November 1, 2011

du Pont Legacy

Where is a perfect place to spend a gorgeous fall day?  For us, it was Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  Longwood Gardens is one of the premier horticultural showplaces in the world and encompasses more than 1,077 acres.  I wasn’t sure what we would see this time of year, but Tim and I were literally blown away.

We started our tour at the Peirce-du Pont House, which was built in 1730 and was the family homestead of the Peirce family until 1905.  After Pierre du Pont purchased the property, he enlarged the house for his weekend residence and added the garden’s first conservatory.  The house contains a wonderful heritage exhibit, which details the history of the property, its evolution into Longwood Gardens and the du Pont legacy.

Peirce-du Pont House

The Original Conservatory at the Peirce-du Pont House

Tim Examining Original Herbarium Sheets in the Heritage Exhibit
Are They Like the Ones in His Collection?

Planting Plan Drawn by Pierre du Pont in 1907
for Longwood Garden's First Flower Garden
The most amazing structure at Longwood is the Conservatory, one of the world’s great greenhouses.  Built in 1919, the Conservatory is enormous and contains twenty indoor gardens.  Seasonal displays are always a draw in the Conservatory, and the Chrysanthemum Festival recently opened.

The Conservatory
I like chrysanthemums, but I was not prepared for the unique varieties and colors on display.  And not just planted mums, but ones trained to hang from the ceiling, form pagodas and drape like curtains.  But the most amazing display was the huge Thousand Bloom mum.  This display may look like a collection of multiple plants, but it is truly a single plant that contains 1,000 flowers.  Incredible!  It’s unreal what the horticulturalists at Longwood can get a plant to do.  Tim was impressed with the historic, working greenhouses at the rear of the Conservatory.

Thousand Bloom Mum - It Really Is Only One Plant

Tim and Sarah - Mum's the Word

Chrysanthemums Everywhere

Hanging Mums

Mums Galore

Main Fountain Garden
We spent most of the day at Longwood and had to tear ourselves away to visit the Brandywine Valley Museum, which is home to a large collection of works by the Wyeth family.  Our visit here reminded us of our tour of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, which also houses a large Wyeth collection.

All and all, a very colorful and art-filled day.

Flower Power - Longwood Gardens Is Going Solar


  1. It really is one of the most beautiful gardens I've even seen. Sarah