In 1700, a Quaker farmer named George Peirce purchased 402 acres of this English-claimed land from William Penn’s commissioners. George’s son Joshua cleared and farmed the land and in 1730 he built the brick farmhouse that, enlarged, still stands today. In 1798, Joshua’s twin grandsons Samuel and Joshua, who had inherited the farm, actively pursued an interest in natural history and began planting an arboretum that eventually covered 15 acres. The collection included specimens that they collected from the wild as well as plants acquired from some of the region’s leading botanists.
By 1850, the arboretum boasted one of the finest collections of trees in the nation and had become a place for the locals to gather outdoors – a new concept that was sweeping America at the time.
As the 19th century rolled into the 20th, the family’s heirs lost interest in the property and allowed the arboretum to deteriorate. The farm passed out of the family through several hands in quick succession, and a lumber mill operator was about to cut down the trees for timber in early 1906. This threat moved Pierre S. du Pont, American entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, and member of the prominent du Pont family to take action. On July 20th 1906, 36-year-old du Pont purchased the farm primarily to preserve the trees. He was not planning to create Longwood Gardens, but within a few years, his desire to make it a place where he could entertain his friends transformed a simple country farm into one of the country’s leading horticultural display gardens.
Pierre du Pont opened the garden to the public in 1921 and in 1937 created the Longwood Foundation, which came under the control of trustees in 1946. When he died in 1954, he "had in place a well-funded yet adaptable mechanism for Longwood to continue." The garden was free, relying solely on its sizable endowment, until 1973, when it began charging admission.
Throughout the garden, expect to see various forms of wildlife including deer, butterflies, birds, beavers, bees and more while strolling across bridges stretching over numerous water sources on the grounds.
Meadow Garden, in particular, features an elevated boardwalk and presents unique views of the landscape and the flora and fauna that inhabit the space.
Each season brings a different pleasure: spring features magnolias, tulips and azaleas; in summer, roses and water lilies; the fall brings foliage and chrysanthemums; while winter begets camellias, orchids and palms.
Surrounded by tree-covered seating and Longwood’s famous fountains, the Indoor Children’s Garden provides a safe and engaging space where children can learn about nature with amazing plants and fun activities around every corner.
The Garden features a Central Cove, a rain curtain and a Bamboo Maze, filled with a jungle of tree-sized bamboos for children to explore.
The Gardens truly shine during the end-of-year holidays during A Longwood Christmas — when seasonal plants adorn the grounds, fountain waters dance to Christmas tunes and the gardens glow bright with 500,000 twinkly lights spread throughout dozens of decorated trees.
According to en.wikipedia.org and visitphilly.com