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April 29, 2015

A Fresh Spring Mix

When I was asked to write this blog in late March, I silently wondered if spring was ever going to arrive. It was cold. It was rainy. The bulbs were barely poking their leaves out of the ground. Spring finally did arrive, even if a little late. On the bright side, this year ended up being a spectacular season for our magnolias. Since spring was so late, these delicate magnolia flowers were not hit with a frost after opening and the beautiful blooms continue to shine on some trees throughout...

April 8, 2015

Bold and Beautiful: The Life of Echium Wildpretii

Tower-of-jewels, Echium wildpretii, in the Conservatory at Longwood Gardens. Photo by Yoko Arakawa.


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...

March 25, 2015

Braiding Sweetgrass: A Community Read

"Plants are our oldest teachers," says Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, Longwood's pick for our second annual Community Read. So we might, indeed, do well to listen as Dr. Kimmerer weaves tales of plant wisdom from strands of Native American knowledge, scientific research, and her own experience—both as a professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York; and as a student of the Potawatomi culture that is her...

March 20, 2015

A Chat with Benjamin Sheen: Winner of Our International Organ Competition

Benjamin Sheen almost didn’t enter the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition. He couldn’t get the Intermezzo from Marcel Dupré's Second Symphony  (one of the set pieces for the preliminary round of the competition), to his liking. “I nearly gave up,” Sheen admits. Good thing he didn’t. The 24-year-old London native ended up winning the 2013 inaugural competition, including the $40,000 Pierre S. du Pont first prize and representation with Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists....

March 9, 2015

The Lore of Our Trees

For all of humankind’s existence we have relied on trees for food, medicine, and shelter. Trees are some of the largest and longest lived organisms on earth. So it is no surprise that ancient civilizations attributed great meaning to trees. Longwood Gardens’ own foundation is centered on Peirce’s Arboretum, a historic collection of trees started in the 1800s on the land that was to become the Gardens. Our founder, Pierre S. du Pont, understood the great value of trees and purchased the...

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