About 30 miles west of Philly, you'll find the town of Kennett Square and a one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. There are over 1000 acres of gardens, meadows, fountains, and beautiful landscape. There's a huge conservatory, topiary, restaurants and a children's garden too.
Longwood was created by Pierre Dupont and is sometimes referred to as "Dupont Gardens." If you're into horticulture, this is the place for you.
The same person who created Winterthur, Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954), also was extremely interested in horticulture. Not only did he have magnificant grounds around Winterthur, but he also created Longwood Gardens in 1906 to "exploit the sentiments and ideas associated with plants and flowers in a large way."
We visited the Conservatory during the girls' Easter break in 1969. Then the American Iris Society had their national meetings in Philadelphia, and Longwood Gardens were part of those garden visits, so we visited again in May. (I don't have any pictures of that).
The outdoor gardens and Conservatory open at 9 am every day of the year. Both close at 5 pm from November through March and at 6 pm from April through October. During the summer, the Gardens are open until 9 pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays for performances and fountain displays. The Gardens are also open until 9 pm during the holiday Christmas display.
Admission Rates (subject to change without notice) is as follows:
$12 mid January through March ($8 on Tuesdays)
$14 April through day before Thanksgiving ($10 on Tuesdays)
$15 Thanksgiving through early January (no Tuesday discount)
Youths $6 (ages 16-20)
Children $2 (ages 6-15)
Under age 6 FREE
Since 2006 is the centennial year for the gardens they are having celebrations throughout the year. The Centennial Kick-Off takes place during Longwood’s Welcome Spring display, a refreshing preview of flowering bulbs inside nearly three acres of greenhouses, January 21-April 7. Daffodils, tulips, and other old-fashioned favorites flourish alongside exotic plants in the balmy Orangery and Exhibition Hall, where the fabled blue poppy blooms in March.
The 2006 Easter Display is set for April 8-April 21 when more than one thousand lilies fill the Conservatory with their signature fragrance and stately flowers. Hydrangeas border the indoor lawns, while marguerites and blue daisies weave through spires of delphiniums.
I remember the lily display at easter from 1969.
About an hour south of Philadelphia, near Wilmington, is a garden estate made by the Dupont family which is now open to the public. It carries a hefty price tag to get in but it is worth it. It has several gorgeous gardens, designed bushes, a pond, plant conservatory, fountains, etc.
Longwood Gardens (about 30 minutes outside of Philly) is a wonderful botanical garden covering acres of open spaces as well as filling old style homes. From their bonsai garden to their rose garden and water fountains, a great way to spend a sunny day.
More photos available at:
I have been to Longwood Gardens many times over the year, and on my most recent visit discovered that there were many displays that I had missed previously. Longwood Gardens is a massive property with much to see. While it is possible for a fit person to see all the displays in one full day, it really takes many visits to gain a full appreciation for what Longwood has to offer. For a die-hard plant lover like myself I think about 3 days would be required to really be able to soak in, study and photograph all the plants and displays.
Longwood Gardens is just a short 1/2 hour drive from Philadelphia and is definitely worth a visit if you have an interest in plants and flowers.
Making sure you get to Longwood Gardens is a must. This estate just south of Philly must be one of the premier formal gardens in the US. It is only a short drive down US1 from Center City, and brochures should be available almost anywhere.
One of the world's premier destinations for horticulturists and non-gardeners alike, it encompasses 20 outdoor gardens, 20 indoor gardens, four acres of heated greenhouses and 11,000 different types of plants. Longwood Gardens is open every day of the year and attracts more than 900,000 visitors annually, and displays change seasonally. Be prepared to do a lot of walking. Longwood Gardens is located on US Route 1, about 3 miles northeast of Kennett Square, PA and 30 miles from Philadelphia, they offer free parking.