A Visit to Longwood GardensOctober 24, 2017
Editor's Note: We were honored to welcome Martha Stewart to the Gardens on Wednesday, October 18. The following blog post about her visit originally appeared October 21, 2017, in Martha Up Close & Personal: The Martha Stewart Blog.
I'll be back in West Chester, Pennsylvania, this weekend, at the QVC headquarters and studios, to share more of my new gourmet food collection. Be sure to tune-in tomorrow, October 22nd, between noon and 4:30 pm ET, when I talk about my delicious pigs in a blanket hors d’oeuvres and my mouthwatering prime rib! I will post reminders on my Twitter page @MarthaStewart.
While I was at QVC earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit the exquisite Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Longwood Gardens has a rich and varied history. For thousands of years, the native Lenni Lenape tribe fished its streams, hunted its forests, and planted its fields. In 1700, Quaker farmer, George Peirce, purchased 400 acres of the English-claimed land and began developing the property. His decedents eventually created an arboretum of some of the finest trees in the nation. Unfortunately, as years passed, heirs lost interest and the land suffered decades of neglect until 1906, when it was obtained by Pierre du Pont—entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist and member of the prominent du Pont family. Pierre’s passion and vision created the groundwork for what is now Longwood Gardens—home to many spectacular botanical collections spread across 1,083 acres—all wonderfully maintained by a staff of 1,300 employees, students and volunteers.
If you are in the area through November 19th, stop by and visit the Chrysanthemum Festival, where you’ll see thousands of colorful mums planted in orbs, spirals, and pagodas—you’ll love it. Here are photos from my recent visit to Longwood Gardens—enjoy.
We walked through the newly planted Greenspire™ littleleaf linden, Tilia cordata ‘PNI 6025’ tree allée in the Main Fountain Garden. I love the shadows of the trees in the center of the allée. The five-acre Main Fountain Garden was du Pont’s most ambitious project.
These are the newly planted Japanese boxwood hedges, Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’. More than three thousand new boxwood have been installed in the garden during the last several years.
Hanging just below the glass ceiling are these mum spheres, cascade anemone mum Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Megumi’ and coleus, Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Valentine’. They are hanging above the flooded floor of the Exhibition Hall in the Main Conservatory.
On the flooded floor, I noticed this Bismarckia, Bismarckia nobilis and Australian tree-fern, Cyathea cooperi. If you recall, I have several Bismarckias and tree ferns at my Bedford, New York farm. During the summer, I love to display them outdoors in the courtyard behind my Winter House.
One of the highlights of our visit was the Chrysanthemum Festival, which runs through November 19—here is the Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum, a single chrysanthemum plant grown to produce as many perfect blooms as possible. Longwood traditionally grows the largest Thousand Bloom outside of Asia. This year’s plant has 1,443 uniform blooms on a single plant that measures approximately 12 feet wide. (Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens)
And here I am with James Sutton, Senior Horticultural Display Designer, and James Harbage, PhD, Director, Floriculture and Conservatories. They both gave us a very pleasant and informative tour of Longwood Gardens. I encourage you to visit this magical space the next time you’re in the area.