A Cure for Cabin Fever

 The Main Conservatory is my favorite indoor room at Longwood Gardens.  This time of year it is filled with orchids.

Exceedingly cold weather from Christmas through the middle of January kept us inside for days on end.  Although I have plenty of paperwork to complete before the nursery season, by the middle of January, I had cabin fever.  My cure is always a trip to the conservatory at Longwood Gardens.  This year we extended our outing to include lunch at Terrain at Styers and shopping at our favorite farm market, Wolff’s Apple House.

Nursery News:  Local customers can order winter interest plants like hellebores, cyclamen, winter aconite, and more in the 2018 Winter Interest Plant Catalogue, to access it click here

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

The entrance to the East Conservatory framed by a 12′ archway of orchids.

Cabin fever always occurs during Longwood’s Orchid Extravaganza when the conservatory is filled with thousands of orchids and hundreds of varieties.  I am not an orchid lover, but there is nothing more cheery when it’s 25 degrees outside than brightly colored orchids in a tropically warm conservatory.  This year was especially fun because we visited two days before the show opened while it was still being mounted.  It was fascinating to watch the care with which the employees placed each orchid in the elaborate displays. 

The Orchid Extravaganza, featuring over 4,500 orchids, runs until March 25, so you have plenty of time to get there.  Meanwhile, you can enjoy my photos from inside your warm home.

In the Visitor Center, a very large wall with potted orchids of every description inspires visitors to make the freezing trek to the conservatory.

.  We didn’t spend any time walking around outside but went directly to the conservatory, which you can see across the frozen landscape in the middle of the photo.


Longwood employees, however, were outside climbing trees to remove the Christmas lights used in A Longwood Christmas, another do not miss event if you haven’t seen it.


A map of the conservatory at Longwood—sorry it’s hard to read.  You enter on the right side of the map into the East Conservatory.  The conservatory area covers four acres—there is a lot to see.

.The orchid archway in the East Conservatory under construction.


Construction of the archway—it’s big!


Orchid orbs hanging in the East Conservatory.


A wall of orchids outside the Music Room.  The woman on the ground was giving the woman on the ladder exact instructions as to how to turn the orchid she was placing to display it to best effect.


The giant columns at the end of the Exhibition Hall are ringed with orchids.  A Longwood employee proudly informed me that they had just finished the display minutes before.

.A close up of the orchid-covered column.


There was more evidence of the changeover in the Main Conservatory: salvias were going in….

.….and ferns were coming out.


Color combinations are always especially nice in the Main Conservatory.  This planting just glowed.


The four quarters of the Main Conservatory have their own color schemes.




No matter when you visit, there is an elegant display of orchids in the Orchid House.


No orchids here but a beautiful plant combination in the Mediterranean House.


Orchids are added to the permanent displays in the conservatory, here the Palm House.


The Cascade Garden


The Tropical Terrace


The entire ceiling of the Silver Garden is filled with hanging orchids.


This could be my favorite: daffodils among the espaliered nectarines in the Estate Fruit House.


After wandering through the Longwood Conservatory, we had lunch a short distance north on Route One in the greenhouse room of the Garden Cafe at Terrain at Styers—very good food and wonderful atmosphere.  They serve fresh baked bread in terra cotta garden pots.


After lunch, you can visit Terrian’s lovely shop spread over an additional three or four greenhouses.


A little farther north on Route One, you can stop to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and prepared food at Wolff’s Apple House.

Enjoy your outing!



Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

14 Responses to “A Cure for Cabin Fever”

  1. Bonnie Devine Says:

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos! I’ll be missing the Orchids this year due to an extended trip to India and Japan—poor me 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos Longwood, what a place.!

  3. Robert LaBreche Says:

    What do you know about half price hosta

  4. Snow is bad; cold, wet and icky. Good time to be inside.

  5. Oh my! What a feast for the eyes! Longwood and Terrain are both on my list of places to visit!

  6. I was wondering what it looks like this time of year. Thanks for the tour.

  7. What a treat on this Winter day.

  8. Looking at this garden, I sigh, as I continue to dream.
    Thank you for the inspiration Carolyn.

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