Visiting Longwood Gardens
Located in the Brandywine Valley of Eastern Pennsylvania, Longwood Gardens covers 1,077 acres with 40 different gardens, half being indoor gardens. Today widely considered a U.S. horticultural treasure, Longwood Gardens history as an arboretum dates to 1700 when a Quaker family named Peirce purchased Longwood Gardens from William Penn. The Peirce family farmed the land and started an arboretum, which they opened to the public as a park in 1798. More than a century later, Pierre du Pont bought the property from the Peirce family in 1906 to help preserve the arboretum. He added gardens, a conservatory and a theater, and when he died in 1954, the Longwood Gardens Foundation continued his work. Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens.
Special Features of Longwood Gardens
- Original Conservatory, built by Pierre du Pont in 1919, and expanded and renovated over time. Today it contains 20 different indoor gardens, over 5,500 plants and more than 4.5 acres of covered greenhouses.
- Outdoor spaces divided into three major areas: West Garden, Central Garden and East Garden.
- Flower Garden Walk, a 600-foot-long brick walk flanked by beds of annuals, perennials bulbs, grasses and flowering shrubs.
- Peirce’s Park, considered one of the best collections of trees in the U.S., all of which are labeled and many are more than 200 years old.
- Hillside garden, with flowering shrubs and perennials peaking in spring and late summer to early fall, is intended to provide ideas and inspiration for the home gardener.
- Peirce’s Woods, a 7-acre area developed with the concept of using native plants to create the woodland garden as an art form.
- Topiary Garden, with giant yews sheared every July and August into cones, spirals and other fanciful shapes.
- Lilac collection, with more than 70 different cultivars.
- Italian water garden.
- Formal rose garden
- Idea Garden, designed for the home gardener, displays 11 different plant groups, each with reliable plant varieties for southeastern Pennsylvania gardens.
- Student Exhibition Garden, showcasing the works of horticultural students.
- Bee-aMazed Children’s Garden, featuring Honeycomb Maze, Flower Fountain, and Buzz Trail.
Tips for Visiting Longwood Gardens
- Longwood Gardens estimates that to walk the entire 20-room Conservatory at a leisurely pace takes about 1-1½ hours and covers ½ mile. They estimate that the 20 outdoor gardens take an additional two to three hours and cover 2¼-3¼ miles of walking.
- The only transportation around Longwood Gardens is by foot, unless you require the use of a wheelchair or electric scooter, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and attire.
- Bring a set of small binoculars, along with your notepad and pen. Many of the plants are labeled, so you’ll be able to read tags from a distance without trampling through flower beds.
- Longwood Gardens has an excellent website with a fairly extensive FAQ (frequently asked questions) section about ticketing, prices, parking, tours – you name it. Check it out when you’re planning your trip.
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348
610-388-1000 or 1-800-737-5500