental task, like so many other components of the Fountain Revitalization, combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest advances in conservation and project management.
While visiting the Villa d'Este in 1913, Pierre S. du Pont, the founder of Longwood Gardens, announced, “It would be nice to have something like this at home.” This was a sentiment shared by other wealthy Americans visiting Europe around the same time. American residential landscape design in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—now known as the "Country Place Era"—was driven by these educated and well-traveled individuals who had the desire and means to build elaborate European-style estates at home. Mr. du Pont was developing Longwood Gardens not long after George Washington Vanderbilt II established the sprawling Biltmore Estate; at the same time, William Bowers Bourn II was constructing his country house, Filoli, and John D. Rockefeller was building this hilltop palace, Kykuit.