Major Milestones Achieved in Longwood Gardens’ Reimagining Project

West ConservatorySubmitted Image

KENNETT SQUARE, PA — Chester County’s Longwood Gardens, America’s premier horticultural display center, has made significant progress on its ambitious Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience project, set to open in Fall 2024.

“We are reimagining and rethinking what the garden under glass experience will be for the 21st century,” said Paul B. Redman, President and CEO of Longwood Gardens. “These new glass palaces continue Longwood’s legacy of being one of the world’s innovators in conservatory design and leading patrons of garden and landscape design. Marrying the art forms of architecture and horticulture is fundamentally part of Longwood’s DNA, since our founder Pierre S. du Pont built our first conservatory. This marriage will continue in the new West Conservatory and in the other spaces being created throughout the 17 acres of our core visitor experience. We look forward to welcoming visitors next year for stunning contemporary experiences that continue to awe and inspire.”

A key feature of this transformative project is a 32,000-square-foot glasshouse, now fully glazed with 1,958 panels and featuring gardens, pools, and fountains. Interior walkway construction is underway, and installation of signature water features has commenced. The bespoke 3,800-square-foot glass conservatory, designed to house renowned Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s design, is also progressing with 484 glass panels currently being installed.

Longwood Reimagined will redefine 17 acres of visitor experience, providing a seamless journey from formal gardens to expansive views of Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley. The Promenade, an extended path along the Main Conservatory, is nearing completion. Ahead of the full project launch, the Conservatory Overlook featuring 28 American Yellowwoods and ample seating space will open in the summer of 2024, offering an improved viewing area for Longwood’s popular Fireworks and Fountain Shows.

The $250 million project includes the construction of The Grove, a new education and administration building. The external work of this 46,000-square-foot facility is complete, and interior work on the state-of-the-art library and classrooms has begun. The 1906 Restaurant and private event space, The Fountain Room, are also receiving finishing touches.

In collaboration with Wilmington DE’s Challenge Program, custom furnishings for the new spaces are being created from fallen trees across Longwood’s acreage. These handmade pieces will feature prominently in the 1906 restaurant and The Grove.

Emphasizing sustainability, the project incorporates 130 geothermal wells connected to a heat exchanger for heating and cooling. The new conservatory will primarily use passive conditioning, with fresh air drawn through earth ducts for natural ventilation.

Horticulturally, the project is preparing custom soil mixes for all areas. The majority of the 9,000 cubic yards of soil saved from the restaurant excavation is being blended with compost on site for the Meadow landscape. Inside the conservatory, a specialized mix of seven components known to support Mediterranean gardens is being used.

Landscaping milestones include the planting of 765 boxwood in front of the 1906 Restaurant and The Fountain Room. A trellis is being installed to support 27 espaliered Southern Magnolias set within a flowering herb garden. In the coming months, courtyard gardens featuring 300 trees, 670 shrubs, and 10,000 perennials will emerge around the new West Conservatory and The Grove.

Longwood Gardens’ revitalization is shaping up to be a transformative experience for visitors, blending horticultural beauty with sustainable practices and educational opportunities.

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