Text by Bethany Adams
When the air takes on a chill and the last blooms of autumn fade away, winter’s beauty arrives with a flurry of snowflakes, settling into Philadelphia’s Longwood Gardens to stay. Exploring hundreds of acres throughout the winter months, you’ll find a carefully preserved legacy that reaches back to the early 1900s, when Pierre S. du Pont purchased what was then known as Peirce Farm.
Inspired by international travels, Pierre began his transformation of the land with the 600-foot-long Flower Garden Walk that remains a favorite of visitors today—but over a century later, a visit to Longwood has far more to offer. Winding paths lead guests through a variety of areas like the 7-acre Peirce’s Woods or the Topiary Garden featuring 35 geometric forms dusted with fresh snow.
Guests looking to warm up can spend some time enjoying the Camellia House, where a flower breeding program founded in the 1960s resulted in a multihued display that lasts from October to March, or enjoy the historic Orangery that once housed citrus fruit trees. Today, it’s the site of brilliant hues and fragrances year-round, while the Silver Garden offers a more subdued—yet still stunning—experience. In this indoor garden, succulents and cacti offer a respite from the chill outside, celebrating the world’s more arid climates.
Longwood offers no shortage of rich history, as a visit to the Peirce-du Pont House will show. The oldest structure on the grounds, the house is home to the garden’s first Conservatory, where guests can still see the Monstera deliciosa that dates back to the days when Pierre was still shaping the grounds and building a legacy that would be enjoyed for countless seasons to come.