GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2009 show14
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Show #14/1601
Longwood Gardens


The Newest Garden
THE NEWEST GARDEN IS THE CHILDREN'S GARDEN. It opened in October of 2007 and is a living legacy to Pierre and a continuation of the technology, beauty, the horticultural display and all other aspects of Longwoods Gardens he established.

Click here for more info

Central Cove
SHARON AND JOE START THE TOUR INTHE CENTRAL COVE which is a gathering spot in the garden. It's wonderful. Water is an important feature as are the plants and the hardscapes. They emphasize the use of real materials, no plastics, no fiberglass. They're trying to recreate some of the important garden features found in Europe, especially Italy and France. Then bring them down to child's scale.

Click here for more info

Plant Choices
A LOT OF TIME AND THOUGHT WENT INTO SELECTING THE PLANTS for this area. They gave great thought to the sensory experiences and that connection. Phormium is a tall spiky plant. They wanted plants that were fun, something that kids would easily recognize, something with different textures, plants that would enable the kids to see the difference. They are committed to safety so they did a lot of research on toxicity. Not only ingesting but dermatitis. They didn't want anybody touching the plants, getting a rash, or getting cut. And, the Phormium is a great choice.

Click here for more info

Secret Room
EVERY CHILDREN'S GARDEN HAS A SECRET ROOM AND THIS IS NO EXCEPTION. The whole room is encased in slate. Plants in here that are over their head include Philodendron and Elaeagnus. The Philodendron has aerial roots dripping down. The goal is within several years to have the whole room filled with the little fingers of Philodendron roots. Very creepy. This is a large leaf Philodendron and related to the plant most know. It's a houseplant. The drooling dragon is made of cast stone. It was so large they had to bring him in in pieces and the final carving was done on site by the artisans. His hair is Elaegnus. He is having a long hair day and a bad hair day. The kids love this.

Click here for more info

Square Maze
THEY NEXT VISIT THE SQUARE MAZE. Many ask, was this area designed for a certain age group. It wasn't. The garden was designed based on a child that's 3 and 1/2 feet tall to get the correct perspective. The Square Maze is different than the Secret Room. This is bright and airy, not scary. They've learned over the years that kids don't need a complex maze to feel like they're traveling, taking a journey, having fun. Thus this is a simple maze. They've used a lot of hardscape and a lot of the walls are planted ivy. They change out all the plants on the top of the maze seasonally to bring color to the garden. The ivy softens the walls.

Click here for more info

Pruning Ivy
KEEPING IVY TRIMMED IS A CONSTANT BATTLE. It is a tough plant and that's why they choose it. These walls face all directions, north, south, east and west. Once a week, sometimes more often, the gardeners come through and prune. They want to encourage lateral branching to cover the wall so they locate the growing tip, come in and cut that off. It's simple but what it does is take the energy of the plant and forces it into the lateral root. This keeps the Ivy close to the wall. This concept applies to a lot of plants, especially English Ivy that often grows up a tree or out into a yard. By keeping it clipped back, you contain it, train it and this can easily be done at home.

Click here for more info

Pruning Geraniums
SO TO KEEP PLANTS LIKE THE GERANIUMS FROM GROWING TOO TALL, THEY CUT THEM BACK to keep them compact and forcing the growth down. Sharon shows us how. Come in just above the growing point, there is a node where there is a leaf branching out, make the cut there and remove it. It doesn't hurt the plant, puts more energy into the rest of the foliage so it grows laterally more so than downward. Their gardener comes out during the day when the guests are here because the message and tip is powerful. It brings the kids over because they smell the fragrance and they then have some dialogue with the gardner.

Click here for more info

Grotto Cave and Tunnel
THE GROTTO CAVE AND TUNNEL ARE BASED ON EUROPEAN GARDENS, classic architecture. In the Grotto Cave there are snakes dripping down with their venom going into the pool, the kids love hiding here. They have a root and shoot railing that depicts prawns from a plant and then what might be underground with the roots of the plant.

Click here for more info

Pruning Vines
IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE SOME PLANTS NEED TO BE PRUNED AFTER THEY BLOOM. If you wait too long, sometime later in the summer, you could be pruning off next years buds. As soon as this plant goes totally over, go through it, cut off all the new wood, going back to the node. Remove all the new growth, let it grow again during the summer and let it put out some more growth, continue training it, so next spring, it will have a beautiful plush of blooms.

Pruning An Olive Tree - Video Tip


Click here for more info

Gothic Folly
IT HAS A BEAUTIFUL STAINED GLASS WINDOW THAT DEPICTS A PITCHER PLANT, thus is another learning opportunity. The actual Pitcher Plants are in bloom and as well included in the stained glass. They don't miss a thing at Longwood Gardens.

Click here for more info

Sharon's Take Away
SHARON SUMS IT ALL UP. They have talked a lot about experiential learning which is important but as discussed earlier the important thing is to hook the young generation on gardens. Because if we don't get them interested, who is going to steward these wonderful places. Gardening provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn through every educational discipline - whether writing, math, art, science or literature, even nutrition. You name it, it can be tied into gardening. One doesn't need an elaborate garden. Longwood is a wonderful place, it's gorgeous, there's a lot of interaction. But, let's face it when one watches a child playing in the woods or playing by a stream bed, sometimes just playing with a stick or stone, these are true learning experiences and these are things we can try at home. These are memories that will stick with the kids and they'll hopefully apply the lessons learned throughout life.

Click here for more info

 


LINKS:

Longwood Gardens

The Inn at Montchanin Village - Wilmington, Delaware

Longwood Gardens Plant List

Garden Smart Plant List



Complete transcript of the show.


Longwood Gardens in Kennett square, Pennsylvania is an amazing place. Their attention to detail is unmatched. Accordingly their newly completed Children's Garden is over the top.
Paul Redmond is their Director. Paul provides some Longwood Gardens history. It all began in the 1700's with a Quaker family by the name of Pierce. The Pierces were early plant explorers. At that time one was on the cutting edge if they were finding plants in places like Georgia, Florida or South Carolina. They would find trees from that part of the country then bring them back to Longwood. To this day one can find Cucumber or Magnolia trees, specimens of Ginkos, trees not normally found in this area.
By 1906 this property had become a public gathering place, known as an arboretum and had changed hands several times. The owners almost sold it for timber and lumber. But Pierre duPont stepped in and purchased the land to save the trees. To this day Pierce Woods and Pierce Park are a legacy to those early plant purchases.
Mr. duPont was a Renaissance man and had a huge interest in gardening. In gardening circles the duPont family is known as the patron saints of horticulture in North America. As a young man Pierre saw the conservatory everyday but he couldn't get inside to see the beautiful flowers. He made a promise to himself that someday he would have his own conservatory and gardens and that it would be open 365 days a year, for everyone to see. He certainly fulfilled that vision.
Mr. duPont had several interests. He loved gardens, water in the garden and he was an engineer. Some refer to Longwood Gardens as an "engineers" garden. There is a lot one doesn't see when here, even everyday, that's because there is a lot behind the scenes and Pierre had his hand in most of it. The fountains were designed by Mr. duPont. The technology in the main fountain garden is the technology he developed. He was also influenced by his trips to Italy, he loved Italian gardens and that is evident at Longwood.
THE NEWEST GARDEN IS THE CHILDREN'S GARDEN. It opened in October of 2007 and is a living legacy to Pierre and a continuation of the technology, beauty, the horticultural display and all other aspects of Longwoods Gardens he established.
Sharon Loving is the Horticulture Director at Longwood Gardens and our tour guide. Sharon has been here for 22 years and feels she grew up here. During that time she's had 5 different jobs. She started as a gardener in the Conservatory, did that for several years, moved up and has held this position for 3 years. There are 72 people in her department and Sharon feels fortunate because they're very passionate about horticulture. They're well trained, this is an open environment where everyone provides input, so it's a fun place to work.
The Children's Garden has been in the planning stage for 10 years. That seems a lot of time but they did a lot of research. They had focus groups that looked for the best and latest information on the subject. They consulted with people that work here, folks that had grown up in the old Children's Garden and as well their children. All provided direction. For about 2 years they sent the staff on trips to visit Children's Gardens all across the country and get input from other horticulturists. Horticulturists love to talk about they're doing and also what they weren't doing. After all that research they came to the realization that they're a display garden, (probably the best in the country) but not a botanic garden. The Children's Garden provided an opportunity to connect with the other gardens at Longwood and incorporate beauty into the design. All this is important to them, as far as their mission. Here the whole point is to engage the next generation of gardeners. If we don't get children passionate about gardens who's going to take care of our planet and steward these wonderful places. They were focused on engaging the child as they come into the garden with all the senses. It's not an academic experience, it's all about the sensory experience. Things like sound, touch, fragrance, textures and touch. They don't encourage tasting.
Top


SHARON AND JOE START THE TOUR IN THE CENTRAL COVE which is a gathering spot in the garden. It's wonderful. Water is an important feature as are the plants and the hardscapes. They emphasize the use of real materials, no plastics, no fiberglass. They're trying to recreate some of the important garden features found in Europe, especially Italy and France. Then bring them down to child's scale. The emphasis on real materials meant they utilized a lot of artisans. This is real stonework and a lot of features are cast in bronze and cast stone. They worked with artisans from all across the country because everyone had different areas of expertise. In total they utilized about 15 different artisans along with some of their own staff of craftsmen.
They look at the mosaic in the fountain. One normally doesn't see the detail seen here. Pierre duPont traveled to Italy several times during the course of early Longwood construction. He was inspired by Italian and French gardens. The hand-laid mosaics in the Central Cove basin are inspired by gardens in Italy. And, the motif is a water lily which presents an opportunity to bring staff in and teach the kids. They have K-12 programs, thus different levels of educational opportunities are available.
Top


They next look at the plants. A LOT OF TIME AND THOUGHT WENT INTO SELECTING THE PLANTS for this area. They gave great thought to the sensory experiences and that connection. Phormium is a tall spiky plant. They wanted plants that were fun, something that kids would easily recognize, something with different textures, plants that would enable the kids to see the difference. They are committed to safety so they did a lot of research on toxicity. Not only ingesting but dermatitis. They didn't want anybody touching the plants, getting a rash, or getting cut. And, the Phormium is a great choice.
They choose plants that are easily accessible, so they can be replenished. This is an experiential garden, they want the kids to touch. But that may damage the plants and they will need to be replaced. That's OK. Phormium 'Yellow wave' is from California. It has a fun texture. They also have Olea europaea (Olive). There are several in this space. They're great plant selections.
Top


EVERY CHILDREN'S GARDEN HAS A SECRET ROOM AND THIS IS NO EXCEPTION. The whole room is encased in slate. Plants in here that are over their head include Philodendron and Elaeagnus. The Philodendron has aerial roots dripping down. The goal is within several years to have the whole room filled with the little fingers of Philodendron roots. Very creepy. This is a large leaf Philodendron and related to the plant most know. It's a houseplant. The drooling dragon is made of cast stone. It was so large they had to bring him in in pieces and the final carving was done on site by the artisans. His hair is Elaegnus. He is having a long hair day and a bad hair day. The kids love this. When doing their focus groups the staff was concerned that he was too scary but the kids said he wasn't scary enough, they wanted him to drool, and today he does. They've put bright light in his mouth and it changes color. They fill his mouth with different plants and objects depending on the season, a lot of gourds, pumpkins in the fall, etc. He is guarding the room and his tail wraps around and up the wall. This place is all about dragons. Another dragon leads one around the corner. His tail wraps around. He is cast in bronze and handcrafted from an artist in California.
Top


THEY NEXT VISIT THE SQUARE MAZE. Many ask, was this area designed for a certain age group. It wasn't. The garden was designed based on a child that's 3 and 1/2 feet tall to get the correct perspective. The Square Maze is different than the Secret Room. This is bright and airy, not scary. They've learned over the years that kids don't need a complex maze to feel like they're traveling, taking a journey, having fun. Thus this is a simple maze. They've used a lot of hardscape and a lot of the walls are planted ivy. They change out all the plants on the top of the maze seasonally to bring color to the garden. The ivy softens the walls. The mosaics are a series of tiles that interpret the growth of the plant, there is no test, it's all visual. These are hand painted, custom to Longwood and every season they change them. This season they're showing the growth of a Pinus tree. It starts as a pinecone and grows into a tree. In the spring they will have bulbs and in the summer Sunflowers and birds. It's wonderful and the kids stop and look at the details. Stealth learning.
Sharon and Joe next visit a fountain. This is turned off so they won't get wet. It is referred to as a triumphal arch. A floral nozzle is surrounded by a beautiful mosaic, this nozzle shoots water vertically up through bricks, through concrete and rings a bronze bell at the top. The water then disappears and doesn't appear to come back down. Actually there is a hidden vacuum in the hardscape and it takes the water away and then back to the bottom. It fascinates kids, a great experience.
Top


Sharon shows Joe the green portion of the square maze. As mentioned, it has Ivy growing on the wall. It has a moss backing and behind that soil. In this space it's important to keep the line of the Ivy flat against the wall. It must be that way to create the maze. But keeping it that way takes time. KEEPING IVY TRIMMED IS A CONSTANT BATTLE. It is a tough plant and that's why they choose it. These walls face all directions, north, south, east and west. Once a week, sometimes more often, the gardeners come through and prune. They want to encourage lateral branching to cover the wall so they locate the growing tip, come in and cut that off. It's simple but what it does is take the energy of the plant and forces it into the lateral root. This keeps the Ivy close to the wall. This concept applies to a lot of plants, especially English Ivy that often grows up a tree or out into a yard. By keeping it clipped back, you contain it, train it and this can easily be done at home.
At one end of the maze is a beautiful mural. It was painted by one of the artists on staff and depicts a natural setting. They wanted, in this area, to make a connection between the outdoors and the indoors. They're in a Conservatory, but there is a beautiful garden outdoors that they want to share with everybody. This mural not only extends the perspective while in this space, makes it look larger, actually blocks the end of the garden from the rest of the Conservatory but importantly draws people outside.
Top


The handrail in this area is covered with a series of herbs that they actually want their guests to touch, feel and crunch. They consider them sacrificial. Joe tries one. It smells like Lemon Pledge. Scented Geraniums, definitely the lemon cultivar. They want the plants to spill over so the smaller kids have a chance to touch the plants. SO TO KEEP PLANTS LIKE THE GERANIUMS FROM GROWING TOO TALL, THEY CUT THEM BACK to keep them compact and forcing the growth down. Sharon shows us how. Come in just above the growing point, there is a node where there is a leaf branching out, make the cut there and remove it. It doesn't hurt the plant, puts more energy into the rest of the foliage so it grows laterally more so than downward. Their gardener comes out during the day when the guests are here because the message and tip is powerful. It brings the kids over because they smell the fragrance and they then have some dialogue with the gardner.
Top


THE GROTTO CAVE AND TUNNEL ARE BASED ON EUROPEAN GARDENS, classic architecture. In the Grotto Cave there are snakes dripping down with their venom going into the pool, the kids love hiding here. They have a root and shoot railing that depicts prawns from a plant and then what might be underground with the roots of the plant. The Grotto tunnel has classic shell mosaics, similar to what would be seen in Italy. They made sure it was safe, no sharp edges.
The next area has a much more open feel. They have used different Bamboo to enclose the space and the plants arch over the walks. Controlling Bamboo is important. Here they've enclosed the bamboo in a bunker, a concrete wall that keeps the Bamboo within the perimeters of the bed. They chose the Bamboo for its texture. As discussed earlier, this is meant to be a sensual experience. Bamboo rustles in the wind but it also has a variety of textures. One is a fine textured Bamboo, others scattered throughout the garden, have more bold textures. To contrast that they have Testrastima vine in the gothic folly that has a big palmate leaf. That really contrasts with the Bamboo. To bridge the gap they have Jasmine Vine. It all provides a nice balance. It also provides a great fragrance.
Top


IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE SOME PLANTS NEED TO BE PRUNED AFTER THEY BLOOM. If you wait too long, sometime later in the summer, you could be pruning off next years buds. As soon as this plant goes totally over, go through it, cut off all the new wood, going back to the node. Remove all the new growth, let it grow again during the summer and let it put out some more growth, continue training it, so next spring, it will have a beautiful plush of blooms.
Pruning An Olive Tree - Video Tip

Top


Joe had wanted to sit down but the small chairs weren't what he'd been thinking about. This is the Gothic Folly. IT HAS A BEAUTIFUL STAINED GLASS WINDOW THAT DEPICTS A PITCHER PLANT, thus is another learning opportunity. The actual Pitcher Plants are in bloom and as well included in the stained glass. They don't miss a thing at Longwood Gardens.
Top


Joe thanks Sharon. This has been an adventure. It has been informative and fun. Sharon and Longwood Gardens are great.SHARON SUMS IT ALL UP. They have talked a lot about experiential learning which is important but as discussed earlier the important thing is to hook the young generation on gardens. Because if we don't get them interested, who is going to steward these wonderful places. Gardening provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn through every educational discipline - whether writing, math, art, science or literature, even nutrition. You name it, it can be tied into gardening. One doesn't need an elaborate garden. Longwood is a wonderful place, it's gorgeous, there's a lot of interaction. But, let's face it when one watches a child playing in the woods or playing by a stream bed, sometimes just playing with a stick or stone, these are true learning experiences and these are things we can try at home. These are memories that will stick with the kids and they'll hopefully apply the lessons learned throughout life.
Joe thanks Sharon. This has been an adventure. It has been informative and fun. Sharon and Longwood Gardens are great.
Top



LINKS:

Longwood Gardens

The Inn at Montchanin Village - Wilmington, Delaware

Longwood Gardens Plant List

Garden Smart Plant List


   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Kate Karam, Monrovia

There's really no better time to visit the great public gardens than spring into summer, but why not get off the horticultural highway and see a few lesser known gardens, too! Dotting the country are some truly remarkable places that you may not have heard of but that you need to see. Read more...


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