Archive for meadow gardening

Longwood Gardens: The New Meadow Garden

Posted in garden to visit, green gardening, landscape design, native plants, sustainable living with tags , , , , , on September 5, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.Senna didymobotrya, candalabra-treeThe entrance garden outside the visitor’s center at Longwood is lush and tropical right now.

Michael and I are members of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, US, and visit on a regular basis.  We have been excitedly awaiting the opening of Longwood’s new meadow garden.  We visited the meadow this week and were very impressed.


Longwood September 2014 9-3-2014 11-05-48 AMA longer view of the entrance.


Longwood September 2014 9-3-2014 11-10-25 AMAnother pretty entrance to the rose arbor.

The scope of the project is immense.  The garden is 86 acres filled with native plants appropriate to a meadow habitat.  There are three miles of walking trails through the meadow and its environs.  What Longwood has created in this meadow through ecological management of the property for native plants and animals is breathtaking and magical.  I highly recommend a visit right now because the meadow is at its peak.  However, for those of you who aren’t local, a virtual tour follows.  Keep in mind that photos cannot truly convey the amazing diversity and breadth of this project.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 12-08-49 PMA patch of Joe Pye weed in a sea of goldenrod, sunflowers, and other native plants.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 12-07-27 PM.

Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 12-04-05 PMNative grasses in the meadow area in front of Longwood’s scenic barn complex.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-42-22 AMThe newly restored Webb farmhouse, built in the 16th century by one of the original landowners, houses a very informative exhibit on the history of the area and the evolution of the meadow through the seasons.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-33-26 AMThree miles of trails circle and crisscross the meadow.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-31-52 AMThe native sunflowers really stand out.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-51-56 AM.

Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-29-50 AM


Helianthus sp, Joe Pye


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-39-49 AMBands of color through the meadow are created by swathes of different plants.


Pycnanthemum viginicum, mountian-mintSome areas are still filling in so the meadow will look even better next year.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-44-54 AMLongwood’s bluebird box program is over 30 years old and fledges an average of 170 bluebirds a year.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 12-37-27 PMOver 1,100 native trees and shrubs have been added to the woodland edges bordering the meadow.


Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-32-54 AM.

Longwood Gardens Meadow 2014 9-3-2014 11-26-50 AM.

The pictures make the beauty look subtle, but it’s not.  The sensation of walking through the meadow with the sun shining, the bees buzzing, the butterflies nectaring, the birds collecting seeds, and the grasses swaying in the breeze cannot be captured in a photo.  If you can visit Longwood, try to do it now so you can share our magical experience.

I will leave you with the following quotation, for me the answer to the ending question is a resounding yes:

“What if, instead of depicting nature, we allowed nature in? What if, instead of building and maintaining artistic creations, we worked to develop and manage living systems? What could we learn . . . about how nature works? Could we create landscapes that were more efficient, more connected, more effective, and ultimately more valuable?”

Travis Beck, Director of Horticulture Mt. Cuba Center


P.S.  I am excited to report that the stat counter for Carolyn’s Shade Gardens blog has now recorded over 1,000,000 views.  Thank you to all my readers all over the world!

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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