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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania –(Part 3)

The garden has also gardens constructed in a larger greenhouse called conservatory. There are at least 16 gardens inside including halls which are worth visiting and as attractive as the outdoor gardens.

1. Conservatory Orangery and Exhibition Hall – Originally, this area was planted with orange trees. Now, this is filled with ever blooming flowerbeds and manicured lawns. This is the Main Conservatory which was opened in 1921. This has adjoining greenhouses to grow flowering plants and fruits.
The exhibition hall has a sunken, marble floor covered with few inches of water for reflection. On some occasions, the floor is drained for special displays and entertainment. It has creeping fig and bougainvillea trained on the pillars and walls.
If you prefer to hear and learn more about the plants, they offer a self-guided audio tour inside the conservatory, pointing out the history, design, plants and mechanical infrastructure and other behind-the-scenes facts.

2. East Conservatory – this showcases remarkable water features. A central flowing stream and 16’ wide waterfall add sound and motion to the garden. Each of the black-dyed pools is heated to support aquatic plant life year-round.

3. Children’s Garden Construction Project – this temporary exhibit highlights some of the amazing sculpted features and garden designs that will be found in the new Children’s garden. A mini-maze filled with plants entices children to explore the new design of the Children’s garden. A remote controlled camera allows them to view the construction progress.

4. Ballroom, Pipe Organ & Gallery
The ballroom is unique for its elaborate finishes including a parquet floor, fabric-paneled walls, and ceiling comprising 1,104 panes of rose-colored etched glass.
The Pipe Organ Museum Gallery – interprets the history and mechanics of Longwood’s Aeolian organ and chronicles Mr. Du Pont’s interest in music as well as the 2000-year history of pipe organs. As the restoration proceeds, visitors can view the wood and metal pipes housed in the organ chamber.

5. Outdoor Waterlily Display – this displays wide variety of aquatic plants from all over the world. The pools are filled with numerous types of day-and-night-blooming tropical waterlilies, lotuses, giant waterplatters, and other aquatic and bog plants.

6. Production Greenhouses
This 30,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility assists Longwood staff in growing plants for display in the neighboring 4-acre conservatory.

7. Mediterranean House – this greenhouse displays plants grown in Mediterranean-type climates from around the world which are characterized by moist, cool winters and hot, dry summers. Plants from these regions require high light levels, good air circulation, and a minimum temperature of 40F. This garden is at its peak in early to late spring.

8. Palm House – this greenhouse first opened on Palm Sunday, 1966, the reason why it got its name. It features unusual palms and cycads, lush groundcover plants, and the sound of rushing water that create a tropical feeling throughout the year.

9. Bonsai – these are potted miniature trees specimens that imitate full-size plants in nature. Horticulturists periodically prune roots, branches, and leaves to shape as well as keep the bonsai from outgrowing their containers. They shape plans into a variety of forms by wrapping wire around the stems. This permits branches to be bent and trained into the desired position. The wires are eventually removed.

10. Potting Shed – the gardeners use this shed as a planning and staging area for many of the magnificent horticultural displays.

11. Estate Fruit House – this garden is a striking example of the creative reuse of existing structures. Two of the favourite fruits of Mr. Du Pont are being grown here, nectarines and grapes. The fruits is produced at least a month ahead of the outdoor season by controlling heating and ventilation.

12. Cascade Garden – this garden features water cascades splashing into clear pools and lush, richly textured plants clinging to the walls and carpeting the ground.

13. Rose House – Pierre du Pont used this greenhouse to grow roses for cutting and display from late fall to early summer. Chinese hibiscus plants have been added to the terraced beds to extend seasonal interest.

14. Tropical Terrace – Visitors enter this tropical garden of lush foliage through the dangling 20-ft.long spaghetti-like aerial roots of the princess vine. Familiar houseplants such as philodendrons and calatheas, and many unusual tropical plants with bold textures and bright colors are displayed here. A rabbit’s foot-fern hanging in the center of the greenhouse was planted in 1953 and weighs approximately 500 pounds.

15. Orchids and Banana House The orchid room houses the best of Longwood’s more than 3,200 types of orchids. At least 300-500 plants at peak bloom at one time adding color and fragrance in the air. Nearby, visitors can stroll beneath a diverse collection of one of the principal food crops of the world, the banana. 20 different types are grown in Longwood and range from the towering 30-ft.plantain to the dwarf banana that is easily grown in a container.

16. Silver Garden – Displays gray and silver-foliage plants adapted to the arid landscape of the Mediterranean and desert regions. The meandering shape of the gray-blue slate hints of a dry streambed as would be found on the floodplain of a desert. Rock outcroppings catch the eye in the center, and the “stream” disappears behind the boulders.

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