You are here

A Visit to Longwood Gardens

October 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.

Longwood Gardens is open to visitors year-round and consists of nearly 1,100-acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows. (Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens)Longwood Gardens is open to visitors year-round and consists of nearly 1,100-acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows. (Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens)

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.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.

Here is a view of the Central Canal from the Main Fountain Garden Terrace—look at all the beautiful boxwood.Here is a view of the Central Canal from the Main Fountain Garden Terrace—look at all the beautiful boxwood.

Geese are frequent visitors to the lakes at Longwood Gardens. Go to my Instagram page @MarthaStewart48 to see a video of all these geese flying.Geese are frequent visitors to the lakes at Longwood Gardens. Go to my Instagram page @MarthaStewart48 to see a video of all these geese flying.

This is the grotto entrance in the Main Fountain Garden. Look closely and you can see the sparkle of mica in the rough stone walls.This is the grotto entrance in the Main Fountain Garden. Look closely and you can see the sparkle of mica in the rough stone walls.

Just inside, we saw this beautiful rain curtain.Just inside, we saw this beautiful rain curtain.

Above the rain curtain is this oculus—so pretty.Above the rain curtain is this oculus—so pretty.

This is the Lower Reception Plaza at Longwood. Here, they planted Japanese boxwood, Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’ in Versailles boxes.This is the Lower Reception Plaza at Longwood. Here, they planted Japanese boxwood, Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’ in Versailles boxes.

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.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.

This is the Center Walk, in the Main Conservatory. Longwood’s Conservatory contains at least 4,600 different types of plants and trees.This is the Center Walk, in the Main Conservatory. Longwood’s Conservatory contains at least 4,600 different types of plants and trees.

These are columns wrapped in cascade anemone mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Megumi’, Orangery.These are columns wrapped in cascade anemone mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Megumi’, Orangery.

And here is a colorful anemone mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Purple Light’ and coralbells, Heuchera ‘Spellbound’.And here is a colorful anemone mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Purple Light’ and coralbells, Heuchera ‘Spellbound’.

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.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.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.

This is a spider mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Mocha’.This is a spider mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Mocha’.

And this is a reflex mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Paint Box’—I admired its bold orange-red color.And this is a reflex mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Paint Box’—I admired its bold orange-red color.

This is called a Small Thousand Bloom form, planted with an irregular incurve mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Early Seiko’.This is called a Small Thousand Bloom form, planted with an irregular incurve mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Early Seiko’.

Here is another spider mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Showers’.Here is another spider mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Showers’.

I also keep many, many cycads at my farm. This is Wood’s cycad, Encephalartos woodii.I also keep many, many cycads at my farm. This is Wood’s cycad, Encephalartos woodii.

I thought this was so interesting—a 100 cultivar grafted mum.I thought this was so interesting—a 100 cultivar grafted mum.

These waterlilies are gorgeous. This one is a hybrid water-platter, Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’.These waterlilies are gorgeous. This one is a hybrid water-platter, Victoria  ‘Longwood Hybrid’.

Here is a closer look at one of the pads in the Waterlily Display.Here is a closer look at one of the pads in the Waterlily Display.

Here are tropical day-flowering waterlilies, Nymphaea ‘Foxfire’.Here are tropical day-flowering waterlilies, Nymphaea  ‘Foxfire’.

And this is a royal water-platter, Victoria amazonica.And this is a royal water-platter, Victoria amazonica.

We also saw bonsai trees displayed on a table.We also saw bonsai trees displayed on a table.

This bonsai specimen is Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia.This bonsai specimen is Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia.

This is a chrysanthemum bonsai display.This is a chrysanthemum bonsai display.

This one is bonsai cascade anemone mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Ugetsu’.This one is bonsai cascade anemone mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Ugetsu’.

And here is bonsai single mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Chidori’.And here is bonsai single mum, Chrysanthemum × morifolium ‘Chidori’.

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)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.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.

SHARE