Considered among the best public gardens in America, Longwood Gardens has been charming the hearts of millions of visitors each year since opening more than a century ago.
It was the vision of one entrepreneurial bachelor that allowed this horticultural destination to take root. Single until the age of 45, Pierre du Pont first fell in love with this parcel of land back in 1906. In an effort to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber, this industrialist purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and unknowingly laid the groundwork for what would become one of the country’s most treasured horticultural showplaces.
The gardens today are spread across 1,077 acres with a four-acre conservatory and feature an amazing array of outdoor and indoor areas freckled with seasonal displays and innovative arrangements. Longwood has become famous for its five annual events, referred to as the five “seasons” by staff and regular visitors: the Orchid Extravaganza, Spring Blooms, the Festival of Fountains, Autumn’s Colors and A Longwood Christmas.
Longwood welcomes more than 1.1 million guests annually and continues the mission set forth by du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the arts. The gardens offer more than a stroll through the poppies — although one sight of their blue poppies alone makes the trip worth it — and include unique features such as an outdoor conservatory plaza complete with 6,682 solar panels and a series of three tree houses from which the young and the young at heart can obtain a different perspective of the land.
“Longwood Gardens is one of the great gardens of the world and is truly a unique venue for meetings and events,” said Patricia Evans, communications manager for the Longwood Gardens. “The atmosphere at Longwood is so relaxing. Strolling in the gardens is a great way to unplug, relax and rejuvenate. It is a respite from a busy world.”
Although Longwood is first and foremost a public garden open every day of the year, the event staff gladly opens the grounds to guests looking to hold memorable events and meetings.
The Longwood Gardens event team offers three venues for private events held during normal business hours. The Founder’s Room, which holds 50 to 100 people, is a corner room on the main level of the Terrace with two
walls of windows that look out over the patio and lawn. The Terracotta Room is a more intimate venue on the lower level of the Terrace, that can hold up to 100 guests. The Terrace Tent is an outdoor space appropriate for groups of 120 to 200 on the lawn outside the Terrace and is typically available from April through October. After business hours, large nonprofit and corporate galas may be booked in the Conservatory.