Better Homes and Gardens celebrates National Public Gardens Day by giving you free admission to participating gardens. This year, NPGD is on Friday May 10th. If you’re interested, click here to look at the nationwide list of participating gardens and to request your free ticket.
While it won’t get you into Longwood, it will give you access to many smaller gardens. Last year, Megan and I visited Bartram’s Garden through this program. The garden was much smaller than the one I’m about to write about, but still amazing. We’re thinking of visiting a Japanese Garden this year.
With that PSA out of the way, it’s time to get down to business. Today, that business is showing you tons of photos of amazing plants (I narrowed it down A LOT, I swear!) while trying to explain the pure epicness of Longwood Gardens.
Longwood is one of the top rated botanical gardens in the United States. The grounds cover over 1,077 acres in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. It started as a working farm, but an arboretum was started in 1798. It’s basically been open to the public since then. It was Pierre S. du Pont who made it into the garden it is today.
The grounds are changed based on the season and what flowers are blooming at that particular time. They have light displays during the Christmas Season. Right now, in late April, it’s tulip time! There were more tulips than I think I’ve seen in my life. They had displays of them everywhere, including The Idea Garden, where gardeners can observe and compare reliable plant varieties for southeastern Pennsylvania. The different groupings of tulips in The Idea Garden looked like a patchwork quilt.
Seeing all these fabulous tulips made me want to fill my whole yard with them! Daniel had picked a bunch up from the farmer’s market after Easter. So, next year my yard should be beautiful.
Of course, tulips weren’t the only flowers on display. Other varieties of early spring flowers were blooming outside, and there were TONS of varieties of plants on display in the conservatory. Said conservatory is one of the world’s largest greenhouse structures, and it houses over 5,500 varieties of plants. I took WAAAAY too many photos, but I’ll only share a few of my favorites. It was pretty overwhelming how many flowers and plants they had!
There are a few other points of interest within the garden. The first one we happened across was the whispering bench. What is a whispering bench? It’s a 25 foot, semi-circle bench. It’s perfectly shaped to carry sound. Seriously. Megan sat at one end, and I sat at the other. When I turned my head and whispered, she didn’t believe I wasn’t shouting! It was pretty amazing.
Longwood isn’t home to the only whispering bench in existence. A quick google search shows a few in the area, including some in Fairmount Park.
Next, we came across the resident Longwood organ, which is housed in the conservatory. It was built in 1929, and has over 10,000 pipes. There were rooms and rooms of pipes behind the organ. It was crazy! They say it took 14 railcars to carry the organ!
Next, we happened across the Chimes Tower. The setting was so beautiful; it seriously looked like something out of a fairy tale. The tower was constructed in 1930, and is now home to a 62 bell carillon.
After that, we hiked up the hill to our last stop of the day, The Eye of Water. It’s a pretty cool water feature that pumps something like 5,000 gallons of water per minute. The way the water flows looks like the pupil of a giant eye.
The Eye of Water is located in the most gorgeous scenery. I could have sat there forever… and we did. Well, we sat there and talked while Koa slept and Charlie played.
It was a pretty wonderful day. Megan, Corinne, and I had a great time talking and taking photos. The kids had a great time posing and running around.
There was only one bad thing to happen. It was pretty scary! Koa adores water, and he’s been known to run up to the edge of the ocean and other bodies of water. He had always stopped at the edge to look. So, when he took off running like this…
Corinne was behind him, but wasn’t too worried. He didn’t stop, though. He ran right into the water. Corinne was two seconds behind him, and didn’t think twice about going in after him. We were amazed by how many strangers came running, too. People ready to jump in, offer CPR, hand off some extra clothes, whatever was needed. As long as there are so many people ready to lend a hand to a complete stranger, I still have hope for the human species.
Thankfully, none of the offered help was needed. Koa came up crying, not coughing or sputtering. Corinne is lifeguard trained, and we were all so happy he didn’t need her expertise!
He was a little wet, cold, and scared, and he had to walk around barefoot the rest of the day, but he was safe. That’s all that mattered.
Looking back, I can now see the humor in the moment. The moment he hit the water, all the fish and geese in the pond swarmed him. Corinne had to shoo one of the geese away! They’re probably used to everything hitting the water being food for them, but Koa isn’t fish food! Corinne had a HUGE piece of pond scum stuck to her shoe, and squished with every step for the next few hours.
That happened a half hour after we arrived. We stayed for another 5 hours or so. We didn’t get to see everything they have to offer! It’s a great place to explore and adventure, and I look forward to going back. Best part? With the always changing displays and features, there’s always something new to see!
Click that link in the beginning and find a garden to visit on May 10th!