The beauty and abundance of flowers—both in gardens and in nature—is the hallmark of the spring season. Although their beauty is obvious and appreciated by all, these highly anticipated floral displays are the result of complex, interacting factors.
Our tuition-free Professional Horticulture Program is as unique—and inspirational—as its students. Combining practical experience, coursework, hands-on projects, and study abroad travel, the two-year immersive program prepares students of varied interests and ages—high schoolers to career changers—for careers in horticulture through fun, active learning.
Longwood Gardens and holidays go hand-in-hand, from the grandeur of our displays during the Christmas season to the eye-popping fireworks and fountain shows celebrating our country’s independence. And while Earth Day (April 22) is not really thought of as a “holiday,” it holds special significance for those of us who work here.
Ni hao! Earlier this month, we boarded three flights, flew for 24 hours, and arrived in Taipei, Taiwan on a two-week orchid adventure to attend the Taiwan International Orchid Show, explore new orchid breeding and cultural techniques, and see firsthand new and innovative orchid display trends in an area known most notably for its spectacular Phalaenopsis, among other beautiful orchids.
By Lee Alyanakian and Greg Griffis, on March 22, 2019
From our roles as part of the Longwood Natural Lands Team and prescribed fire crew, to our work fighting wildfires across the country through the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry Wildland Fire and Delaware Wildland Fire Program—including a deployment to the Idaho Panhandle National Forests this past summer—we are thrilled to be part of (and often on the front lines of) the evolving field of fire ecology. The field is a hot topic gaining traction at Longwood and beyond, and one that helps us steward the land we love.
By Erik Stefferud and Kevin Popowich, on March 15, 2019
Dig into this year’s Community Read books, and you’ll unearth things you never knew about seeds. In Thor Hanson’s The Triumph of Seeds, you’ll learn about a date seed that sprouted after lying dormant for nearly 2,000 years; cotton seeds that traveled more than 500 miles by wind and wave to gain new ground in the Galapagos Islands; and wild primates who “shop the apothecary of the rainforest” for the healing powers of plants … and seeds.
During visits to regional gardens for salon-style discussions, the Longwood Fellows are given the opportunity to learn firsthand from experts in the field of public horticulture. Hosted by Delaware’s Mt. Cuba Center, this latest salon provided the Fellows with insight on human resources leadership and management.
Marking a huge accomplishment in our plant breeding program, we are thrilled to announce the release of our first green-flowered clivia—a remarkable feat decades in the making! As our sixth Clivia miniata released from our breeding program, our newest clivia is certainly a sight to behold but, alas, currently without a name … and we need your help!
This year at Longwood Gardens, it’s all about seeds. Few people have explored these marvels of form and function as closely—and as broadly—as Thor Hanson, award-winning author of our 2019 Community Read selection, The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, & Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History.
Chanticleer is a pleasure garden; its exuberant contemporary garden designs and architectural details created by skilled horticulturists and craftspeople delight the senses. During our recent Fellows salon, we learned that staff empowerment and engagement are the driving forces behind Chanticleer’s novel visitor experience.
As the reach of humans continues to extend into even the farthest corners of the globe, what was once remote wilderness has now been impacted by humans, and the need for measures to conserve rare plants is greater than ever. Here at Longwood, our plant exploration program has changed and evolved in response to such changing measures.
Even in peak condition, pipe organs are like gardens: they need tending. In a garden, maintenance involves watering, weeding, pruning, and training. For any pipe organ—including The Longwood Organ—such care translates into tuning, cleaning, and periodic mechanical adjustment. Just as with any garden or exhibit at Longwood, the goal is to have the organ in peak tune and mechanical condition at all times.
As Longwood’s director of Outdoor Landscapes, I am always excited about winter. It’s one of my favorite seasons and when the interaction between a garden and its surrounding landscape is at its strongest. The bare silhouettes of the deciduous trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses create a natural link to the wintery landscape beyond, creating a beauty unlike any other time of year. Low winter light really helps to elevate fine plant details, naturally highlighting the winter bones of Longwood.
Every day our guests marvel at the Orchid House in the Conservatory, but very few witness all the work that goes into creating this spectacular display. Let’s take a quick peek behind the scenes to see what goes into curating such a beloved exhibit, explore how we select plants for display, and examine how we best showcase their beauty—and lengthen their lifespan—by placing them in certain areas of the Orchid House.
Whether you’re peering into the tiniest detail of a golden intergeneric Oncidium orchid in our Cascade Garden, or looking up at the grandeur of the regal purple Phalaenopsis orbs that float overhead in our Exhibition Hall, every viewpoint of Orchid Extravaganza is one to enjoy—including the very first one when you step into the Conservatory.
By Jim Sutton, Display Designer, on January 21, 2019
Central Asia is home to an incredibly beautiful, exciting, and charismatic flora, much of which is found nowhere else in the world. Longwood plant explorers had never visited the botanical treasure trove of Central Asia before I traveled to Uzbekistan in early November—a trip that resulted in great promise of future field explorations to bring new and exciting Central Asian species back to Longwood and other US gardens.
Many guests visit Longwood Gardens to appreciate, enjoy, and study our carefully curated, world-class collection of more than 11,000 kinds of plants. Occasionally, plants find their way to the Gardens without the assistance of horticulturists ... Very rarely, a plant is found that defies logic and provides insight into the horticultural history and ecological health and capacity of the interface between Longwood’s gardens and natural lands.
Under the direction of Senior Horticulturist Pandora Young, staff and volunteers annually create the Wildlife Tree, an outdoor feature that calls attention to the birds and small mammals that live in the Gardens. This year, the Wildlife Tree has been dramatically redesigned as a spectacular 15-foot “tree” made of more than 200 illuminated birdhouses, located at the east end of Flower Garden Drive. Surrounding the tree are four smaller Fraser firs ornamented in suet and seeds to feed the wildlife.
Now is the time of year when you may find yourself pulling your boxes of Christmas ornaments and decorations from your basement or attic and getting ready to trim the tree. Here at Longwood, however, we like to do things a little differently with our ornament collection.
By Lee Alyanakian and Rachel Schnaitman, on December 19, 2018