|The du Pont summer house, through the trees|
Longwood lies in the valley of the Brandywine river, which flows into the Christina river near Wilmington, Delaware. It was created by Pierre S. du Pont (1870 - 1954) as his summer home, just ten miles from his main residence in Wilmington.
|A Longwood fountain|
After watching the fountain display we headed up to the Conservatory, a huge greenhouse full of literally thousands of different plants and trees.
|A pond inside the Conservatory|
Du Pont was president of the DuPont chemical company. He later served as president of General Motors, while still sitting on the board of directors of DuPont.
|Christmas tree made entirely of orchids|
He had an abiding interest in horticulture and like many captains of industry at the time he donated a significant portion of his fortune to charitable causes of one sort or another.
He bought an old farm in 1906 -- to save the trees, he said -- and began to indulge his interest in horticulture, creating gardens, fountains, paths and pools.
|Floating apples and cranberries|
He entertained his friends there in the summer, and eventually transformed the farm into one of the country's leading horticultural display gardens.
|Not sure ... a mistletoe?|
Today the botanical gardens range over 1000 acres. The facility boasts the main house, the conservatory -- and woods and fields and fountains and gardens.
|Red Hot Poker|
We were told that the staff starts decorating for Christmas in September, and altogether they put up a half million lights throughout the property. Longwood plays host to over a million visitors a year.
|Christmas tree made of succulents|
By the time we went through the Conservatory and started down the lighted paths it had started to rain. But the rain did not dampen our enthusiasm.
|Blue tree on the garden path|
Clearly, no one else was held back by the rain either. We heard German and French being spoken as we walked the grounds. People in wheelchairs. Families with kids. Elderly couples. Groups of teenagers.
|Another lighted tree|
All to walk the grounds, gaze at the flowers, enjoy the incredible light display. All to enjoy the Christmas season.
|And a merry Christmas to all!|