Into the sunflowers in Longwood’s meadow

October 04, 2023

As I roamed Longwood Gardens during the Philadelphia Area Fling, I was eager to see the Meadow Garden in its late September glory. I set off on the meadow trail in late afternoon, as the light slanted low through golden petals and tawny grasses.

I reached the meadow from the main gardens by crossing a footbridge that reminds me of a miniature Pennybacker Bridge in Austin.

A cute bronze frog perches on the handrail.

And then I was in the 86-acre meadow, strolling through goldenrod, sunflowers, and asters that stood as tall as I am.

It was gorgeous — sun-warmed, abuzz with bees and butterflies and chittering birds.

One surprise though: much of the meadow had been mowed, and I later heard that was done because of the manhunt for the escaped prisoner, who was spotted on camera at Longwood in early September (he was recaptured before the Fling tour). What a shame, but necessary, I’m sure.

Happily, plants were left standing along part of the trail, and because they were so tall at the end of summer, I felt immersed in them. Plus they continued to feed and shelter insects, birds, rabbits, and other wildlife.

Asters and goldenrod, a natural fall bouquet

The bees were loving the goldenrod.

Forget paths diverging in a yellow wood. How about a yellow meadow?

Sunflowers reaching for blue sky

Dainty white asters

The Webb Farmhouse, built in the early 1700s, beckoned across a portion of the meadow that had not been mowed. I was tempted, but it’s a long walk, and our Fling dinner (sponsored by Longwood) was coming up. I walked a little ways and reluctantly turned back. If you’d like to see the interior, check out my Longwood meadow blog post from 2016.

Goldenrod and bee

A few others were on the trail too, but mostly I had it to myself. Me and the bees.

As I reached the mown area again, I admired ironweed (I think) and Joe Pye weed along the trail.

And fluffy white seedheads atop prickly stems

And more glowing sunflowers

A mass of goldenrod with the Webb Farmhouse in the distance

Pokeweed berries and its striking magenta stems

But mostly it was glorious yellow.

A gracefully curved bridge spans a boggy area. The mown area is seen beyond.

I moseyed on, enjoying the late-afternoon sunlight in the grasses and flowers.

One look back

I left the meadow thinking of dinner, but I had time for a quick spin through Longwood’s main flower gardens first.

Up next: The colorful Flower Garden Walk at Longwood. For a look back at Longwood’s romantic Italian Water Garden and fun treehouses, click here.

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