Main Fountain Garden District

Aerial view of a large fountain garden to the upper right, a topiary garden at the top, and a lined flower bed garden at the bottom

The Main Fountain Garden District represents the culmination of founder Pierre S. du Pont’s vision for Longwood: the garden as grand theater. In addition to stunning European-inspired architecture and mesmerizing fountain performances in the Main Fountain Garden, the Rose Garden stuns with four seasons of expression, in view of the expertly clipped Topiary Garden and its geometric shapes. To the east of the fountains, the Idea Garden echoes the orderly spirit of formal design with its Carpinus hedge and rectangular beds—defining a space that celebrates the creative process of gardening.

About This District

The classical gardens of this area have captivated guests for more than 90 years. Inspired by Pierre’s travels to Europe’s great water gardens and his seminal visits to several world’s fairs and expositions, the Main Fountain Garden highlights his lifelong passion for horticulture, engineering marvels, and the beauty of exceptional design.

Gardens in this District

  • Idea Garden
    A brick walkway with a wooden bench winds through green garden beds with fountains in the distance

    Idea Garden

    Horticultural inspiration comes closer to home in this inspired and beloved garden, where educational, experimental approaches to gardening and design are explored using plant varieties that can be reliably grown by home gardeners in the mid-Atlantic region.

  • Main Fountain Garden
    Fountains shoot water high into the air during the day over carved white stone structure and green boxwoods

    Main Fountain Garden

    Splendor awaits in this European-inspired, world-class destination: think classic garden design, extravagant theater, astounding choreography, a spectrum of color, musical accompaniment, and, on special occasions, fireworks!

  • Rose Garden
    A stone walkway leades to a small bench among garden beds of yellow, pink, and green plants with large water fountain streams seen in the background

    Rose Garden

    Striking colors, heady fragrances, and soft textures bud, bloom, and sway harmoniously from spring through fall, providing countless ways to celebrate the rose—and her many beautiful friends.

  • Topiary Garden
    A couple sits on the ground surrounded by shaped topiary with a child running in the distance during sunset

    Topiary Garden

    From playful bunnies to fanciful spirals, you’ll find more than 35 specimens of meticulously maintained, highly cultivated yews (as well as spirited games of hide and seek)  in our Topiary Garden.

What’s in Bloom

  • Red berries clustered at ends of stems

    Redleaf Rose

    Rosa glauca
  • Tall, white feather-like plants

    Autumn Flame Miscanthus

    Miscanthus 'Purpurascens'
  • Tall, purple feather-like plants


    Agastache 'Ava'
  • Lion's-tail

    Leonotis leonurus

    Widespread in its native home of South Africa, this plant favors loam or clay soils and can be found growing in full sun amongst rocks or grasslands. The orange flowers can be spotted from late summer, all through autumn, and attract birds and butterflies with their nectar, making the garden a hub of activity. Early South African dwellers (Khoisan) smoked the dried leaves and flowers, reporting a feeling of calm and euphoria, giving birth to the common name, wild dagga. The leaves are rough on the upper surface, with toothed margins and give off a herbal aroma when brushed or crushed.

  • Rough Goldenrod

    Solidago rugosa ′Fireworks′

    Solidago rugosa is a native perennial that forms loose spreading clumps of arching, hairy stems. Growing from creeping rhizomes, the general height of this plant is six feet tall and grows in wet soils, open woodlands, thickets, old fields, bogs, and along roadsides. The conditions best for this plant are full sun with average well drained soil. The golden yellow flower heads are held in loose panicle-like arrays. Its adaptability and the fact that it is not as aggressive as other goldenrods make it a great native plant for perennial borders and gardens. 'Fireworks' was selected for its shorter growth habit and heavier flowering. When in bloom the open flowers resemble fireworks. This cultivar reaches only about three feet in height.