EAST MARLBOROUGH — People from around the world are joining with American friends to visit Longwood Gardens.
This spring the world-renowned botanical landmark, located off Route 1 just north of Kennett Square, is abuzz with visitors enjoying a vast array of vibrant displays of flora and fauna. Seniors are taking walks along the grounds, children are discovering there are many types of cactus on this planet, and families are beaming with smiles as they explore Longwood Gardens together.
“We are so pleased to welcome guests from our backyard and around the world,” said Patricia Evans, public relations officer for Longwood Gardens, on Friday.
Longwood Gardens spans 1,100 acres and features gardens, meadows and woodlands — plus treehouses, fountains and so much more.
Longwood Gardens first opened to the public, thanks to the goodwill of Pierre du Pont, in 1921.
Longwood Gardens typically sees more than 1.5 million visitors each year. (JEN SAMUEL — MEDIANEWS GROUP)
“There is certainly an increased appreciation of the importance of being in nature, particularly since the pandemic,” Evans said.
Two years ago, from mid-March to early June 2020, Longwood Gardens was closed to the public during the statewide mandated shutdown of non-essential venues in Pennsylvania.
Yet nature uplifts. Nature inspires. And these days, people are appreciating the joy of nature more than ever before.
“We hear from guests all the time that they come to Longwood to unplug and to unwind and to enjoy the feeling you get when you are surrounded by nature and beauty,” Evans said. “We are so glad that we can give our guests that experience.”
There are several highlights at Longwood Gardens right now.
“During the Festival of Fountains, our beautiful outdoor spaces take center stage,” Evans said. “Our outdoor gardens are starting to burst with colorful annuals and perennials, and our Conservatory is filled with tropical plants and palms, creating a really lush oasis.”
Visitors take photos at the Orchid House on May 19. (JEN SAMUEL — MEDIANEWS GROUP)
And the warmer weather to enjoy the great outdoors has just begun. Summer returns with the next seasonal solstice on June 21.
“Fountains are a summertime favorite here at Longwood, and all three of our fountain gardens are performing daily,” Evans said. “Each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening, we are open late for our Illuminated Fountain Performances set to music in our Main Fountain Garden at 9:15. From classical, country, pop, movie themes to Latin music, we have a fountain performance for you.”
Longwood Gardens also is home to a popular beer garden.
“Guests enjoy spending time before our Illuminated Fountain Performances listening to live music in our beer garden,” Evans said. “We feature a variety of local performers and guests enjoy relaxing under the stars, listening to great music, and enjoying beverages from Victory Brewing Company, including our Oro Blanco Grapefruit Saison beer, brewed with grapefruit grown at Longwood.”
In other news, construction impacting 17 acres is moving forward at Longwood Gardens.
“Longwood Reimagined continues to move forward and we are on track for a fall 2024 opening,” Evans said.
The $200 million project, known as Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience, is a sweeping reimagination of 17 acres of Longwoods’ Conservatory and grounds, as previously reported. Projects include renewing and enhancing the Waterlily Court, establishing a new outdoor Bonsai Courtyard, relocating, reconstructing and preserving the Cascade Garden, and a new 32,000-square-foot West Conservatory is the centerpiece and largest component of the project.
Part of the initial transformation phase of this project included the expanded Orchid House, on view now. The Orchid House features hundreds of orchids now housed beneath a new glass roof with enhanced display cases and beautiful views of the fountains.
Completed in February, the Orchid House restoration marks the first milestone achieved in Longwood Reimagined.
“As we preserve and enhance this treasured space, we have created an even better experience to enjoy our renowned orchid collection, so that we can continue to share the diversity, beauty, and importance of our orchids with our guests long into the future,” said Paul Redman, director and chief executive officer of Longwood Garden, in February.
And as summer nears, tickets are still available for upcoming concerts and performances including Light: Installations by Bruce Munro.
“We are very excited to be welcoming back artist Bruce Munro for Light: Installations by Bruce Munro, which opens June 30 and features 8 installations throughout the gardens,” Evans said.
“Art is a strong way of connecting people to themselves and the landscape,” said Bruce Munro. “I hope to inspire guests to become more aware of the space they are in and to revel in the wonder that is Longwood Gardens.”