A spectrum of seasonal color awaits when you make your way down our 600-foot long brick walk.
The mix of flowering, foliage plants, and grasses changes with the seasons, offering fleeting moments of form, texture, rhythm, and color. The flowering season begins in April when sweeps of 125,000 tulips, daffodils, allium, foxglove, fritillaria, bluebells, and more come into bloom. Summertime brings favorite annuals combined with grasses, native perennials, and showy tropical foliage and flowers. As the days shorten, our gardeners replace out-of-season plants with fall-blooming solidago, salvia, chrysanthemums, and asters that remain in the Garden through frost.
The planting design is based on loose color blocks that progress from cool lavenders and blues at the West end to fresh pinks, reds, and oranges, and end in warm yellows and bright whites at the East end. Gray-green and burgundy foliage plants create a visual thread that weaves down the Garden’s length, drawing your eye down the central axis. Midway through, take note of the Round Fountain—Longwood’s first—and the Whispering Bench, found at the end of the Walk.
The Round Fountain runs from 9:00 am-5:00 pm daily, mid-April through mid-October.
Laid out in 1907 by Pierre S. du Pont, this was Longwood’s first true flower Garden. Although his later Gardens would draw heavily on Italian and French forms, this early Garden reflected what he termed “old-fashioned” influence, with nostalgic cottage-garden flowers, rose-laden trellises, picturesque benches, a birdbath, and even a shiny gazing ball.
Following Mr. du Pont’s death in 1954, we began to evolve the design of the Flower Garden Walk, establishing more color over a longer season by introducing annuals, bulbs, biennials, and long-blooming perennials. Height, texture, and color combinations were carefully planned to create a garden that presented “sensational displays of exemplary horticulture…for the pure enjoyment of the visitor.”
Beginning in 1974, changes were made to both the east and west ends of the Flower Garden Walk, creating stronger transitions between the flower borders and adjacent garden areas. In the west, a patio and sitting wall designed by Thomas Church connected the Flower Garden Walk to the Open Air Theatre. In the east, landscape designer Sir Peter Shepheard created a new 35-foot extension with a double brick walk and grass median, ending in a Carpinus hedge, which provided a wall-like backdrop to the Whispering Bench and formed a “doorway” into Peirce’s Woods. Sir Peter also widened the northern borders of the walk and shaped their boundaries into undulating curves, minimizing the linear appearance of the area.
The Flower Garden Walk continues to evolve as our designers and horticulturists introduce new and varied plant combinations, creating a long season of bloom and horticultural interest.