Exploring the Brandywine: Longwood Gardens
The Brandywine Valley is home to one of the world’s premier botanical gardens: Longwood Gardens.
Boasting more than one thousand acres of formal gardens (both outdoor and enclosed), woodlands, and meadows near Kennett Square, Longwood is the former estate of Pierre S. du Pont – a prominent industrialist born and raised in a DuPont company home on the Brandywine River in 1870 who grew up to serve simultaneously as the president of both DuPont and General Motors from 1915-1920 and also played a key role in financing the Empire State Building.
The extraordinary beauty of Longwood is difficult to capture with words. The Main Fountain Garden is the finest performance garden in the world. The four-plus acre conservatory which houses more than forty-five thousand plants – and a 10,010 pipe Aeolian organ (which took fourteen railcars to transport) – is largely without parallel. The Christmas display encompasses miles upon miles of light strands (with more than half a million lights). Pretty much everything that Longwood does is bigger and better than the global competition (if there is hyperbole in this statement, I promise that it is just a dash – just ask any of the million and a half people who visit each year).
Education is an important component of Longwood’s core mission and an array of formal and informal programs are offered year-round to thousands of students – both professionals and enthusiasts alike. Additionally, the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture is offered in partnership with the University of Delaware.
Sadly, with COVID-19 shutting down public places for months this year, I haven’t been able to visit Longwood as often as I would have otherwise liked (it’s only a couple of miles from where I work); however, its lovely grounds have served as backdrops for many of my product pictures.
If you ever have the chance to visit the Brandywine region and only have time to make one stop, look no further than Longwood Gardens. It is truly breathtaking.