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Brandywine Conservancy’s Wildflower and Native Plant Garden

A garden that inspired the paintings of three generations of Wyeths

The gardens surround the Brandywine River Museum

The gardens surround the Brandywine River Museum of Art Credit: P. Butler for Visit Philadelphia


Wildflower gardens surround the Brandywine River Museum of Art, a 19th-century gristmill, in glorious color from spring through autumn. Walkers and bird watchers enjoy the pastoral grounds of this piece of American history.

The building itself combines the elegance of art with the grandeur of nature. Galleries boast original beams and wide board floors, while glass-walled lobbies provide expansive views of the historic river and countryside.

Known for its unparalelled collection of Wyeth paintings, the museum also has an outstanding collection of American illustration, still life and landscape painting.

The Brandywine Conservancy’s Wildflower and Native Plant Gardens at the Brandywine River Museum of Art are a living representation of the Conservancy’s mission to preserve, protect and share American artistic, natural and historical resources, principally of the Brandywine region. Adults and children both can explore the possibilities of art and illustration through a series of tours and workshops.

Designed by horticulturist FM Mooberry and begun in 1974, the gardens feature indigenous and some naturalized plants of the greater Brandywine region displayed in natural settings. In 1979, Lady Bird Johnson dedicated the gardens to Ford B. Draper and Henry A. Thouron, two individuals who played important roles in the establishment of the Brandywine Conservancy. Today, the gardens are maintained in memory of Mary Sharp.

A variety of programs for families are offered throughout the year. Events include the Free Sunday Mornings in March, June and September, and weekend and summer workshops.

Come Prepared

Dogs are discouraged. The gardens, which are decorative to the museum and not extensive, include a short walking trail along the river.

Don’t Miss

The annual Wildflower and Native Plant Sale is held every Mother’s Day weekend; and the annual Critter Sale, a holiday fundraiser, features some 10,000 ornaments made out of all natural materials.

Outsider’s Tip

The flowers in the garden are deliberately chosen because they’re native to the area. They also bear a direct relationship to the paintings inside the museum. At the right time of year, for instance, you may very well see the same summer Phlox that’s blooming outside the building show up on canvas inside.

Support the Brandywine Conservancy

The Brandywine Conservancy, which seeks to protect the art and the environment of the Brandywine Valley, has been responsible for protecting more than 40,000 acres through conservation easements. For more information about the conservancy’s land stewardship program, visit their website.

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