When “Volunteer Gardener” host Troy B. Marden leads this fall’s tour of Pennsylvania Brandywine Valley gardens, he’ll be returning to familiar stamping grounds. While in college, Marden interned at Longwood Gardens, one of the many highlights of this tour’s six-day itinerary.
The “Brandywine Valley Gardens with Volunteer Gardener” tour takes place Oct. 11-16, 2015. Registrations for trip are being accepted now and 10 percent of the proceeds will benefit “Volunteer Gardener” and Nashville Public Television. The tour’s fee ($1,650 per person) includes all hotel accommodations, all entry fees, private coach transportation and most meals. Parts of the tour will be guided and paced, while other stops will start with a brief orientation followed by free time to explore at one’s leisure. Click here for more information.
The Brandywine Valley Gardens tour starts with a welcome dinner Sunday, Oct. 11. Monday features a visit to Longwood Gardens, a 350-acre former duPont estate with a variety of garden spaces, walking trails, temporary art installations and water displays set to music.
The duPont family are almost a secondary theme of this garden tour as the original owners of many of the estates on the tour, including Winterthur—also a well-known museum of American decorative arts museum. Nemours Mansion and Gardens, another former duPont estate, was originally built by Alfred I. duPont for Alicia, his second wife. A stop here kicks off the second day of the tour. “It is like somebody just picked up an old French estate and just dropped it outside of Philadelphia,” Marden said of Nemours. “The gardens are very formal; they’re immaculately kept.”
One of the gardens that excites Marden the most is Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark that was the home of the father of American horticulture. John Bartram (1699-1777), a Pennsylvania Quaker and self-taught horticulturalist, who was appointed “Royal Botanist” by King George III. Bartram also associated with Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
Marden is also pleased to offer travelers sneak peeks at private gardens in the Philadelphia area, using his many professional contacts to gain access. He expects these visits will inspire his fellow travelers, much in the way garden visits on “Volunteer Gardener” are meant to inspire viewers. “It’s the same thing, we get to take you to places that you otherwise might not be able to see,” Marden said.
For more information about “Brandywine Valley Gardens with Volunteer Gardener,” click here.