Archive for Longwood Christmas

Longwood Christmas and a Surprise

Posted in garden to visit, winter, winter interest with tags , , , on December 29, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: 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.

Snow storm 12-10-2013 12-10-2013 4-14-049Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in the snow

Starting in late November this year, we had five snow storms before Christmas.  I like snow but was already feeling a little cabin crazy when an email arrived from Longwood Gardens offering a great deal on a renewal of my long-expired membership.  We usually visit Longwood for a special event, but it struck me that the Longwood Gardens conservatories are a great place to go for a walk in the winter.  Renewal was easy, and Michael and I headed to Longwood bright and early the next day to test out our new indoor walking venue.

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 11-17-49 AMTopiary Garden

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 1-41-01 PMGreat use of dried hydrangea flowers along the front entrance gate.  I almost got killed taking the photo so I wouldn’t recommend stopping there.

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 1-28-14 PMCreative containers outside the cafe where we ate lunch.  The food is very good, especially the soups and chilis, and members get a discount.

There is plenty to see outside at Longwood even in the winter as you can tell from the above photos.  However, it was quite cold that day so we headed for the four acres of indoor conservatories.  We intend to go back in January in the late afternoon and evening to see the outdoor Christmas display.  If you haven’t done that, you are in for a treat.  For photos of the lights at night and tips for visiting, read my post A Longwood New Year’s Eve.

Mid-morning on a bright and sunny day turned out to be a bad time to photograph the conservatories so I don’t have as many photos to show you.  You will have to go yourself to see all the sights:

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 11-33-20 AMThe Exhibition Hall featured an elaborate and beautiful tapestry composed of 18,540 Granny Smith and Rome apples floating in 4″ of water and kept in place by a hidden structural form fabricated in house.

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 11-40-21 AM Christmas rose hellebores lined the edges of the floor.

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 11-33-51 AMA close up of the apples, which came from a local grower and will be donated to a local farm for cattle feed.

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Our surprise occurred as we were admiring this wreath in the back corridor of the greenhouses.  We ran into our friend Scottie Pennett who works at Longwood as a grower for the conservatories.  She is in charge of several of the antique glass greenhouses actually used by the DuPont family and offered us an impromptu behind the scenes tour.

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 12-03-59 PMScottie in one of her greenhouses.  On the left you can see a standard she is growing for a future display.  Weights have been tied to the branches to make them cascade down.

The attention to detail that is required for these plants is amazing.  Each one is individually groomed and manipulated to achieve the desired effect.  Plants are started as long as three to five years before the time that the actual display for which they are intended appears in the conservatory.  Scottie also trials plants that she thinks will be effective additions to future displays and presents them to the designers for consideration.  It is amazing to think that a plant that you breeze by in the conservatories might have begun from a cutting in Scottie’s greenhouse five years before.

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 11-59-36 AMA fuchsia basket where each branch needs to be tied down with string to give it the proper shape.

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Longwood Xmas 2013 12-19-2013 12-04-18 PMAnother plant being tied to a frame to give it the proper look.

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Thanks, Scottie, after our tour we had a much deeper appreciation for your work and that of all the other Longwood employees who produce such a gorgeous show in the conservatories year after year.  The Longwood Christmas display will continue through January 12.

Happy New Year,

Carolyn

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

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings: The 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  Please visit my Etsy Shop to purchase photo note cards suitable for all occasions by clicking here.

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.

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A Longwood New Year’s Eve

Posted in garden to visit, winter with tags , , , on January 1, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Longwood ChristmasPure magic!

For 2012-2013, I choose Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, US, as the garden that I would visit throughout the year and profile.  Longwood is probably the most visited public garden in the US and holds a special place in my heart because I have taken almost 20 courses there, earning two Longwood Certificates of Merit in Ornamental Plants.  My previous posts profiled Longwood’s creative use of groundcovers (click here to read) and Longwood at night, focusing on the Bruce Munro light installation (click here to read).

Longwood conservatory One of the Longwood conservatories decorated for Christmas.

Visiting Longwood anytime of year is a breathtaking experience.  I have been going there for 30 years, and it never fails to delight me.  However, their Christmas display, both indoors and outside, is in a class by itself.  Before I go I always think the magic might have worn off.  But every time I walk out of the visitor’s center and see the lights, I am amazed once again.

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Longwood ConservatoryA long view of one of the immense indoor spaces.

Because Longwood is so popular at Christmas, it takes a little planning to avoid the crowds.  In previous years, we choose a warm and drizzly night and had the gardens pretty much to ourselves.  This year we thought it might be fun to go on New Year’s Eve when musicians stroll through the gardens entertaining the crowds.  Our timing was perfect as we arrived at 2:15 pm, toured the relatively empty conservatories, ate delicious food in the uncrowded cafe, and escaped out into the garden just as it got dark and the hordes descended.

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LongwoodOne of the rooms in the conservatories was set up for an immense holiday feast.  It was gorgeous.

The conservatories encompass four acres so there is a lot to see inside from orchids to bonsai to the actual greenhouses where the plants are grown.  All of it is decorated for the holidays.  Here are just a few displays that caught my eye:

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LongwoodThe maze in the enchanting children’s garden.

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LongwoodA very unusual color for a poinsettia, perfectly complimented.

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Longwood ChristmasThe camellias were blooming.

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Longwood Christmas-001The hibiscus were also in full flower.

As much as I enjoy the conservatories, the real magic of a Longwood Christmas is outside where half a million lights decorate hundreds of trees.  If you think you have seen it all before, I challenge you to come here and not be in awe.  Panoramic shots would really do the display justice, but holding the camera steady for night shots without a tripod proved difficult at best.  Here is a small sampling of the light extravaganza:

LongwoodA photo at dusk by the Peirce du Pont House

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LongwoodThe lights show up better in full dark but this effect was kind of surreal.

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LongwoodThe famous five-acre fountain garden.  It is hard to convey in photos the size and scale of Longwood.

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LongwoodLooking back inside the conservatories.

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Longwood ChristmasThis was my favorite wrapped tree hung with stars and displayed against the ink blue night.

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LongwoodMammoth copper beeches completely wrapped.

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If you are in the area, it is well worth a visit.  The display continues through January 6, and timed tickets are required.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  The 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar of the website and orders are being accepted.  To view the catalogue, click here.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA.  The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  The nursery is closed until spring 2013.  Thanks for a great year.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

 

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