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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is one of the first botanical gardens in the United States. The beautiful garden rests at the heart of the state’s scenic Brandywine River Valley, which is frequented by thousands of tourists and locals all year-round. The area consists of over 1,077 acres of partitioned gardens, meadows, and woodlands. Each section or garden has its own collection of exotic plants and different varieties of trees. The Longwood Gardens also hosts several events and performances such as concerts. They also feature seasonal and themed attractions, and educational lectures and workshops for the community.
HistoryThe original lot where the Longwood Gardens now stand was purchased by George Peirce in 1700 from William Penn. It started as a working farm, and the twin brothers, Joshua and Samuel Peirce, planted the first arboretum tree in the lot in 1978. It later became known as Peirce’s park and has been open to the public since its establishment. In 1850, the park featured the finest collection of different kinds of trees in the entire nation.
Later in 1906, Pierre duPont purchased the park from the Peirce family and made it into his private estate. He later added more features to the garden, adding more specimens of plants and eventually, a conservatory. He then founded the Longwood Foundation Inc., and after his unexpected death in 1954, the gardens was left to the care of the foundation. The Longwood Foundation, with its president, Henry duPont, continued to develop and expand the garden’s collections.
GardensThe entire 1,077-acre area of the Longwood Gardens consists of over 20 outdoor gardens, 20 indoor gardens, and several greenhouses, to name a few: The Cascade Garden, Indoor Children’s Garden; Mediterranean Garden, Orchid House; Rouse House, Silver Garden; Hillside Garden, Idea Garden; Meadow Garden, Pierce’s Woods; and a lot more. The Longwood Gardens also houses several greenhouses or conservatories for growing and maintaining signature and rare exotic plants. Among the many gardens, here are few must-see attractions that you shouldn’t miss.
Orchid HouseThe Orchid House was one of first attractions in the Longwood Gardens. The indoor garden displays a chunk of the 7,500 orchids at the institution, replaced 3 times a week, in order to continuously display an amazing exhibit of fragrant orchids. In 1948, the collection of orchid plants in Longwood was greatly expanded due the donation of more than 2,300 orchid specimens by Mrs. William duPont.
Meadow GardenThe Meadow Garden in Longwood is one of the main highlights. It spans an area of 86 acres which features a variety of plants and wildlife, complimented by scenic trails and an ecological landscape design. The 3-mile garden trail and the meadow boardwalk is ideal for walking and hiking, and goes through different attractions in the meadow, including the Webb Farmhouse & Galleries and the Hourglass Lake Pavilion. The meadow is also populated with different kinds of wildlife like the Eastern Bluebird, White-tailed Deer, North American Beaver, and all sorts of bees and butterflies. The ecological design of the massive garden is designed to give its inhabitants a sustainable and rich landscape perfect for both biodiversity and beauty.
Peirce’s WoodsThe woodland in Longwood is a 7-acre oasis of maples, ashes, huge oak trees, and over 10,000 plants from the mountains of North Carolina. The garden was gradually designed and developed throughout the 1990s, and is still continuously becoming lusher until today. The garden is best visited during spring and fall, when the woods display a spectacular show of different colors.
East ConservatoryOne of the many conservatories present in Longwood is the East Conservatory, which was completed in 1973. The half-acre indoor garden features different selections of plants and flowers, including the rare Encephalartos woodii, which was dubbed the “King of the Conservatory.” The garden also features man-made fountains, waterfalls and pools to compliment the amazing seasonal display of colorful plants.
VisitingThe Longwood Gardens welcomes visitors every day, 365 days a year. Mondays to Sundays, from 9AM – 6PM. Admission rate for non-peak days is $ 20 USD for adults, $ 17 USD for seniors, $ 10 USD for students (ages 5 – 18 with valid ID), and children ages 4 or under are free. During peak days, the rate for adults is $ 20 USD , $ 24 USD for seniors, and $ 13 USD for students. Visitors are highly encouraged to purchase their tickets online or ahead of time since there are only a limited number of tickets available per day. This eliminates the long lines and establishes an ideal number of guests per visit, which greatly enhances the viewing experience.
Getting ThereLocated at 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the gardens is easily accessible by private car using GPS. Longwood Gardens offers free on-site and off-site parking. Tourists can also take a taxi ride or a shuttle service from Wilmington, North Carolina (at the AMTRAK Train Station), which is only 19 kilometers away.
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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Feb 11, 2015