Kennett Square, Pa. – Longwood Gardens today announced its Main Fountain Garden will make its grand return on May 27, 2017, following a two-year, $90 million revitalization.
The crown jewel of the most significant fountain collection in North America, Longwood’s Main Fountain Garden rivals the magnificent fountains of Europe with its beauty and ingenious application of leading-edge technologies and design. The Garden will premiere with a Summer of Spectacle delighting visitors with incredible fountain shows, fireworks, tours and programs to jump start a season of celebration.
“The revitalization of our iconic Main Fountain Garden is the largest project in Longwood’s history since the passing of our founder in 1954 and to share its return with our guests is incredibly exciting,” said Paul B. Redman, Longwood Gardens President and CEO. “Thanks to the efforts of our amazing and world-renowned design, engineering and historic preservation partners, as well as our most talented and dedicated Longwood team, our legendary Main Fountain Garden is back and more spectacular than ever.”
The premiere Summer of Spectacle season, May 27– September 30, will include an array of special programming. In addition to daily fountains shows, guests will enjoy tours, concerts, and special events throughout the summer. The gardens will have extended visiting hours on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for evening illuminated Fountain Shows. In addition, the popular Fireworks & Fountains shows, featuring illuminated fountains and fireworks choreographed to music, will return with six exciting special shows on May 28, July 2, July 22, August 12, September 2, and September 16. General admission tickets and Fireworks & Fountains show tickets go on sale in the spring.
Reimagining a Grand Garden
The Main Fountain Garden is a hallmark of the Longwood experience visited by more than 1.35 million people each year. In 1931, Longwood’s founder Pierre S. du Pont debuted the Main Fountain Garden, which was inspired by 20th century technology from the world's fairs and the beauty of renowned European gardens. As Longwood embarked on preserving the Garden, the team looked to the future to honor his vision and ensure the continued enjoyment of the fountains with an original concept of “adaptive restoration” guiding thousands of design, restoration, and technology application decisions.
“A fountain and garden are living, joyful gifts and the charge of reawakening the Main Fountain Garden at Longwood is an exercise in creativity, thoughtfulness, and responsibility. It demands respect for how forward-looking the space was in its era and carrying that intent forward to build a magical, innovative, and full sensory experience. It is a place both heralded and unique in the world,” said Redman.
Highlights of the project include a complete restoration of 4,000 pieces of limestone, new mechanical and electrical infrastructure, and a brand new Garden experience, the Grotto. To improve guest access, enhanced pathways, an elaborate boxwood hedge, and inviting alleés are being created. The use of cutting-edge technology will bring the fountain displays soaring to greater heights, making the revitalized Main Fountain Garden a truly unmatched visitor experience.
The revitalization of Longwood’s Main Fountain Garden is the largest fountain preservation project of its kind in the United States. Such a massive and complex effort takes the talent, skill set and care of a dream team to restore the old while introducing the new. Longwood is collaborating with a stellar international lineup of leading firms dedicated to historic preservation, landscape architecture, and water feature design including:
Beyer Blinder Belle, the premier architectural firm specializing in historic preservation, is leading the renovation project and a team of local, national, and international designers. BBB is also leading efforts related to reimagining the existing architecture to accommodate a greater range of guests and to improve access to different areas of the Garden.
West 8, a world renowned landscape architecture firm, is designing the garden’s public spaces to amplify the original design and enhance the Main Fountain Garden’s horticultural elements, as well as creating gardens that will be new amenities for Longwood’s guests.
Fluidity Design Consultants, a Los Angeles-based water feature design and engineering firm, oversees the incorporation of state-of-the-art infrastructure to the fountains. They are also adding exciting new capabilities to control the water’s movement that will enhance Longwood’s renowned Illuminated Fountain Shows set to music.
For information about the Main Fountain Garden and Summer of Spectacle season, visit longwoodgardens.org.
About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, Pa., to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,077 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and 4.5-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by Mr. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the performing arts, through programming that includes exhibitions, musical performances by leading artists, renowned horticulture education programs, horticulture research, environmental stewardship, and community engagement.
Longwood Gardens is on US Route 1 near Kennett Square, Pa., 30 miles west of Philadelphia. Details can be found at www.longwoodgardens.org.