How Does Longwood Gardens Mix Fire with Water in Newly Renovated Fountains?

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A $90 million fountain renovation at Longwood Gardens has ignited daily excitement through the spectacular mixing of fire and water. Image via Jennifer Corbett, Wilmington News Journal.

They’re not supposed to mix, but new technology powering the renovated fountains at Longwood Gardens now pairs fire and water to dramatic effect.

“It’s almost like the oooooos at a fireworks show,” said Vice President of Facilities Ken Grablewski in a report for The Wilmington News Journal by Betsy Price.

The $90 million that went into revamping 30 flaming fountains at Longwood Gardens has ignited the excitement surrounding Kennett Square’s world-renowned natural spectacle. And the fountains have enabled creativity to flow freely in the daily shows there.


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“I’m constantly surprised by how versatile the flames are,” said head fountain choreographer Tim Martin. “At first, I thought they were just going to be this big moment that was only to be used in powerful accents and moments, and I’ve really grown to like how when the flame lights, it lights the architecture and everything. It’s not just this forceful moment, but can feel emotional as well.”

The flames are paired with 141 controllable water effects from 1,719 jets and 1,389 LED lights.

The secret to mixing fire and water is this, the article explained: “German technology, exclusive to Longwood Gardens, injects a jet of propane into the water, where it’s ignited about three feet off the ground. The flaming gas rises with the water to the top, where it shakes its blazing booty in time to music from the Beatles, Broadway, and big bands.”

Read much more about the artistry that goes into mixing fire and fountain in The Wilmington News Journal here, and check out previous VISTA Today coverage of Longwood Gardens here.

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