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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania (Part 2)

The Outdoor Gardens:
1. The Cow Lot. The ideal thing to start your tour begins here. This large open lawn, framed with specimen trees, was once a pasture.
2. Open Air Theatre – This is an outdoor theatre built in 1913. Because of Pierre du Pont’s love of music and drama, this was completed in 1914, then re-designed and enlarged in 1926-27. Today, it features all types of music performances and fountain displays. Fountains built into the stage perform daily from spring through Christmas and after dark are illuminated by hidden colored lights. An unusual water features serves as the stage curtain, rising 10’ in front of the stage before most performances.
3. Peirce-du Pont House – Step inside the house and see the heritage exhibit on the first floor which features historic photos, artifacts and a video that tells the story of the stewards of the land who preserved and developed the property.
4. Pierce’s Park – this is an arboretum that includes many large trees planted by the Pierce family in the 1800’s. Some of the trees here are approximately 200 years old.
5. Flower Garden Walk – this garden was created by Pierre du Pont that became the first flower garden and fountain in 1907. Today, the plantings bordering the 600-ft. long brick walk are mixtures of annual and perennial flowers, spring bulbs, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
A semi-circular store called “Whispering Bench” concludes the eastern end of the walk.

Try this; - Sit on one end of the Whispering Bench and have a friend sit on the other end. Cup your hand and whisper a secret toward the center of the bench and notice how your voice travels around the curve!
6. Pierce’s Woods – This is an “art form” garden of native woodland plants that features fragrant native azaleas in April and May.
7. Italian Water Garden – the basic layout of he design was inspired from Villa Gamberaia, near Florence, Italy while Mr. & Mrs. Du Pont was having their European trip, made with a water staircase and 600 jets that re-circulate 4,500 gallons of water each minute. The underground plumbing and drainage systems represent state-of-the-art technology, and the fountain display is computer operated.
8. Wisteria Garden – showcases cascades of violet and white flowers that spill from arbors and tree-form wisteria in May.
9. Square Fountain – this is an enclosed water feature fountain, surrounded by seasonal flowers and built in 1908.
10. Peony Garden – The garden derived its name from the shrubby hybrid tree peonies that bloom each May, along with Japanese irises and golden chain trees. Architectural interests are also added such as sundial and teak branches.
11. Flower Garden Drive – this 600-ft.long avenue parallels the Flower garden Walk with a magnificent alle’e (double row) of 27 bald cypress trees, fronted by an arborvitae hedge, that provides a stately backdrop for a double flower border.
12. Theater Garden – this is a walled theatre garden designed by Thomas Church in 1975. Now, it’s considered as a garden for all seasons, a decorative patchwork of muted colors and extravagant textures.
13. The Rose Arbor – it serves as one of the outdoor staging, areas for concerts when Rosa ‘American Pillar’ blooms in June. At the center of it is an old Italian wellhead that was given to Longwood in 1970.
14. Children’s Garden – this is undergoing complete rebuilding of its indoors. The graphic panels explain the new design.
15. Conservatory Terrace and Main Fountain Garden – The conservatory has colourful flowers and exotic foliage that are combined in year-round horticultural displays. The main fountain garden has 380 fountains and spouts set in Italian limestone basins and canals that create spectacular displays throughout the summer. At night, the fountains can be illuminated by 724 colored lights.
16. Outdoor Children’s Garden – this features a lively bee-themed activities including a honeycomb maze, “buzz trail” and flower fountain.
17. Idea Garden – This used to be once a large vegetable garden that supplied food for Mr. & Mrs. Du Pont and Longwood employees, with a 5-acre wide garden. It was developed early 1980’s into an educational displays for home gardeners.
18. Pump House – This is part of the garden,-the equipment that drives the main fountains, waterfalls and eye of water.
19. Chimes Tower Hillside – If you come across the hillside walk, you’ll notice that exuberant bulb, shrub and perennial plants spill down the slope of it, providing colors from spring to fall. As you continue to follow the path, you’ll discover magnificent views of the waterfall and Chimes Tower, with intimate places to sit and listen to carillon performances.
20. Chimes Tower – This eye-catching tower is 61-ft. tall that features a 62-bell carillon that rings hourly and for concerts. As you walk along the Chimes Tower, it provides a series of sunny and shaded spots for tranquil contemplation amid spectacular views. Various colors of trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials throughout the year draws visitors to the eye-catching tower. At the base of the tower is a video that talks about the history and mechanics of the Chimes Tower.
21. Frog Hollow – this is a moist, low-lying area that fills with daffodils, magnolias and grape-hyacinths and usually gives color in Spring until end of June.
22. Conifer Knoll – the sloping landscape is dominated with mature specimens of majestic evergreens. Covering the top of the knoll is a variety of conifers.
23. Oak Knoll – Various oak species dominate this knoll. From March through April, thousands of pale purple crocuses and yellow winter aconites create beneath the leafless oak tress.
24. Eye of Water – this modern water feature sits above a 90,000 gallon reservoir that supplies the waterfalls and main fountain garden.
25. Rose Garden – a traditional garden installed in 1930, features many varieties of fragrant roses that bloom from June to October.
26. Topiary Garden – this attractive garden features evergreen yews that are trimmed into large geometric forms and whimsical shapes. The desired forms take years to develop. Today, it now includes more than 20 different shapes with more than 50 specimens. Within this garden is an analemmatic sundial which took 8 years of daily readings to perfect it, which is accurate to within 2 minutes. A sign on the site explains how to read it.
27. Caryopteris Alle’e – this long, narrow alle’e between the topiary and rose gardens has double rows of blue caryopteris and white hibiscus that bloom in late summer.
28. Lilacs – features 70 different lilac varieties that has plantings of white, pink and purple lilacs on both sides of the path leading to the main fountain garden. They bloom during late April and May with delightful fragrance.
29. Forest Walk – this natural woodland walk takes visitors under magnificent tulip trees, ashes and maples.
30. Meadow – this comprises 2 areas, the meadow trailhead and the meadow bridge platform that glows with wildflowers in late summer and fall. These areas were added as a new dimension for horticultural displays. The bridge platform contains native wildflowers. It becomes attractive and alive with moths, butterflies and birds during late summer and early fa