SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 [KENNETT SQUARE, PA].... Autumn’s Colors abound at Longwood Gardens now through November 24. Highlights of the colorful seasonal display include the Garden Railway featuring the return of the popular miniature Longwood landmarks made of natural elements. Outdoors, as the days turn cooler, the foliage colors the landscape in brilliant hues of orange, gold and red. Brilliant chrysanthemum blooms fill Longwood Gardens Conservatory when the annual Chrysanthemum Festival opens October 26.
Longwood will showcase more than 20,000 colorful, blooming Chrysanthemums flourishing in the palatial conservatory beginning October 26. A highlight of the display is the Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum, a single chrysanthemum plant grown to produce more than 1,000 perfect blooms. The display runs October 26–November 24 from 9 am–6 pm.
In 1981, Longwood turned its annual chrysanthemum display into a month-long festival featuring a variety of chrysanthemums grown in unique ways. Longwood’s team of experts have meticulously grown and groomed these fall favorites into a variety of unusual forms ranging from cascades that drape the Conservatory walls, to columns that flow like flowery waterfalls, to floating cloud forms, to gigantic orbs hanging from above, to towering single-stemmed mums, to miniature varieties.
The showstopper of the display is the elaborate “Thousand Bloom” mum, which last year boasted a record number of 1,339 perfectly placed, uniform blooms on one plant. A dying art form that originated in Japan, Longwood is one of the few places in the world where this growing technique is still practiced. The Thousand Bloom takes 18 months to grow and involves meticulous pinching and training to grow into the desired form. In addition to its own Thousand Bloom, Longwood is also growing a Thousand Bloom for display at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, which will feature approximately 500 blooms and be on display October 26–November 17.
In addition to the Thousand Bloom at Longwood, guests will encounter shield-shaped chrysanthemum forms, towering chrysanthemum arches to walk under, and a mum formed into a pagoda style. Don’t miss the unusual horticultural feat of the Wonder of the World mum. This is a single chrysanthemum plant onto which more than 100 different cultivars of mums are grafted and then grown to bloom simultaneously.
The Chrysanthemum Festival is free with Gardens admission.
Visitors of all ages can enjoy Longwood’s model Garden Railway that travels past miniature Longwood landmarks made from natural elements. Featuring more than 500 feet of track, the railway fancifully depicts the Brandywine Valley and includes miniature landmark buildings constructed of natural materials, from roof tiles of magnolia leaves to handrails of honeysuckle vines. The display includes a 1/24-scale version of Longwood’s Conservatory glazed with panes of resin glass contained by mullions of reed grass. Three G-scale electric trains traverse more than 500 feet of track and cross expansive handcrafted bridges and trestles. The railway is open daily, weather permitting.
Children of all ages will enjoy the Pumpkin Playground, on view September 28-November 1. Young guests are invited to roll, pickup, move and play with a variety of pumpkins in this interactive area. Don’t miss the chance to have your picture taken with the largest pumpkin in our display—topping 800 pounds!
About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA, to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,077 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and 4.5-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by Mr. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the performing arts, through programming that includes exhibitions, musical performances by leading artists, renowned horticulture education programs, horticulture research, environmental stewardship and community engagement.
The outdoor gardens and Conservatory open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 pm through November 24. The Terrace Restaurant is open daily for full- and self-service dining. The Gardens Shop is also open daily. Admission is $18 for adults; $15 for seniors (62+); $8 for Students ages 5-18 or with valid student ID; and free age 4 and under. Longwood Gardens is on US Route 1 near Kennett Square, PA. For more information, visit www.longwoodgardens.org or call 610-388-1000.