I’ve found my new happy place: Longwood Gardens outside of Wilmington, Delaware. We showed up for the afternoon dancing fountains performance last Saturday. I hadn’t really done my research and balked at the touristy vibe and $23 per person cost of admission – seemed pretty steep for a 12-minute show.
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But after the fountains did their thing (pretty amazing engineering set to Fantasia-style music… a little corny but fun), we got to check out the rest of the gardens, starting with a mansion masquerading as a greenhouse.
Room after room was FILLED with every amazing plant you can think of, or have never heard of. There was one room filled with banana trees, one with a thousand tiny orchids, a desert wing, and a hallway filled with lush ferns. Even the bathrooms are amazing – private rooms lining a corridor with a floor-to-ceiling living wall.
The greenhouse (conservatory) was worth the cost of admission alone – but that was just the beginning. After that, we checked out the fountains up close, then wound through more and more interconnected gardens – flowers, vegetable gardens with 15-foot-tall sunflowers, a student exhibition garden, orchards, then a forest and a huge bee-filled meadow extending to the horizon. Every aspect of the landscape was designed in meticulous detail – highlighted by the wildness of nature filling in the spaces in between and overflowing the borders. I could see spending days here. Next time, I’ll bring my real camera – here’s what I took with my phone, in between moments spent ogling weird plants and marveling at scenic vistas.