Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Autumn at Longwood Gardens

It was a gorgeous fall day, so we decided to drive out to Kennett Square (PA) to Longwood Gardens.  We're members and can visit any time they're open.  Would you like to come along?

Here are parts of the topiary garden.  Unfortunately, they're doing a major renovation of the fountains that are next to the topiary.  The topiary garden was closed.  The fountain garden isn't scheduled to reopen until next spring.

Every place you look, there's something lovely and peaceful.  That's primarily why we go:  to look at beautiful things and to soak up the tranquility.

Now we're inside, looking at the fern wall.  We love this wall.  If the demolition and construction that's made our lives a nightmare for the last 10 years ever gets finished, we'd like to replace the metal wall on one side of our  patio with a wall like this.

We're still inside.  Now we're enjoying the tree ferns.  Aren't they lovely, feathery and light?

I like waterlilies.  I don't know what it is about them.  They're  exotic and graceful and I think fairies live in them.  Or frogs.  Who turn into princes.  There are, at least, little fish that live in the waterlily garden at Longwood.

But my favorites are these:

Don't they look like something from a science fiction movie where the plants eat the people?  They remind me a bit of Venus fly trap plants that have a taste for humans.  I made this photo extra large so you can read the sign.  It takes only 3 weeks for the 'platter' to grow as big as 8 feet!  Whoa!  I've seen photos in old books of children or small women standing on them, but they forbid that today at Longwood.

Here's the conservatory.  The waterlily garden is right in front of it.

This is one of the chandeliers in the conservatory.  There were three hanging in a row.

Longwood was a 402-acre farm back in the 1700s, owned by a Quaker who bought the land from William Penn.  I believe the house in the photo above is the 1730 brick farm house.  (There's another farmhouse on the property, on the other side of the meadow, but it's fieldstone.)  His grandsons were interested in trees and nature and planted an arboretum.  In the early 1900s, after the farm had been sold several times, Pierre du Pont bought it to save the trees from being cut down for lumber.  Longwood is now over 1,000 acres, so thank you Mr. du Pont.  It's a wonderful place, well maintained, and the trees and plants are marked.  It's so frustrating to go to gardens without labels.  What is that tree?!  What is that plant?!

This ginkgo must have been planted by the original owner's grandsons.  I forgot to take a photo to show you how big the tree is.  It's big.  Philadelphia has lots of ginkgos along the streets.  They have beautiful fan-shaped leaves.  The only problem is that there are male trees and female trees.  The female trees have fruit that drops on the sidewalks at this time of year and it's the stinkiest fruit!  Stinky ginkgo!

The last few photos are the view across the meadow.  A few trees are starting to show fall color, but, if we remember, we'd like to go back in a few weeks to see if the color gets better.

I hope you enjoyed a few hours in Chester County, PA.


  1. I enjoyed the visit very much! Love the fern wall. That would be really cool if you could have one of your own!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. It's a beautiful place and usually very peaceful. We seemed to have visited on a Child / Parent day, so it was less serene than usual.

  2. I loved the visit. I had no idea that ginkgos fruited, I don't think they do in our climate. It was a stand of bonsaied (?) ginkgos that I was severely tempted to buy during the summer, they were gorgeous, but I worried about inadvertently killing them!

    1. Only the females fruit. I had read that you couldn't tell the difference between the sexes and, from the number of stinky fruit on the sidewalks right now, that must be true. I love the fan-shaped leaves, though.