Tag Archives: Ferns

Kennett Square: Longwood Gardens

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Longwood orchid_house_vertLongwood Gardens

Recently included in TripAdvisor’s top 10 U.S. public gardens, Longwood Gardens is considered by many as one of the great botanical gardens of the world. In the early 1900s, industrialist and conservationist Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) decided to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber and bought the small farm near Kennett Square where he proceeded to create the heart of today’s Gardens. In 1946, the Gardens were turned over to a foundation set up by Mr. du Pont.

Today, Longwood Gardens encompasses 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains and an extraordinary 4.5 acre conservatory. Longwood has 20 outdoor gardens, among the highlights:

Caryopteris Allee, or border of bluebeard, plus a rose garden, lilacs, peonies, wisteria, and much more.

Chimes Tower and waterfall features a waterfall and the 61-foot-tall Chimes Tower and the  62-bell Longwood Carillon.

The Topiary Garden has more than 50 specimens in 20 different shapes – from cubes and spirals and birds to a table and chair. The topiaries are sheared every July and August. There’s also an analemmatic sundial constructed by Mr. du Pont in 1939 which is accurate to within two minutes.

Bee-aMazed Children’s Garden takes its inspiration by honeybees, featuring three major areas: the Honeycomb Maze, Flower Fountain, and Buzz Trail.

Peirce’s Park, where some of the trees estimated to be more than 200 years old, has one of the finest collections of trees in the nation. Noteworthy plants: Canada hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), London plane-tree (Platanus xacerifolia), littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata)

Longwood Conservatory.  Pierre du Pont built his first conservatory so he could have oranges in the winter. While it didn’t work out for him, today there are oranges in the conservatory, along with a twenty different types of bananas, from the 30-foot plantain to dwarf varieties that can be grown in a container. The original Conservatory was built in 1919, but has been expanded to 4.5 acres which shelters 5,500 types of plants and 20 indoor gardens.  FYI, according to Longwood: “A leisurely stroll through the display areas takes about 1½ hours and covers about ½ mile.”

The conservatory includes roses, bonsai,  ferns (Noteworthy plants: Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), rabbit’s-foot fern (Davallia fejeensis), staghorn fern (Platycerium), wooly tree fern (Dicksonia fibrosa), bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus), maidenhair fern (Adiantum)). There’s also a display of plants found in Mediterranean-type climates.

Orchid House. The collection includes more than 3,200 different types of orchids with an estimated 200 to 500 plants at peak bloom at any one time. Noteworthy plants: cattleyas (Cattleya), lady-slippers (Paphiopedilum), pansy orchids (Miltonia), dendrobiums (Dendrobium), moth orchids (Phalaenopsis).

Longwood’s performance series. Longwood also has a tradition of showcasing top performing artists since du Pont first welcomed his good friend John Philip Sousa to the Conservatory Gardens in 1922.  More than 400 events are scheduled each year, from organ and carillon concerts to Open Air Theatre productions.

Longwood Gardens is located on Route 1 near Kennett Square, PA and is open daily. [ info ]

Chicago: Garfield Park Conservatory

Orchids_Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago, Illinois

Garfield Park Conservatory

Sometimes called “landscape art under glass” (or a visit a tropical island in the middle of Chicago), the Garfield Park Conservatory is also one of the five largest conservatories in the country and a Chicago gem that isn’t to be missed.

The Conservatory is almost five acres and the campus itself covers about 14 acres, with two acres of indoor display houses and 9 ½ acres of outdoor public gardens. Owned and operated by the Chicago Park District, thousands of plants are also grown there each year for displays in Chicago’s parks and public spaces.

What’s special?  Fern Room, Garfield Park ConservatoryThe Garfield Park Conservatory’s display houses include The Palm Room, with more than seven dozen varieties of palm trees, including the Double Coconut Palm; the Fern Room, gives a glimpse of what Chicago may have looked like millions of years ago.

Children's Garden, Garfield ConservatoryAnd, there’s plenty to keep children entertained as well in the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden.

A hail storm in 2011 resulted in a great deal of broken glass, which local artists have used to create works of art that are for sale in the Gift Shop.

Opened in April of 1908, the 100+-year-old Conservatory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Admission is free

Open year round

Daily Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Wednesdays: 9 am – 8 pm

300 North Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624-1996

(312) 746-5100

[ info ]

Decatur: Georgia Perimeter College Botanical Garden

Dixie Wood Lane

Decatur, Georgia

Georgia Perimeter College Botanical Garden

The four-acre Georgia Perimeter College Botanical Gardens is an extraordinary gem located behind a parking lot on the campus of Georgia Perimeter College.

Situated in a flood plain near a tributary of the South River creek, there are ¾ miles of easy walking trails and more than 20 beds of native Georgia perennials with more than 4,000 species of native and endangered plants indigenous to the Southeast. This site is especially lovely in spring, with shrubs such as native azaleas — Florida azaleas, Piedmont azaleas — Florida anise, magnolias, viburnums, and the ephemerals — trilliums, bloodroot, Virginia bluebells and more.

There’s also the Sun Garden and the Xeric fern bed that showcases sun ferns native to Georgia and the southwestern U.S. Here, instead of digging out the soil, raised beds were planted on the existing soil with agave, prickly pear cactus and ferns that thrive in the sun.

What’s Special: Ferns

IMG_20110612_151106Make your way back to the Ferns of the World Garden and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back to Jurassic Park. Here there are more species of ferns than any other garden in the U.S.  This extensive fern collection includes ferns from not only the U.S., but other temperate areas around the world. The shade fern beds contain the largest number of ferns, but there’s also an xeric fern beds for those sun-loving ferns. Fern Mountain will inspire rock gardeners who love ferns!


Open daily, free of charge

3251 Panthersville Road

Decatur, GA 30034

(678) 891-2668 [ info ]

Ball Ground: Gibbs Gardens

Japanese Gardens near Atlanta _ Tsukiyama Gardens _ Gibbs GardensGibbs21742949_1176881825745284_3546084857162991717_n

Ball Ground, Georgia

Gibbs Gardens

Although classified as a botanical garden, Jim Gibbs tells visitors “it’s a pleasure garden, a feast for your senses.” Nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains are more than 220 acres of gardens developed by the Gibbs family. Jim Gibbs is the retired president and founder of one of Atlanta’s leading landscape companies. 16 garden venues, with the nation’s largest Japanese Gardens and Water Lily Gardens, as well as springs surrounded by millions of naturalized ferns and native azaleas, dogwoods, and mountain laurels. There’s always something in bloom – daffodil display, rhododendrons, the Hydrangea Garden, crape myrtle trees, roses, a wildflower meadow and much more. The Japanese Garden is truly spectacular!Open March 1 – November 30, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving day. [ info ]

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

BirminghamCrape Myrtle
Birmingham,   Alabama

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Alabama’s oldest municipally owned garden, the 67.5 acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens is comprised of Gardens of Collections, Gardens of Nature and Gardens of Culture.
Gardens of Collections focus on a plant genus. Some of the gardens are the Abroms Rhododendron Garden, the Crape Myrtle Garden, Fern Glade, Hess Camellia Garden, Hosta Walk, Ireland Iris Garden, Jemison Lily Garden and the Dunn Formal Rose Garden.
As one of the Gardens of Nature, the 7.5-acre Japanese Garden features traditional components such as a tea garden, the meditative Karesansui garden, the hill and stream garden, and a stroll garden.
Other features include the largest clearspan greenhouse in Southeast, C. Beaty Hanna Horticulture & Environmental Center with plant diagnostic lab, restaurant, gift shop, tours.

Admission is free. Gardens open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk.[ info ]

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