Exploring Longwood Gardens, And There Is A Lot To Explore

Exploring Longwood Gardens, And There Is A Lot To Explore

Longwood Gardens (24 of 43)
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After my Saturday  morning hike in the Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square  I had a quick breakfast, checked out of the Hilton Garden Inn and drove the two mile to Longwood Gardens. What a difference a day made. When I arrived for my first visit on Friday I had to run to the visitor center in a torrential downpour. It continued to rain most of the day, curtailing my plans to explore the gardens. Not Saturday. It was sunny and warm when I arrived. After a few minutes wait in line I entered shortly after my 10:30 admission ticket. Ticket are required in advance and are time specific. 

Upon entering the gardens I  walked to the right, past some pretty  fountains and to the flower gardens. 

My plan was to hike the  Meadow Garden  first then come back and explore some of the gardens nearer to the entrance. However as soon as I saw the many beautiful flowers in bloom my plans changed. 

I had to spend some time admiring, and photographing the many flowers  in these wonderful gardens. So many different varieties and colors of zinnias,

dahilas , 

coneflowers and so many others. If you are a flower lover this is the place to be. 

I reluctantly left the flower gardens and roamed along  one of the many beautiful paths.

I came upon this little gazebo like structure.

After visiting a wooden tree house along one of the paths, I came to the Italian Gardens and their beautiful fountains. One could sit here and admire this beauty for hours, or even days. 

I wanted to get some hiking in so I continued my walk and crossed a bridge and came to the 86 acre Meadow Garden and it’s 3 miles of trails.

It was late morning now and it was humid from the heavy rains on Friday. Temperatures were near  90 degrees. There were still a lot of people hiking the trail despite the heat. And it seemed like all of them sought shelter,and a rest,  under the shade of this huge beech tree.

I did too.

The  larger meadow gardens had been used for agriculture and livestock production since the early 1700’s. Pierre S. duPont acquired some of the meadows when he purchased the Peirce farm in 1906. He acquired more land and used it for agriculture until 1951.

Since then this land has reverted to the these expansive fields overgrown with native plants and wild flowers. 

As I walked through the meadows toward the Webb Farm House in the distance I saw black-eyed susan daisies,

milkweed, 

bee balm 

and butterfly weed flowers growing throughout the fields. 

It was cloudy now but still hot and humid as I continued my hike to the Webb Farm House. The Farm House was closed  but I learned it was originally built by the Webb family around 1730. So much history in this area. 

I continued my hike along the edge of the meadow near the forest that surrounded it. In the fields I did see some gold finches, red-winged blackbirds and song sparrows. 

There were a few dragonflies darting about as I neared a small stream that ran off of the hillside. 

There were a number of displays and inspirational signs along the trail. I took the Outer Trail  Loop, about a two mile hike, and I was glad when I reached the end of the trail and the open meadow. The sun occasionally broke through the cloud cover and it was hot. Here is a link to a gallery with  some more photographs of my hike in the Meadow Garden. Kennett Square Longwood Meadow Garden July 11 2020.

I left the Meadows Garden trail and walked into the Forest Trail and enjoyed the cool shade of the ancient trees. Here, too, ne could spend hours exploring these trails.

I wanted to see as much as possible in my limited time so I  left the Forest Trail, after exploring another cool  tree house

and walked over to the Conservatory again. Even though I spent four hours here on Friday it’s beauty was still overwhelming. I especially loved the  water lily gardens.

Of course I had to visit Sprout, the corpse plant and was disappointed it did not bloom. I was told it may be a few more days until it would open. It is still a wonderful experience to observe this amazing plant. one of so many at Longwood Garden.

Leaving the Conservatory,  I walked down to the Main Fountain Garden.  I missed the daily performances of  the fountains but I hope to return and see them soon. My walking tour of the gardens continued the with a walk to the Chimes  Tower. One of the paths followed  the stream that flowed into the lake beneath the tower.

There is so much to see besides what I am briefly describing here in my blog. Flowers, ancient trees, well maintained shrubs are everywhere in the gardens.

I walked past the Chimes Tower to the Eye of Water, which sits atop the 90,000 reservoir that provides water to the fountains below. 

It was now mid-afternoon and I had already walked around 8 miles in the park in Kennett Square and the gardens so I, reluctantly, decided to leave. On my way to the exit I visited the rose garden and,

 Topiary Garden. Both required so much more  time to appreciate their beauty, as did all of the areas I visited, I think I saw most of the major gardens and displays but I am sure I missed many. It was a good orientation to Longwood Gardens. As a proud new member I hope to return many times in the future and discover even more of its history and beauty. Here is a link to a gallery in my blog website with more photographs from the gardens and flowers of beautiful Longwood Gardens. . Kennett Square Longwood flowers July 11 2020. 

“Longwood Gardens is a thing of beauty and inspiration, while the meadow is a wild place full of nature’s homespun wonder to explore.” Gwendolyn Lacy

 

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