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Longwood Gardens to expand, add plants and buildings across 17 acres

The botanical garden announced their plans to expand on Feb. 18, calling the project "a sweeping yet deeply sensitive transformation."
Credit: Longwood Gardens

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. — Longwood Gardens announced its plans to expand yesterday, saying that 17 acres of plants and buildings will be added.

According to the press release, the project is "sweeping, yet deeply sensitive" to those involved, and was called "the most ambitious revitalization in a century of America’s greatest center for horticultural display." The project is called "Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience."

The project will begin on March 1 and the plan is to expand the public spaces of the central grounds while also connecting them from east to west. The botanical garden is partnering with West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture and WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, who starting planning for the expansion in 2010. WEISS/MANFREDI will serve as lead designer, in collaboration with Reed Hilderbrand. The project will be managed by Bancroft Construction Company.

"In keeping with Longwood’s tradition of blending fountain gardens and horticultural display, the centerpiece and largest single element of 'Longwood Reimagined' is the creation of a new 32,000-square-foot glasshouse," the release said. Gardens and pools will also be featured throughout.

The new design is inspired by "the wild and cultivated landscapes of the Mediterranean," and will feature plants such as "aloes, laurels, blueblossom, and Greek horehound."

To make room for the new additions, Longwood's Cascade Garden will be relocated to a new, 3,800-square-foot glasshouse.

Other new elements that will be added are an outdoor Bonsai Courtyard, a new education and administration building, a new public restaurant and private event space, and the Waterlily Court will be renewed. A new South Terrace and South Walk will also be added.

The project will reportedly cost $250 million. Throughout the construction, which the garden is hoping will end in October, the infamous Conservatory will remain open, but the Orchid and Banana Houses will close, and will reopen for Longwood’s 2021 year-end holiday display.

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