Bonsai Chrysanthemums. Photo credit by Isabella Dahms.
Just a 20-minute drive from West Chester University’s campus, Longwood Gardens is quite the site to see. With exhibits year-round, there is always something new to discover in the vast gardens. On Oct. 16, Longwood Gardens commenced their Chrysanthemum Festival, in addition to a fall pumpkin display at the front of the gardens. With thousands of the Asian derived plants being showcased, this exhibit is craftily thought out and beautifully executed. I am so glad I had the chance to visit before the festival comes to a close on Nov. 14.
The growers behind the display started training the Chrysanthemums almost a year ago, so that they are ready to go come October. There are many specifics in keeping the display picture perfect, a lot of which has to do with the weather, but these professionals produced a beautiful display of color with these Chrysanthemums.
What once was land overlooked by the Lenni Lenape tribe and farmers, the area was purchased by Pierre S. du Pont, who ignited his love of gardening by opening up Longwood Gardens, where the Chrysanthemums were first seen as they are now. His house still stands on the property and guests are welcome to go inside. Currently, charming little bonsai chrysanthemums are on display for guests to view.
While walking through the Longwood gardens, you will see pathways of flowers, grand fountains and even a couple treehouses as well. The fountains were truly amazing, and it felt like walking through Greece or Italy. By far the most impressive attraction however is the conservatory. Upon entering, one is met with thousands of flowers, greenery and architecture. It is so beautiful that couples are seen taking engagement or wedding photos in several locations. I even noticed that an event which I assumed was a wedding was being set up within the conservatory, which made for a gorgeous venue.
My personal favorite part was the conservatory, because it was just endless flowers to view and a new unique display at every glance. In addition, I thought the Chrysanthemum Bonsais were unique; I’ve never seen anything like them before, and it added a fun cultural aspect amidst the history of the du Pont house. In addition, I shared this moment with my grandma. We stopped at Starbucks before driving to the gardens for a great day, and ended with dinner together, so I will cherish this memory.
The festival is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you can purchase tickets either at the door, or pre-order online. If you are 18 or under, tickets are just $13, and college students receive a discount as well with tickets being just $22 to enjoy this wonderful display. Also being featured currently is the Garden Railway and Open-Air Theater Fountains. Additionally, starting Nov. 19 is the Longwood Christmas, with a fire and ice theme for the 2021 season. I could continue to talk all about it, but it really is something that nature lovers should see in person.
Isabella Dahms is a first year secondary English education major. ID973501@wcupa.edu