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Chester County Press

Enjoy a ‘chorus of colors’ this autumn at Longwood Gardens

10/22/2014 08:01PM ● By Lev

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

At Longwood Gardens, every season is spectacular in its own way, and the beauty of autumn is on display through Nov. 23.

“Autumn is so special at Longwood Gardens because the trees are coloring up and the new Meadow Garden is a harmony of colors and textures,” explained Jim Sutton, the display designer for Longwood Gardens. “It’s as if everything outdoors rallies for one last chorus of color before frost.”


The 86-acre Meadow Garden already started changing its hues in September, which is its most colorful season with late-blooming goldenrod, native asters, and warm-season meadow grasses. The Meadow Garden is newly expanded.

The Garden Railway also opened in September and features a display of G-scale model trains. This is the 14th year that the railway has delighted guests and is now in a new location near the Birdhouse Treehouse. The model trains traverse bridges, tunnels, and water features.

As the palette of autumn begins to emerge outdoors, the Pumpkin Playground opened for young guests who can roll, move, pick up, and play with a variety of pumpkins in the interactive area. Guests can also have their picture taken with the largest pumpkin in the display, weighing more than 800 pounds.

In late October, the popular Chrysanthemum Festival returns as the four-acre Longwood Conservatory is transformed into a visual feast of colorful chrysanthemum blooms.

 “Fall is also when horticulture shines with our most challenging crop, the Chrysanthemum Festival,” Sutton said. “Preserving this ancient art form in the way we grow our chrysanthemums is an amazing sight.”

The Chrysanthemum Festival features 80,000 blooms and a one-of-a-kind Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum. It is the centerpiece of the display, which consists of a single chrysanthemum plant grown to produce more than 1,000 perfect blooms. This festival is a showcase of the traditional Asian art of cultivating chrysanthemums into artistic shapes, including spirals, cascades, balls, and even a ten-foot tall yellow chandelier.

On Nov. 7 and 8, Longwood Gardens is presenting the second annual Night of 1,000 Lights, which is an after-hours event that finds the conservatory aglow with 1,000 Asian-inspired lanterns throughout the indoor gardens. Guests are also invited to make their own lantern for the festival parade, enjoy Asian-inspired performances, and watch the illuminated fountains in the Open Air Theatre.


The gardens are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For tickets and more information about upcoming shows and attractions, visit

To contact Steven Hoffman, email [email protected]