Chris Cole Joins Longwood Gardens as Vice President of Horticulture 

KENNETT SQUARE, PA – Longwood Gardens today announced the appointment of Chris Cole as Vice President of Horticulture. Cole will lead Longwood’s 137-person Horticulture Department, further advancing the world-renowned Gardens’ commitment to the art and science of horticulture, while creating innovative seasonal displays, gardens, and landscapes, and advancing scientific research and land stewardship practices. Cole begins his position May 13.

Cole brings more than 30 years of international horticultural experience at both public and private gardens, most recently with Australia’s Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, which includes two sites, Cranbourne Gardens and Melbourne Gardens. For the past 14 years, Cole has served as the executive director of the 178-year-old Melbourne Gardens, overseeing 75 full-time employees at the 94-acre Garden that welcomes two million visitors annually. While at Melbourne Cole successfully delivered world-class horticultural displays, developed and implemented strategic plans centered around climate change and sustainable design, and oversaw public programming initiatives. 

“Chris’s global perspective on horticulture coupled with his outstanding esthetic, strategic leadership, and project management skills make him an excellent addition to Longwood and to our outstanding horticulture team,” said Sharon Loving, Chief Horticulture and Facilities Officer at Longwood Gardens. “His expertise will be instrumental as Longwood continues to innovate and advance our mission.”

A strategic and collaborative leader with 20 years in senior positions in the UK and Australia, Cole has extensive experience spearheading comprehensive conservation and ecological planning projects, including the establishment of the Climate Change Alliance of Botanic Gardens, a global coalition of more than 500 member gardens dedicated to addressing climate change’s impact on managed landscapes. Additionally, Cole led the implementation of the award-winning Working Wetlands project, which reduced potable water usage for garden irrigation at Melbourne Gardens by 40 percent.

“I am honored to join Longwood Gardens and help advance its legacy of horticultural excellence and innovation,” Cole said. “I look forward to collaborating with Longwood’s talented team to further elevate the Gardens’ mission and create awe-inspiring experiences for guests.”  

Cole arrives to Longwood as it nears completion of its most ambitious capital project in a century, Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience, slated to debut November 22. Earlier this year, the Gardens also completed the acquisition of Longwood at Granogue, a 505-acre site in New Castle County, DE.

In addition to his extensive work experience, Cole holds diplomas from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the University of Central England, and Pershore College of Horticulture, England.

About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre S. 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 1,100 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and grand conservatory. Expanding on its commitment to conservation, in 2024 Longwood Gardens acquired the 505-acre Longwood at Granogue, a cultural landscape in nearby Wilmington, Delaware. Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont, bringing joy and inspiration to everyone through the beauty of nature, conservation, and learning. Open daily, Longwood is one of more than 30 gardens in the Philadelphia region known as America’s Garden Capital. For more information, visit