Changes coming to the spectacular Longwood Gardens

One of our favorite garden destinations, the beautiful Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is getting a makeover. The centerpiece of this 1,050-acre showcase, Longwood’s elegant five-acre conservatory complex, is currently being expanded and refreshed.

Longwood is a must-have for any gardener or landscaper, and well worth the trip for anyone else, any time of the year. Originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by the Pierce family, Longwood began as a working farm. Pierre S. du Pont transformed the estate into a garden paradise, adding formal gardens, fountains, water features, an open-air theater, a huge pipe organ, and an extravagant veranda.

Over the decades, Longwood has seen many extensions and upgrades, but none as significant as the one currently underway. The gardens remain open, but the area surrounding the huge conservatory is undergoing major construction. For more details on Longwood and their expansion plans, I recommend visiting their website at, but here is a summary of the changes underway:

A brand new West Conservatory, built in the tradition of 19th century greenhouses but enhanced with new sustainable technologies, is the centerpiece and largest component of the project. Like many of Longwood’s renowned features, this 32,000-square-foot addition will rise from a swimming pool on which the entire building will appear to float, while its Mediterranean-inspired interior garden islands will be set amid pools, of canals and fountains in an exquisite setting. tapestry-like design.

Longwood’s treasured Cascade Garden is being moved, rebuilt and preserved by a team of scholars, landscape architects and preservation experts. This custom-built 3,800 square foot freestanding jewelry box houses a tropical garden, with walkways weaving through a wonderland of waterfalls and exotic plants.

The existing bonsai collection, many of which are over a century old, will be expanded to become one of the most remarkable bonsai collections in North America. A new outdoor Bonsai courtyard will allow many more trees to be displayed at once, artfully displayed in an outdoor gallery. The new Bonsai Courtyard, surrounding a relocated, renewed and improved Waterlily Court, will be the gateway to the new West Conservatory and Cascade Garden.

Longwood’s century-old beloved Orchid House will be preserved and expanded into a gallery-like space surrounding guests with hundreds of orchids. A new glass roof, new and restored storefronts, restored bronze windows, custom framed trellises and other upgrades will revitalize this already magnificent exhibit space. The Longwood Orchid Collection has to be seen to be believed.

Imaginative new outdoor paths and vistas will stretch and connect the conservatory grounds from east to west, showcasing the beauty of the Brandywine Valley; open meadows, a large terrace leading to a stand of century-old plane trees, a shaded promenade and views of the surrounding countryside. A new public restaurant will overlook the spectacular fountains.

Marjorie and I are already planning a visit to Longwood in 2022, as the incredible light artist Bruce Munro returns for a second exhibition this summer. Starting June 30, the acres of outdoor gardens at Longwoods will glow with millions of colorful lights. It’s unforgettable.

Steve Boehme is a landscaper/installer specializing in landscape “metamorphoses”. “Let’s Grow” is published weekly; column archives are online at For more information, call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.

This article originally appeared on Chillicothe Gazette: Changes coming to the spectacular Longwood Gardens

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