A Visit to Longwood

Photos taken by Debbie Page and Susan Romanoff during their visits to Longwood Gardens.

Last fall, I got the chance to visit Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, which also happens to be a mushroom capital of the U.S. Founded by Pierre DuPont in 1906 in an attempt to save century-old trees, the gardens feature an arboretum and grand conservatory.

About the writer: Debbie Page works in the perennial department of our garden center in Williston, VT. She lives in a solar-electrified home, surrounded by 30 acres with raised beds for vegetables and several perennial borders.

When I arrived, the conservatory was displaying autumn colors for a chrysanthemum festival, which featured a single mum plant that had more than 1,000 blooms.

Looking for the bathroom, I was delighted to find several bathroom door openings in a serpentine wall of ferns planted in felt pockets. When I went back later, a maintenance crew was trimming the ferns with a “cherry picker,” making a pile of cuttings on the floor.

The display in the Exhibition Hall featured a reflecting pool. As I looked at the marble floor — flooded with about an inch of water — I could see dozens of yellow and white parasols, which were hung from the ceiling.

In the next hall, gold winterberry bushes frothed up out of half whiskey barrels, surrounding a meadow of green grass.

My favorite part was the whimsical Indoor Children’s Garden. Here
a fountain spits up at random intervals and rings a bell hanging above it. As you come down a spiral staircase, you can see a column of slithering metal snakes. Meanwhile, bronze birds dip their beaks into a frothing birdbath. Ribbed shells, pressed into low, plastered ceilings, make it clear that this area is just for kids.

I passed through the silver succulent room down the hall. Here they feature a variety of textured succulents, all with similar coloring.

My husband was waiting outside by the giant lily pads. He almost could have stood on one. They are in square pools surrounded by walkways. At warmer times of the year musical events take place here.

You never know what you will find at Longwood Gardens. It’s different every month. If you get a chance to go with your local garden club, do it. Open every day of the year. More information: longwoodgardens.org

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