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12.17.2014

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA

In the way that Phipps Conservatory is the premier botanical gardens of Western Pennsylvania , the botanical gardens for Eastern Pennsylvania is the world famous Longwood Gardens. This traces its roots back to 1798 with the beginnings of exotic planting. Prior to that, the tract was exclusively used as a working farm that was on land purchased directly from William Penn. By the time 1850 came around, the property had one of the world's finest collections of trees. The founding Pearce family sold the property to the Pierre du Pont, a member of the famed famed du Pont family of Delaware. His legacy led towards the success of the Johnson Street Rail Company Steel Works, later on it was a US Steel Plant and a Lorain Steel Company plant, formerly located on the Stony Creek River in Johnstown. His greatest industrial legacy lies with the growth of General Motors into the world's largest corporation at the time, a company that would help lead our nation into the strongest period of growth and wealth distribution that our nation ever saw. 

Pierre du Pont saw that the Longwood property was threatened by logging and rescued it, creating a private residence. Knowing the pure beauty and how special this property was, he added extensively to the property, creating a botanical garden in which he deposited specimens of plants that he found in his world travels and at various Worlds Fairs. 

Within the conservatory complex, he added a huge pipe organ, that is still preserved and played. It has 10,010 different pipes that requires a 72 horsepower engine to blow into the pipes. It is located in the room that was built to be a ballroom. He also added a fountain system. In older age he opened up the property on weekends to public and would often give tours in anonymity. I don't know if it is just me, but all of this almost reminds me of "The Great Gatsby." In 1946 he specified in his will that he wanted Longwood to be maintained and open to the public every day of the year. Today the conservatory has twenty large indoor gardens with 11,000 different species of plant and tree life. 

These photos are from our visit last year.
 Cacti!
 The holiday displays are truly stunning
 This design in the floor was actually created with a pond of water and floating apples.
 A welcome sight of summer in the middle of the winter.
 Here is the apple mosaic again. The creativity is truly mindblowing.

 Poinsettia
 My favorite flowers in the whole conservatory.
 Like a flock of little birds
 Brit and my sister Taryn
 My mother
 Orchid room!
 Pineapples!
 Oranges! I always love the fruit rooms!

 Beautiful roses
 Outside they have lights throughout the entire 1077 acre property. As huge as the indoor conservatory is, it encompasses only a small amount of the property. Gardens are scattered throughout, which include spectacular displays and even a tree house for the kids to play in. This is a very neat property and my photos do it no justice. You really need to see it to believe it. This is definitely one of the coolest holiday displays that is out there.

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