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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.
June 9, 2015
The Japanese art of bonsai originated in China as the practice known as penjing. Early in Chinese history, trees and other plants were collected from the wild and grown in containers. The practice moved to Japan many centuries ago through social and economic interaction with China. Over the years, both countries developed various techniques that we continue to use in creating bonsai today. The Japanese word bonsai translates to "tree in a shallow pot." Though some plants in our collection date back to the early 1900s, bonsai were not part of our displays during the time of our founder, Pierre S. du Pont. In 1959, five years after Pierre’s death, renowned bonsai artist Yuji Yoshimura presented a class in our Continuing Education program. It was so well received that our staff members decided we should have some bonsai of our own.
April 8, 2015
The beauty of our spring display would not be complete without the towering, striking, and unusual plant, Echium wildpretii, ‘tower-of-jewels’. While this plant stands at nearly seven feet tall, its tiny, salmon-colored flowers are what make it truly magnificent. As each tassel of flowers blooms into graceful curves along the plant, the stamens stick out as if dancing from the tiny flowers, transforming this tower-of-jewels into a whimsical display of beauty.
February 20, 2015
This year, we’ve brought a unique and rare Phalaenopsis Sogo Yukidian ‘V3’ hybrid to Orchid Extravaganza, which we believe is being displayed for the first time in a US public garden. The ‘V3’ moth orchids featured on the center walk of our Orangery have unusually long flower spikes with as many as 18 open flowers on a single spike (with more buds yet to open)! Photo by Trilbey Smith.