LONGWOOD CHIMES 296
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “If you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.” We couldn’t agree more. We aspire to see, feel, and create beauty every day at Longwood Gardens. It is innate to us, it permeates all that we do. In this issue of Longwood Chimes, we unravel the concept of beauty Gardens wide. From horticulture programs and research initiatives to global concern and local generosity, beauty in all of its forms has been the lens through which we realize our distinctiveness, our gifts, and our impact.
Conserving the Wild Orchid Habitat loss, invasive species pressure, and climate change are among the challenges informing the work of our native orchid conservation program. By Dr. Peter Zale
That Mysterious Place Unveiling the enigma of the legendary Chimes Tower, and the making of its beautiful bells. By Colvin Randall
Going Global A unique, custom-tailored experience offers horticulture students professional growth through international exchange. By Dr. Brian Trader
Beyond Beauty A photographic celebration of form and function, structure and beauty found throughout our Gardens, as seen through a reductive lens. By Carlos Alejandro
Beauty and the Beholder Musing on the beauty that surrounds us, a Longwood Fellow reflects on its defining qualities and inherent intangibility. By Neil Gerlowski
Devotedly Alice This thoughtful assessment of Alice du Pont traces her indelible influence on our Gardens through her role as companion, confidant, and First Lady of Longwood. By Lynn Schuessler
Visionary Heiress The passion of legendary heiress and philanthropist Dorrance ‘Dodo’ Hamilton lives on in our collection. By Jim Harbage
Tools of the trade for the orchid conservationist (left to right): test tubes for growing orchid seedlings; brass accession labels for identification of greenhousebound seedlings; two seminal references for identifying, growing, and understanding terrestrial orchids include Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region by Fred Case, Jr., and Terrestrial Orchids: From Seed to Mycotrophic Plant by Hanne N. Rasmussen; shown in background is a dissecting microscope. Photo by Daniel Traub.
Conserving the Wild Orchid
Habitat loss, invasive species pressure, and climate change are among the challenges facing the efforts of our native orchid conservation program. By Dr. Peter Zale
In 1906, Longwood Gardens’ founder Pierre S. du Pont purchased the property where the Gardens now exist to save historic trees originally planted by the Peirce family—these trees still exist today, a testament to the legacy of the founder and conservation of the natural world. To build upon and expand this legacy, the Research Department at Longwood Gardens has established a plant conservation program focused on horticultural research of native orchids. The orchid family is the largest family of plants in the world with an estimated 30,000 species worldwide; over 200 are native to North America and 55 occur in Pennsylvania. Nearly half of these are considered rare, threatened, or endangered due to habitat loss, invasive species pressure, and climate change. Also, orchids are unique among other plants, present many horticultural challenges and opportunities, and serve as symbols of plant conservation worldwide. The tiny, dust-like seeds of orchids have specific relationships with soil fungi that are necessary for seed germination and nutrition of developing seedlings and in some cases, survival
of the adult plants. This complex relationship renders many native orchids as difficult to propagate and grow as garden plants. Using the tissue culture laboratory at Longwood Gardens, researchers seeking to overcome these difficulties are developing techniques to propagate native orchids from seeds to better ensure long-term growth and maintenance. To accomplish this, many factors must be considered, including: timing of and treatment of seed; selection of the appropriate medium to induce germination and growth in laboratory conditions; and acclimatization of plants from laboratory to greenhouse to gardens. Working with partners throughout the state of Pennsylvania and mid-Atlantic region, we have chosen several species as the foundation of the program. The large yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens) is one of the most widely distributed and well-known orchid species in North America. It can be found from the eastern US to northern Alaska and right here in Chester County, where it has become extremely rare. We have located two remaining populations of this species
in Chester County. Using novel seed propagation techniques, we have been successful in collecting seeds, germinating them, and growing seedlings. Even under ideal conditions, obtaining floweringsized plants from seed requires patience, often needing four to five years for the first flowering. Seedlings will ultimately be used for garden and conservatory display, development of ex situ populations at our research nursery, and restoration of one of the source populations, one of which only contains a handful of plants. This work has now expanded to include a genetically unique population of the extremely rare Cypripedium kentuckiense, the Kentucky lady’s slipper, from Lancaster County, VA. Several other similar projects are underway with a number of species, including Pennsylvania state endangered Case’s ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes casei), dragon’s mouth (Arethusa bulbosa), and checkered rattlesnake-plantain (Goodyera tesselata). Ultimately, these plants will become part of the indoor and outdoor displays at the Gardens, and research will be published as we discover new and important information about them.
The orchid family is the largest family of plants in the world with an estimated 30,000 species worldwide; over 200 are native to North America and 55 occur in Pennsylvania.
Right: Peter Zale, Ph.D., Associate Director, Conservation, Plant Breeding, and Collections, in his office in the Horticulture Production Greenhouse. Photo by Daniel Traub. Opposite: Orchid protocorms (seedlings) of Spiranthes casei in various stages of development. Photo taken through the lens of a dissecting microscope under 32× magnification. Photo by Peter Zale.
A variety of orchid seedlings in test tubes, including examples of native genera such as Cypripedium, Goodyera, Platanthera, and Tipularia. The orchid seedlings remain in these test tubes for 12 to 18 months before they are removed and transplanted to the greenhouse or nursery. Photo by Daniel Traub.
Using novel seed propagation techniques, we have been successful in collecting seeds, germinating them, and growing seedlings. Even under ideal conditions, obtaining ﬂoweringsized plants from seed requires patience, often needing four to ﬁve years for the ﬁrst ﬂowering. Opposite: Peter Zale inspects seedlings of large yellow lady’s slipper grown from seeds collected in Chester County, PA. Photo by Daniel Traub. Right: Example of immature Cypripedium kentuckiense seed capsule in propagation.
Arethusa bulbosa specimen from Sand Springs Seeps, Adams County, PA. Photo by Peter Zale.
Spiranthes casei, Elk State Forest, Elk-McKean County, PA. Photo by Peter Zale. Detail view of Arethusa bulbosa. Photo by Duane Erdmann.
Sand Springs Seeps, Adams County, PA, the habitat of Arethusa bulbosa. Photo by Peter Zale.
Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, Hillside Garden, Longwood Gardens. Photo by Peter Zale. Cypripedium kentuckiense, Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve, Lancaster County, VA. Photo by Peter Zale.
Native habitat of Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, Birchrunville, Chester County, PA. Photo by Peter Zale.
Detail view of Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens. Photo by Duane Erdmann.
Going Global Since 2015, Longwood’s Education Department has been partnering with institutions abroad in an innovative exchange program for students participating in our Professional Gardener Program. The PG Program is a two-year undergraduatelevel program in professional horticulture that, since 1970, has been training students through a combination of academic curriculum and immersive practical learning. A core component of the program is exposing students to horticulture on an international level through study abroad, immersion in an international student community, and curriculum. After a competitive application process, selected students are placed with one of Longwood’s institutional partners for up to two months. The exchange provides students with practical training opportunities alongside the host institution’s staff and customized learning tailored to the individual’s interests. Longwood currently has four exchange partners. Waddesdon Manor Garden, in the village of Waddesdon, in Buckinghamshire, England, is a historic house built between 1874 and 1885 by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. It combines the highest quality 18th-century French decorative arts, English portraits, and Dutch Old Masters with one of the finest Victorian gardens in Britain, famous for its parterre and ornate working aviary. The Alnwick Garden is a complex of formal gardens adjacent to Alnwick Castle in the town of Alnwick, Northumberland, England, and is known for its contemporary gardening excellence. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland, was founded in 1670 as a physic garden. Today, it encompasses three additional regional gardens: the mountainous Benmore in Argyll; Dawyck in the wooded hills of the Scottish Borders; and Logan on the southern peninsula of Dumfries & Galloway. Together, they represent one of 12
A unique, custom-tailored experience offers horticulture students professional growth through international exchange. By Dr. Brian Trader
the world’s largest living collections of plants in a world-renowned center for plant science and education. The French Heritage Society, a nonprofit organization created in 1982 with locations in the United States and France, is dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and promotion of French heritage throughout the US and France. Since the student exchange program’s launch in 2015, three PG students have traveled abroad to two partner institutions. In 2015 Bethany Evans traveled to The Alnwick Garden. “Interning at Alnwick and assisting with their community programs and in their gardens, melded my passions for horticulture and service in a way I never thought possible,” Evans says. Her study abroad also helped her learn that horticulture is a collaborative effort around the world. “Alnwick kindled in me a passion for serving others, something I am exploring in my current position in the Maryland Park Service. Combining horticulture, the outdoors, and service is a dream come true,” Evans says. “An immersion of plants and people,” is how Robert Shaut describes his 2016 experience at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. “My RBGE work exchange was a cultural and horticultural immersion, one of the great experiences during my time at Longwood,” he says. Shaut worked at all four RBGE gardens, and visited more than a dozen other gardens from Dublin to London. “Working at RBGE gave me an intriguing perspective into the lens of international gardening,” Shaut shares. “We [Longwood] are truly seen as one of the great gardens of the world.” Shaut is currently employed by Cotswold Gardens, Inc. in West Grove, PA. Recent PG graduate Alison Tisdel also traveled to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2017 for her international experience. “My goals for the work exchange were to focus my projects on outdoor gardening,
to manage plant collections and perennial displays, to engage in community outreach, to help build and maintain relationships with Longwood alumni, and to draw inspiration from Scottish culture and landscapes,” Tisdel says. At RBGE, Tisdel divided her time between working in the glasshouses and working with the rock and woodland gardening team, learning how a living collection is managed both outdoors and indoors. She divided perennial plants, improved soil by adding compost to empty beds, learned about the newly accessioned bryophyte collection, and undertook general maintenance such as pruning vines and cleaning plants. She took part in a plant collecting trip to France, where she assisted with cleaning the seeds they collected. Tisdel also had the opportunity to reconnect with the international network of Longwood alumni, including former PGs now studying at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London; the TRIAD students who were on their United Kingdom placements; and curators at RBGE who were former Longwood International Trainees. “The student work exchange gave me perspective into the horticultural industry,” Tisdel shares. “Working at so many different gardens in such a short amount of time let me see how each garden does things on different budgets, with various levels of staff, and with different plants,” she says. These types of life-changing, immersive experiences offer unparalleled personal and professional growth for individuals early in their horticulture careers.
Opposite: Photos from Longwood’s International Exchange students, sharing their travel and work experiences while abroad.
Beauty and the Beholder Musing on the beauty that surrounds us, a Longwood Fellow reﬂects on its deﬁning qualities and inherent intangibility. By Neil Gerlowski
Opposite: This orchid specimen, × Rhyncholaeliocattleya Amy Linden ‘Sentinel’s Peach Melba’, was donated to Longwood by the Dorrance Hamilton Estate. See story on page 44. Photo by David Ward.
From vibrant and visionary floral displays to choreographed explosions of water, Longwood Gardens is widely acclaimed as a world-renowned destination for naturally inspired beauty. Experiencing the wonders of this living landscape as they change throughout the seasons and as new installations unfold before us, it would be hard not to appreciate the forethought, planning, diligent effort, and constant care necessary to create and maintain this unique and celebrated cultural resource. A couple of months ago during a discussion group with Longwood managers facilitated by two of my colleagues, Kaslin Daniels and Julia Thomé, we engaged in a lively dialogue on the conditions necessary to create beauty. The discussion began with a review of Aristotle’s classic theory of persuasion and its defining principles of ethos, pathos, and logos. It was then guided to the workplace conditions necessary to promote innovation, excellence, and other requisites for achieving beauty. Since that day I have spent some time reflecting on a topic that we purposefully steered clear of during that discussion— the difficulty of measuring beauty because of its inherent subjectivity. Various definitions of beauty boil down to this: “qualities” that give “pleasure.” It is evident then that the degree to which any one beholder feels pleasure is reliant on an endless host of variables, some of which are intimately personal. Yet the enormous consensus that so many people share in descriptions of certain experiences as beautiful also implies a degree of universality that may be measured and used for guidance in new projects and endeavors. While volumes have been written on the subject of beauty, and mathematical formulas have even been proposed for determining it, those who approach its measurement too rigidly may find it elusive. Nevertheless, we have an abundance of
evidence relative to the appreciation of beauty here at Longwood Gardens that can be easily observed, inferred, or extrapolated: ticket sales after a new display, places where people congregate or pause along pathways, the number of likes and shares of images posted on social media. But as beautiful as any one of the Gardens’ elements may be —from a forest edge draped in autumn foliage, to a spectacular plant like the Thousand Bloom Mum, to the delicately patterned petals of one’s favorite orchid, our sense of aesthetic appreciation goes well beyond our ability to completely quantify and qualify the characteristics that determine beauty. So the next time you visit the Gardens, take the time to reflect deeply on the beauty around you. Think about the work, care, and support that goes into creating and sustaining its levels of world-class excellence. Try to imagine how individuals of different perspectives may perceive it. Maybe even brainstorm ways to measure it. But most of all, marvel at it and enjoy—in the end, beauty is to behold.
The Longwood Fellows Program is a 13-month, immersive learning experience that provides innovative, pragmatic leadership-development opportunities for those who have a strong desire to lead in the public horticulture arena.
View of the keyboard and batons of the Chimes Tower carillon. Longwoodâ€™s baton keyboard is 6 feet wide with 62 large wooden batons for the hands and 26 pedals for the feet that duplicate the lowest 26 hand keys. The keys are laid out sequentially as on a piano or organ, except that on the carillon they are much bigger, and they are all a natural maple color. Each baton or pedal controls one bell clapper. Photo by Daniel Traub.
That Mysterious Place Unveiling the enigma of the legendary Chimes Tower, and the making of its beautiful bells. By Colvin Randall
Hark how the bells Sweet silver bells All seem to say Throw cares away â€”Peter J. Wilhousky, Carol of the Bells, 1936
Chimes Tower under construction, 1929. Longwood Gardens Library & Archives. Previous pages: Infrared photograph of the Chimes Tower, 1964. Photo by Gottlieb Hampfler.
Now that the Main Fountain Garden is open, visitors can once again access the lower half of one of the most mysterious features at Longwood—the Chimes Tower. Kids and grown-ups alike are fascinated by this fairytale structure that stands prominently in the landscape. Longwood founder Pierre S. du Pont built the 61-foot-tall structure in 1929–1930, after visiting in 1925 an ancient fortified tower at Châtillon-Coligny on the Loing River in France. One of the Coligny family’s châteaux had been purchased by Pierre’s ancestors, so he was interested in all their buildings for historical and sentimental reasons. The French tower sits by a quiet stream, but Longwood’s tower overlooks a rushing waterfall that cascades from spring through fall. To make the tower come alive, Mr. du Pont purchased the largest set of chimes he could find from the J.C. Deagan Company of Chicago, after first borrowing one to test its carrying power. Twenty-five tubular chimes costing $15,850 were installed in the upper tower chamber. On April 20, 1930, Mr. du Pont noted that the “chimes in tower [were] rung for the first time today.” They pealed the Westminster quarter hours during the day and played “old familiar music” on Sundays and on 20
special occasions from an automatic player using paper rolls, like a player piano. Apparently a switch in the Peirce-du Pont House could activate the chimes from the du Pont residence. In 1956, the chimes were replaced by a 32-note Deagan electronic carillon with loudspeakers that sounded until 1981; it played 16,000 daytime concerts and 600 evening concerts. Real bells were first proposed for the Tower in 1977, but the idea was shelved. Instead, a 122-bell Schulmerich electronic carillon was played indoors live from a keyboard on an “island” in the flooded Exhibition Hall during the 1985 Christmas display, and a small set of 18 cast bells played automatically outside the East Conservatory for Christmas in 1996 and 1997. Finally, in 2000 Longwood commissioned the Dutch firm Royal Eijsbouts to create a 62-bell carillon for the Chimes Tower. By definition, a carillon has to have at least 23 chromatically tuned bells. Bronze bells appeared in China as early as 1500 BC, but it was 3,000 years later, in 1500 AD, that the carillon was invented in Holland. Today there are 290 hand-played carillons in the Netherlands and in neighboring Belgium, more than anywhere else, with some dating back to the 17th century. In North America
there are 204 carillons (190 in the US, 11 in Canada, and three in Mexico), with 11 traditional instruments in the Delaware Valley plus a 30-bell automated carillon at Alfred I. du Pont’s estate, Nemours. Longwood’s carillon combines centuriesold casting techniques with modern technology. Royal Eijsbouts used computers to design the instrument, but the bells were cast in the traditional, time-honored way. Each bell required a two-part mold. The core or inner mold is made of sand and cement, coated to be fireproof. On top of this, a “false bell” is modeled in sand and wax over the core. This temporary bell is identical to the ultimate bronze bell, including the applied decoration. The entire form is enclosed in a steel casing that is filled with molding sand. After drying for several days, the outside mold is lifted away and the wax bell painstakingly removed. The outside mold is then replaced over the core to create a hollow space into which is poured molten bronze made of 80 percent copper and 20 percent tin heated to 2,012 degrees. After cooling, the bell is unmolded and sandblasted. The raw tones are electronically analyzed, then the bell is tuned by thinning the inside wall while the bell spins on a lathe. Tuning is done only once, at the factory, and is permanent.
Longwood founder Pierre S. du Pont built the 61-foot-tall structure in 1929–1930, after visiting in 1925 an ancient fortiﬁed tower at Châtillon-Coligny on the Loing River in France.
Postcard owned by pensioner Ed Detwiler showing the Chimes Tower probably in the 1930s (note the tubular chimes visible behind the openings). Longwood Gardens Library & Archives.
Above: View of Longwood’s Deagan Chimes, circa 1930s. Photo by Peter N. Greeley. Longwood Gardens Library & Archives.
Illustration appearing in a Deagan Tower Chimes brochure, circa 1930. Right: This color postcard shows the Chimes Tower in the late 1930s engulfed in vines. The waterfall started flowing in 1931 and was enlarged by 1937.
The Making of the Bells at the Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry
Workers modeling a “false bell” in sand and wax over the inner core.
Above, top to bottom: Unmolding the bell prior to sandblasting. Worker finessing the typography (spelling out “Longwood Gardens”) of the temporary sand and wax bell.
Right: This sectional view of the upper level of the Chimes Tower shows the location of the bells in relation to the inner cabin where the computer and keyboards that play the instrument are housed.
Longwood’s bells arrived from the Netherlands in March 2001. The instrument’s steel frame was erected in the drained Pear-Shaped Basin next to the Tower, and the 62 bells were carefully bolted to the frame. The five octaves of bells range in size from the lowest B-flat, called the bourdon, which is 6 feet in diameter and 6,908 pounds, to the highest C, only 6 inches in diameter and 20 pounds. The roof of the Chimes Tower was removed and, on March 14, 2001, a 275-ton crane lifted 38,000 pounds of bells attached to the 17,000-pound frame, a total of 55,000 pounds. It was a tight fit into the top of the Tower, with only inches to spare. A new roof was then installed and, after further assembly, the instrument was inaugurated on Memorial Day, 2001. At the top of the Tower’s 82-step spiral staircase, nestled under the bells and frame,
a small cabin houses the computer and keyboards that play the instrument. The bells are firmly bolted to the frame and do not swing. Each bell can be struck two ways, either by a cast-iron clapper, or by a bronze hammer energized by a powerful electromagnet. The electric strikers can be activated from a piano-like keyboard that is touch sensitive. Each keystroke is translated into an electromagnetic pulse that moves the hammer gently or forcefully, depending on the velocity of the keystroke. This varies the volume. The carillon can thus be played automatically from a computer that stores performances recorded directly from the electric keyboard. Pieces can also be recorded on a traditional practice keyboard located in a nearby studio. The songs recorded there are loaded into the Tower computer from a thumb drive or from
a direct Internet connection. In fact, it is possible to control the instrument from afar, including the Netherlands, where Eijsbouts has diagnosed problems and tweaked schedules from their office! Longwood’s carillon can also be played the traditional way, with a live performer — the carillonneur—at a baton keyboard. Each large wooden baton key pulls a wire that runs vertically through the ceiling to a rocker arm. This in turn pulls a horizontal wire connected to the clapper. Surprisingly, the clapper moves only an inch or so yet makes quite a sound, either soft or loud, depending on how forcefully the performer strikes the key. This traditional method of playing is purely mechanical and uses no electricity to ring the bells. A piano keyboard has 88 keys and is 4 feet wide. By comparison, Longwood’s baton
The roof of the Chimes Tower was removed and … a 275-ton crane lifted 38,000 pounds of bells attached to a 17,000-pound frame, a total of 55,000 pounds. It was a tight ﬁt into the top of the Tower, with only inches to spare.
Right: Worker guiding the carillon bells and supporting frame into the top of the Chimes Tower, March 14, 2001. Photo by Larry Albee.
…in terms of total bells, only 25 carillons have more bells than Longwood’s 62, usually from two to ﬁve more, with two instruments holding the record at 77. This makes Longwood’s the ninth largest in North America and 26th in the world. A spectacular view of the revitalized Main Fountain Garden, as seen from the top of the Chimes Tower, August, 2017. Opposite: View of the carillon bells from the upper level of the Chimes Tower. Wires to the left pull the clappers to ring the bells from the clavier; wires to the right are connected to springs to return the clappers to their resting positions. Visible outside the bells to the left are the bronze hammers that ring the bells via computer. Photos by Daniel Traub.
keyboard is 6 feet wide with 62 large wooden batons for the hands and 26 pedals for the feet that duplicate the lowest 26 hand keys. The keys are laid out sequentially as on a piano or organ, except that on the carillon they are much bigger, and they are all a natural maple color. Each baton or pedal controls one bell clapper. Carillon sheet music looks like piano music, but usually both hands play from the upper, or right-hand, staff, while the feet play from the lower, or left-hand, staff. The carillonneur has total control over the intensity and expressiveness of each note, although since there are no dampers, the bell tones overlap and decay naturally. Some performers wrap their little fingers to cushion the blows required to strike the batons with their fists. Playing a fast piece that uses lots of bells can be a challenge when the carillonneur has to reach for keys far away in both directions. It’s surprising how quickly a skilled performer can play. 24
In addition to daily automatic playing, live concerts by carillonneurs from around the world occur from spring through fall. A highlight after a live performance is the possibility of climbing to the top of the tower to view the bells and clavier at close range. The panoramic view of the surrounding landscape from above is an added bonus. Although Longwood’s carillon is relatively young, it has achieved prominence. Two CDs of bell music have been released. For four days in June 2009, more than 130 carillonneurs and bell makers attended the 67th Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, held at Longwood and celebrated with numerous concerts. In September 2017, a Carillon Festival featured 12 solo and duo recitals (some in combination with other instruments and a vocalist) and provided live bell music for six acrobatic shows by Australia’s Strange Fruit.
The most exciting challenge ahead will be hosting the World Carillon Federation World Congress in 2020, with bell enthusiasts attending from around the globe. Total weight (especially of the lowest bells) is one way to rank carillons. New York City’s Riverside Church is the heaviest, with 74 bells weighing more than 100 tons. Longwood’s is the 29th largest in North America in terms of weight. But in terms of total bells, only 25 carillons have more bells than Longwood’s 62, usually from two to five more, with two instruments holding the record at 77. This makes Longwood’s the ninth largest in North America and 26th in the world. Not a bad ranking out of about 630 instruments worldwide. So if you’ve never been to the top of that “mysterious place” by the Waterfall, it will next be open on May 20, 2018, after a concert by Lisa Lonie. It’s worth a visit.
A photographic celebration of form and function, structure and beauty found throughout our Gardens, as interpreted through a reductive lens.
Photography by Carlos Alejandro 26
An unconventional still-life composition highlighting the dichotomy of natural versus man-made forms: Philodendron gloriosum stalks and leaves from the Tropical Terrace, Conservatory, are supported here by a pair of welded steel wire hemispheres. These wire formsâ€”typically used for hanging basket displays throughout the Conservatoryâ€” are fabricated onsite by the Longwood metal shop.
Vriesea ospinae var. gruberi, a variety of flowering plant in the Bromeliaceae family whose leaves are often guttered. This plant is most prominently displayed in the Cascade Garden, designed in 1992 by famed Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. Burle Marx often featured bromeliads in his garden compositions specifically for their architectonic qualities.
“A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and a plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant …but it is also a color, a shape, a volume, or an arabesque in itself.” —Roberto Burle Marx, Designer, Cascade Garden
Resembling the branching, treelike structure of a cell, this complex arrangement is in reality a macro view of the dried inflorescense of a Dypsis decaryi (triangle palm), from the Palm House, Conservatory. Previous Pages: The incidental beauty of these welded steel wire hemispheres is rarely seen or appreciated by visitors. And yet, they contribute to the overall transformative experience of the Gardens by providing the underlying structural support for the beautiful hanging baskets on display throughout the Conservatory.
The delicate beauty of these eyeglasses, used by Pierre S. du Pont, early to mid20th century, perfectly complements their functional intention. The top left pair was designed to be worn with regular glasses to provide additional magnification for close-up work. Longwood Gardens Library & Archives.
Palmate fan-shaped leaf of the Everglades palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii), Palm House, Conservatory.
Every process in nature has its necessary form. These processes always result in functional forms. â€”Raoul France
The cone of Encephalartos woodii (Wood’s cycad) is an impressive example of mathematical beauty drawn from nature. The scales of the cone are arrayed in a logarithmic spiral pattern or Golden Spiral, described by the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli (1655–1705) as a Spira Mirabilis. This plant is on display in the East Conservatory. Longwood received its male E. woodii pup from Durban Botanical Garden in 1969. Wood’s cycad is a dioecious plant, believed to be extinct in nature as there are no known remaining female plants in existence. The cone pictured here was 43.5 inches long, 8 inches in diameter at its girth, and weighed 25 pounds.
Devotedly Alice This thoughtful assessment of Alice du Pont traces her indelible inﬂuence on our Gardens through her role as companion, conﬁdant, and First Lady of Longwood. By Lynn Schuessler
Opposite, clockwise from top left: Alice and Pierre on floor of Exhibition Hall, preparing the Conservatory for Christmas, circa 1920s; Portrait of Alice du Pont, 1939; Portrait of Alice Belin, circa 1892; Alice Belin du Pont, passport photo, 1925; Mrs. Alice Belin du Pont and the Women’s Organization for Prohibition Reform, 1932; Pierre S. du Pont and Alice Belin du Pont on their honeymoon, 1915; Handwritten note from Alice, signed “Always affectionately Alice,” 1923.
The portrait of Longwood founder Pierre S. du Pont quietly overlooks the Music Room, while gardeners and volunteers trim the mantel for Christmas. He seems to mentor them from afar, as they carry on the living legacy of his Gardens. But for every loved and well-known story, there are stories less often told. For every rare genius, there’s the virtue of everyday tasks, carefully tended. Across from Pierre’s portrait, sharing the history of this space, is the portrait of his wife, Alice. If Pierre was the master of design and engineering who would gradually transform his 1906 land purchase into the beauty and grandeur of Longwood Gardens, Alice was the social force who made the Gardens come alive, helping to host many a dinner guest and garden party throughout their years together. Her meticulous planning and generous celebration of Christmas—including gifts for hundreds of relatives, friends, staff, and their children; the decoration of a splendid tree in Exhibition Hall; and the magical parties for the children of Longwood employees and for the region’s senior citizens—sowed the seeds for Longwood Gardens to celebrate five seasons each year, the most popular of which is always Christmas. As gracious a hostess and household manager as Alice might have been, she was also a woman of ideas. Born in Scranton, PA, in 1872, young Alice Belin was well
traveled and active in social clubs and charity work. Her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1892 distinguished her as one of the few du Pont women of the time to be university educated. Alice and Pierre were longtime friends—her father and Pierre’s mother were brother and sister, and the Belin and du Pont families socialized frequently. Pierre invited Alice to join him on tours of Europe in 1910 and 1913, where they enjoyed the gardens and fountains that would inspire those at Longwood. They were “like-minded and like-hearted,” recalled Pierre’s grandnephew, Nathan Hayward. Their shared interests and companionship moved Pierre to propose, and though Alice was initially shocked, she of course accepted, and they married on October 6, 1915, in New York City. “I’ve come to think of Alice as a confidant and someone Pierre bounced ideas back and forth with as he built Longwood,” says Sharon Loving, Vice President, Horticulture. “I can’t help but think that she’s had great impact on many aspects of aesthetics at Longwood. The majority of the historic photos from their grand garden tours of Europe show them together, as do many of the early photos of him at Longwood. I’ve imagined that they shared ideas about the gardens they saw in Europe and how that might translate to gardens at Longwood.”
“I’ve come to think of Alice as a conﬁdant and someone Pierre bounced ideas back and forth with as he built Longwood. I can’t help but think that she’s had a great impact on many aspects of aesthetics…” —Sharon Loving, Vice President, Horticulture, Longwood Gardens
Alice Belin’s dormitory room at Bryn Mawr College, 1890s. Alice received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr in 1892. Opposite: Ancestral portrait of Alice Belin du Pont by Mr. Savely Sorine. Sorine was a well-known Parisian portrait artist who came to Longwood in 1926 to paint watercolor portraits of Alice and Pierre. Mrs. du Pont had been initially inspired by portraits she had seen while visiting France in 1925. The du Ponts hung their portraits in the Music Room, where they remain to this day.
Alice du Pont in garden party attire, circa 1916.
Excerpt of text by Frank Lloyd Wright on flowers in art copied from Modern Architecture, 1931, found tucked in Alice du Pont’s address book. Courtesy Hagley Museum and Library.
Loving recalls her own visit to Villa Gori in Italy (Pierre’s inspiration for the Open Air Theatre), with Longwood staff and du Pont family members: “A group of us clowned for the camera, just as Mr. and Mrs. du Pont did when they visited. I did get goosebumps that day, and still do when I think back to that moment.” Alice detailed her love of gardens in an unpublished essay about her 1925 tour of French châteaux, in which she described the “iris and agapanthus” of Monet’s water lily pond; the “very beautiful heliotrope … and too many geraniums” of Château d’Ussé; “a wonderful series of pools, lakes, basins and fountains” at Vaux-le-Vicomte; and “the masses of perennials and annuals and dahlias very fine like our own” at Voisins. A study of Mrs. du Pont’s notes and letters reveals that she was an active member of the Garden Club of America, a trustee of the American Rose Society, and a member of the American Iris Society. She also corresponded 42
widely with nurseries and horticulturists about plants she wished to order and grow at Longwood. A 1922 handwritten letter from Mrs. Frances E. Cleveland, a New Jersey iris supplier, commends Alice’s hands-on approach: “if you can ‘do’ your garden yourself it expresses so much more individuality and is so much more ‘homey’ looking.” In 1929, Alice wrote to Edith Loring Fullerton, a noted horticulturist of her time, asking where to obtain the Japanese wisteria Ms. Fullerton had written about in Horticulture. Alice ordered lilacs, some of which still bloom north of the Topiary Garden; tropical vines, some still growing in the Rose House; and narcissus, acacia, peonies, and many more showy, flowering plants. But perhaps the iconic Longwood collection that bears Alice’s touch is our orchid collection. “Both Mr. and Mrs. du Pont were very passionate about this
group of plants,” says Loving, “and this legacy continues till this day—hence the reason our Orchid Extravaganza display is so important.” Pierre and Alice (along with Mrs. William K. du Pont) were founding members in 1921 of the American Orchid Society, of which Alice served as vice president in 1924–1925, and in which she remained active throughout her life. Longwood’s extensive orchid collection began in 1922 with a gift to Mrs. du Pont of 12 Cattleya orchids, and today we house an orchid that bears her name: Cattleya ‘Alice B. du Pont’. Other flowers named after Alice include a canna, two roses, a mandevilla, a camellia, and a daylily—all fitting and intimate remembrances of the First Lady of Longwood. Quietly tucked into one of Alice’s address books is a typewritten passage from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1931 landmark text, Modern Architecture, which discusses the spiritual expression of flowers in art, and preserving
Pierre and Alice du Pont making final preparations for the annual employee Christmas party, Exhibition Hall, mid to late 1920s.
the character of native plants in stone. The statuary of the Main Fountain Garden, which opened in 1931, comes to mind. But the passage also seems to reflect Alice’s wish to be remembered. In a 1922 letter to Pierre, she wrote: “I realise more and more that you do not need actual children and grandchildren to treasure your memory and the traditions connected with it, for you are going to be looked back on as almost a saint or hero in the history that is read in future years. I wish I could feel sure that I would have the place of a proper helpmate in this same history ….” It was Alice who contacted Mr. Savely Sorine, a well-known Parisian portrait artist who came to Longwood in 1926 to paint watercolor portraits of Alice and Pierre. Mrs. du Pont had admired such ancestral portraits while visiting France in 1925, remarking on those in Château D’Harcourt: “portraits set in the walnut paneling most
lovely” and “portraits of wives very charming.” The du Ponts hung their portraits in the Music Room, where their likenesses remain to this day. It is a position of dignity rather than prominence, of quiet approval and continued inspiration for today’s staff and volunteers. A place where Alice can still overlook the festivities of Christmas, a space that Alice and Pierre seem to balance and share. Still, Alice might have been pleased to know that, after her death in 1944, Pierre fulfilled her unfinished term as vice president of the American Orchid Society—following, for a short time, in her footsteps. In his letter of condolence, George Thompson, Pierre’s secretary, characterized Alice as “the kindest, most generous lady I have ever known.” Another writer reminisces about “those lovely letters that would come to me no more—letters that always ended: Devotedly Alice.” Yet another
perfectly captures Alice’s legacy at Longwood, describing a place “more lovely than ever and so full of the living beauty of which Mrs. du Pont was so fond.” The memory of Alice du Pont lives on—in the celebration of Christmas; in the flowers that honor her name, and in the plants she acquired that still happily grow in the Gardens; in her Music Room presence; and in the gardeners she has mentored from afar—women among them—who carry on the tradition of the living beauty that is Longwood.
Join us next time as the story continues with the influence and inspiration of the women who followed.
Dorrance Hamilton and her husband, Samuel M.V. Hamilton, admire Streptocarpus in their greenhouse in 1990. Photo by Scott Rowan. Opposite: This Myrtus communis specimen was one of a matching pair of common myrtle topiaries donated by the Hamilton Estate. Photo by David Ward.
The passion of legendary heiress and philanthropist Dorrance ‘Dodo’ Hamilton lives on in our collection. By Jim Harbage
Dorrance ‘Dodo’ Hamilton was a longtime and avid supporter of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society. She passed away in April of 2017. Many know her as an heiress to the Campbell Soup fortune; those of us in the Brandywine Valley region remember her more for her outstanding entries in the Philadelphia Flower Show for so many years. Mrs. Hamilton’s first entries in the Flower Show came in 1984 when her horticulture manager, Joe Paolino, entered two plants, an orchid and a Martha Washington geranium. When one of them earned a first place award, Mrs. Hamilton was hooked and became a major exhibitor through 2014 when declining health led her to discontinue her involvement. During her time as an exhibitor, her plants won nearly 2,000 first-place awards. Mrs. Hamilton was a strong supporter of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society in many other ways, including donations she provided—the most notable, perhaps, funding the renovation of the flower show Horticourt exhibit in 2012, which is named for her. In August of 2017, Longwood was offered the plant collection from Mrs. Hamilton’s estate. This was an incredibly generous gesture as it represented a diverse selection of award-winning specimen plants that had been accumulated and meticulously grown over many years. Staff from Longwood, including Sharon Loving (Vice President, Horticulture), Matt Taylor (Director, Research), and Jim Harbage (Director, Floriculture and Conservatories) visited the collection soon after the offer was made to begin identifying plants to transfer to Longwood’s collection. A second trip including Jim Harbage, Jim Sutton (Senior Horticultural Display Designer), Peter Zale (Associate Director, Conservation, Plant Breeding, and Collections), and Greg Griffis (Orchid Horticulturist) allowed Longwood to expand the list to include orchids as well.
As a result of these two visits, more than 100 specimen conservatory plants and 50 orchids were chosen for Longwood’s collection. It took three large box truck loads to transfer the plants to Longwood, where they were distributed among several conservatory locations and some to production greenhouses to be revealed during the 2017 Christmas display. The plants transported to Longwood ranged from a giant Ficus benjamina ‘Dutch Treat’, which is rare in the US and only available in very small sizes; to soft textured bear’s foot ferns (Davallia tyermannii) that had been carefully trained into hanging baskets. There were unique forms of snakeplant (Sansevieria) with unusual pristine white variegation and there were two large bird nest anthurium (Anthurium superbum) with 3-foot-long corrugated dark green leaves. There were large succulent bowls filled with Haworthia and Euphorbia and a very unusual tree type Euphorbia (Euphorbia punicea, Jamaican poinsettia). The addition of Mrs. Hamilton’s plants brings additional depth, diversity, display potential, and overall beauty to the plant collection at Longwood Gardens.
No. 296 Winter 2018
Cover This foreshortened view of the cone of the Encephalartos woodii (Wood’s cycad) exemplifies the famous Fibonacci sequence that has captivated mathematicians, artists, designers, and scientists for centuries. This is especially apparent in the descending regularity of the cone’s scales. Also known as the Golden Ratio, the ubiquity of this pattern in nature suggests its importance as a fundamental characteristic of the universe. Photo by Carlos Alejandro. Inside Covers As big and bulky as the 55,000-pound Longwood Carillon is, some parts are surprisingly small. This macro view shows the tiny knurled knobs that permit minute changes in how close the clappers come to the bells by adjusting the length of the connecting cables. These trackers extend up from the keyboard through the cabin roof to the bells above. Photo by Daniel Traub. Beyond Beauty The photoshoot for the Beyond Beauty visual essay involved the assistance of many Longwood Staff members. Special thanks to: Karl Gercens, Jim Harbage, and Matthew Peterson for help in securing the Encephalartos woodii cone for the shoot; Joyce Rondinella and Raymond Carter for assistance in selecting tropical plants specimens from the Cascade Garden, Palm House, and Tropical Terrace; Judy Stevenson for sourcing archival materials for the shoot, and for assistance on the photoshoot; and Triad Fellow Joel Reibert for his support and input on the photoshoot.
Editorial Board Marnie Conley Patricia Evans Steve Fenton Julie Landgrebe Colvin Randall Noël Raufaste David Sleasman James S. Sutton Matt Taylor, Ph.D. Brian W. Trader, Ph.D.
Contributors This Issue Longwood Staff and Volunteer Contributors Kristina Aguilar Plant Records Manager Duane Erdmann Volunteer Photographer Neil Gerlowski Longwood Fellow Jim Harbage, Ph.D. Director, Floriculture and Conservatories Maureen McCadden Digital Resource Specialist Judy Stevenson Archivist David Ward Volunteer Photographer Peter Zale, Ph.D. Associate Director, Conservation, Plant Breeding, and Collections Other Contributors Larry Albee Photographer Carlos Alejandro Photographer Scott Rowan Photographer Lynn Schuessler Copywriter, Writer Daniel Traub Photographer
Distribution Longwood Chimes is mailed to Longwood Gardens Staff, Pensioners, Volunteers, and Gardens Preferred and Premium Level Members, and is available electronically to all Longwood Gardens Members via longwoodgardens.org. Longwood Chimes is produced twice annually by and for Longwood Gardens, Inc.
Contact As we went to print, every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of all information contained within this publication. Contact us at email@example.com. © 2018 Longwood Gardens. All rights reserved.
“Seek always unity in diversity. And never forget that beauty is a basic requirement of life.” —Walter Gropius, Architect and Founder of the Bauhaus
Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont, inspiring people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts.
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