Re-imaginings planned for Longwood

Changes are instore for Longwood Gardens. It’s called Longwood Reimagined: A new garden experience. The project has been announced on the botanical garden’s website.

In a video, Longwood Director Paul Redman said Longwood is doing for landscape architecture and landscape design what art museums do for art — collect.

“That’s exactly what Pierre DuPont was doing from the moment he began and visioning Longwood,” Redman said.

The reimagining calls for an expansion of the conservatory and the grounds surrounding it. It will blend the historic and the visionary across 17 acres. The gardens will remain open during the work.

Longwood's Cascade Garden will get a new home of its own when the project is completed. (Courtesy photo)

“It’s a massive project and the most complicated project that we have ever embarked upon,” Redman said in the video. We’re continuing our exploration of defining what a great garden means and is in the 21st century. It will be a new garden experience like none other.”

The centerpiece of the project is a new 32,000 square foot West Conservatory that will have a “close relationship with water and seamlessly integrate the old and the new” with Mediterranean-inspired islands installed with cypress and olive trees.

The cascade garden will be relocated and reconstructed in a structure of its own. There will also be a new Bonsai Courtyard that will frame a renewed Waterlily Court. Also planned are new landscapes, restaurants, and event spaces, as well as a refurbished and expanded administration building.

But what excites Redman the most, he said, is a new Crystal Palace, part of the new 32,000 square foot West Conservatory. Architect Michael Manfredi said that’s the size of a football field that will appear to float on a pool of water.

Manfredi’s partner, Marion Weiss, said, “Our hope is that visitors can leave their world behind for a moment and that it was transporting them to a place they had never imagined. And that’s what a garden can do.”

Longwood will remain open during construction. The project is anticipated to be complete in 2024.

To see the full video and learn more, go to Longwood's website.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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