In late February, Longwood Gardens unveiled plans for a “sweeping yet deeply sensitive transformation of its core area of conservatory gardens, in the most ambitious revitalization in a century of America’s greatest center for horticultural display.”

Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience, will add new plantings and buildings across 17 acres. The project originates from a master plan developed in 2010 by West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture with WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism. Longwood will continue working with WEISS/MANFREDI as lead designer, in collaboration with Reed Hilderbrand, on Longwood Reimagined, a $250 million project.

The largest single element of Longwood Reimagined is the creation of a new 32,000-square-foot glasshouse, complete with gardens and pools. The gardens inside this new West Conservatory were inspired by “the wild and cultivated landscapes of the Mediterranean” and “conceived as seasonally changing islands set amid pools, canals, and low fountains,” according to a released statement.

Aerial View from Southwest, Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience.
Courtesy of WEISS/MANFREDI with Reed Hilderbrand for Longwood Gardens

The designers will build on the 19th-century tradition of glasshouses “through new sustainable technologies.” Plans call for cypress and 100-year-old olive trees “rising up into the soaring space, while other plantings are suspended from above.”

Besides the construction of a new education and administration building, and a state-of-the-art library and classrooms, six historic Lord & Burnham glasshouses from the early 20th century will be preserved and relocated.

“Longwood Reimagined will be the largest undertaking in our history, enhancing the dazzling and deeply satisfying Longwood Gardens that will continue to enthrall our public for decades to come,” says Paul B. Redman, president and CEO of Longwood Gardens.

The Orchid House restoration will reopen this fall and the entire 17-acre project will be complete in the fall of 2024.

krodda@gie.net

Find more details and comments from designers at www.longwoodgardens.org.