blog_banner 20

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Visit to Longwood Gardens.

Two weeks ago today, we visited Longwood Gardens, which is located on over 1000 acres in Kennett Square, PA on the Eastern side of the state. According to Wikipedia, the land was purchased from William Penn himself by the Peirce family, who collected all kinds of different specimens of trees on the land. In the early 20th century, the trees were in danger of being sold for lumber, so Pierre S. du Pont purchased the land and developed it into one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States.

And I can attest that the claim is justified because it is an amazing place. During our four hour stay, I kept mentioning to Mark how we needed to buy a house nearby so that we could become members and visit all year round whenever we pleased. In fact, my photos just do not do it justice - you just have to go see for yourself.

A word about the photos. The day that we visited was a bright, sunny day. Great for strolling the grounds, but terrible for photos. On top of that, the lens that I had with me wasn't nearly wide enough to capture many of the spaces, so I had to make do.

Italian Water Gardens.

Let's start with the Italian Water Gardens. Longwood is particularly famous for it's spectacular fountains. Unfortunately, access to the main fountain garden was blocked off, so we didn't get to see those.

Italian Water Gardens.

On the other hand, these ain't too shabby.

Canopy Cathedral Treehouse

Longwood is a great place for kids to explore. Lauren loved it, and as we walked through acres and acres, she never complained once. One of her favorite parts of the visit was exploring the three tree houses on the grounds. This one is called the Canopy Cathedral. The window alone is fantastic.

Lookout Loft Treehouse.

This next one is the Lookout Loft Treehouse. Check out how they built around that very tall tree. What kid wouldn't want a three floor treehouse?

Lookout Loft Treehouse.

I can tell you that the kid peeping out the top window would.

Birdhouse Treehouse

The last treehouse is the Birdhouse Treehouse. It was too wide for me to get a good photo of the exterior, but the interior had these tubes that you could use to listen to the sound of the surrounding woods.

Bee hive in the Birdhouse Treehouse.

Lauren was absolutely riveted by the bee hive. If we made our own, I think we could cancel cable because she would just watch the bees all the time. Onlookers can safely watch the bees tend to the hive behind glass, but it also had a tube that led to the forest so that the bees could travel freely.

Peirce-du Pont House

This is Pierre S. du Pont's house. You can tour the inside as well. You'll have to take my word for it that the interior is fabulous because it was too difficult to get good photos on the inside.

Kitty du Pont.

However, what we do have is a photo of the resident kitty. We'll refer to him as "Kitty du Pont." Come to think of it, Kitty du Pont was probably Lauren's favorite part of the tour. Kitty du Pont was so sweet that we lingered a little too long with him. In the words of Mark, "There's a lot more to see, and we didn't spend forty some dollars to look at a cat!" So we better move along.

Graffiti tree.

Surrounding the du Pont house is Peirce Woods, which contains many varieties of trees, some over 200 years old. The only other place that I've seen trees as big (That were not sequoias) was at Mount Vernon. Along what is called the Forest Walk, several trees have been defaced by lovers (and apparently, stoners.).

Me and Lauren resting during the Forest Walk.

Lauren and I taking a breather on the Forest Walk.

Entrance to the Conservatory.

Perhaps the crown jewel of Longwood Gardens is the Grand Conservatory.

Inside the Conservatory.

The place is immense - it spans a half of a mile.

Ivy covered pillars.

Look at those pillars!

Hanging baskets.

And those gigantic hanging baskets!

Ponds outside the Conservatory.

In the center of the Conservatory, there is a courtyard filled with ponds.

Receding purple water lily.

When we arrived there, it was already late in the afternoon, so the lilies had begun to recede.

Water lily.

I was still able to squeeze in some last minute shots.

Pink water lily.

I had to lay on my stomach on the hot cement to get these. At one point, my camera bag almost fell in the pond. Oops.

Purple pond lily.

Water platter.

I had never seen anything like these water platters. They must have been 2 to 3 feet in diameter.

The Queen Bee.

Longwood also has a children's garden filled with mazes and other whimsies. Here is yours truly sitting on the queen bee's throne.

Topiary garden.

And a place like this wouldn't be complete without a huge topiary garden.

Chimes Tower and waterfall.

Our last stop is the Chimes Tower. Inside is a large Carillon that is played at intervals throughout the day. Looking at this photo makes me almost imagine that I visited Europe instead of Eastern Pennsylvania. Maybe someday, but I have to admit that you can't go wrong when there are such nice places to visit like this so close to home.

No comments: