• Friday , 23 February 2018

Longwood Gardens is a Flower Lovers Fantasy Wonderland

Story by Cassie Hepler, photos by Cassie Hepler and Samantha Hepler

Every Philadelphian knows that the hike to Kennett Square is worth the trip. Certainly a day trip (or honestly two-day overnight explore the burbs weekend or better yet weekday trip) is the best way to see the whole beauty and bounty that is Longwood Gardens.

Make sure you strap on your sneakers and get a good night’s sleep because there’s miles of exploring to be done and only so much time to do so! Every local also knows that yes, the sweaty summer months are beautiful and glorious however nature and art shines beautifully in the fall and winter at this magical place as well.

Autumn’s Colors and Final Weeks of Nightscape are something to keep in mind if you are a diehard toward fall. In October, as the palette of autumn begins to emerge outdoors, the Pumpkin Playground opens to the delight of young guests. Late October heralds the transformation of Longwood’s 4-acre Conservatory into a vibrant visual feast of colorful blooms. When the sun sets, the gardens remain aglow throughout the season as the nighttime spectacle of Nightscape. Check out the calendar for a full listing of events this year.

Now, on with the flowers. If only you could scratch and sniff the screen. Why hasn’t someone invented that yet?!?


These beauties reminded us that Spring and summer do in fact exist and are coming soon.


Follow the grey brick road and it will lead you in a circle.


A gorgeous postcard worthy view by the blooming flowers.


The entrance looking back. You literally enter through the earth and are spit out into Wonderland. Or maybe it’s more like where hobbits live…


Nope, definitely Wonderland with all these crazy bushes. Just wait until you see it at night all lit up and trippy!

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Painting the roses pink this time.


Some relaxing waterfalls are sprinkled throughout the large greenhouse.


Down a corridor we go, where we stop only the plants know.

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A bird of paradise aptly named in full bloom and looking strikingly similar to ones we see in Florida.

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Beautiful cascade of orchids, the most difficult flower to keep alive. So when people can do it in mass quantities, we are impressed.


A spiky, fuzzy seemingly phallic cactus shines in the sunlight. Many plants and flowers mimic nature, some for protection and some for the amusement of humans we assume.

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The delicate, intricate folds of this beauty make you almost want to touch it. Almost.

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Many weddings, banquets and events are held here and we couldn’t think of a better venue – or better smelling. Imagine the air quality in there!


We were sad to see the waterlily display out of commission however mother nature is in charge of this business.

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A lot of wishes (aka coins) are tossed into this water, giving visitors hope for dreams yet to come true near the entrance.


Also popular were the ballroom, pipe organ and gallery each equally impressive and majestic in its own right.

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A view back outside is just as lovely as stepping inside the door.


Even the bathrooms are awesome. These toilet pods are pretty famous in their own right and a popular place to poo.


At the end of the restroom hallway, some more wishes with no water. We think they still count!

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Walking into the door, this is what greets you. A sheer utopia of flowers and hopes for warmer days. Don’t forget your allergy medication, our plant nerd friends.


Huge, strange plants that bloom like this one somehow grow right out of concrete. Can we get these downtown perhaps?


An outdoor stage area that is used on warmer days.


Complete with sun drenched platform.


Steps leading up to the outdoor stage.

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A lovely rest in the shade of an architectural beauty reminds you to always look up every now and then, you never know what you’re missing.


To the waterfalls! Longwood Gardens consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States in the Brandywine Creek Valley.

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This reminded us of the fountains from the Gardens of Versailles in France which makes sense as it was created by Pierre duPont in 19th century.


A whimsical wooden tree house dubbed Canopy Cathedral. The ornate two-story house was inspired by a Norwegian church, which offers sweeping views of the Large Lake. See if you can find the other two tree houses built in 2008. It took four months to build them using mostly reclaimed materials. The structures are supported by a pin foundation system, which leaves surrounding tree limbs and roots unharmed.


A couple of funny wooden dragons guard the treehouse.


Large Lake looks lovely from the second floor balcony.


We headed out on a heavily attended day, Saturday and it was unnaturally warm outside. Handicapped chairs are first come, first serve and only go so far throughout the gardens. Make sure you come early and plan ahead if you are exploring with older family. Also drink plenty of water and perhaps find a tree to park it under, pack a lunch or go off grounds as the cafeteria is always packed like sardines.


Roots growing up like tree stubs out of the ground.


The water was thick with fish. At eight to ten feet deep, fish and other creatures and wetlands benefit from the long root systems of warm-season meadow grasses. Algae in the water is grazed upon by insects that form the bulk of the biomass that feeds other invertebrates, fish, and the young of most birds.


The Nightscape version of those amazing Alice in Wonderland bushes.

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A peak inside the greenhouse makes you wonder if you should have brought your own psychedelics.


Nightscape is not to be missed with trippy views like these nor is the beer garden. Guests can enjoy installations throughout the Gardens that combine imagery, light and sound. From the spectacular, 10-minute Large Lake display where trees, plants, fish, and fireflies, leap and soar above the water, to the fun musical symphony that performs in the Topiary Garden, to the psychedelic geometric shapes of our Silver Garden, Longwood Gardens will always be a unique memory to share with the ones you love.

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. For more information, visit www.longwoodgardens.org or call 610-388-1000.


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