Archive for Longwood Orchid Extravaganza

A Cure for Cabin Fever

Posted in garden to visit, winter interest with tags , , on January 31, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 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.

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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.

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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.

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Construction of the archway—it’s big!

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Orchid orbs hanging in the East Conservatory.

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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.

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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.

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

.….and ferns were coming out.

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

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

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

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

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

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The Cascade Garden

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The Tropical Terrace

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

Carolyn

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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.

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Cold Weather Antidote: Longwood’s Orchids

Posted in garden to visit, winter, winter interest with tags , , , on February 23, 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 East conservatoryFor Longwood Garden’s Orchid Extravaganza, the East Conservatory is filled with yellows, blues, creams, and whites—one of my favorite color combinations.

Before I get to my cold weather antidote, I want to mention another upcoming breath of spring:  The Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest indoor flower show in the world.  The theme this year is “Brilliant”, a tribute to the majestic culture and creative gardening tradition of Great Britain.  It runs from March 2 through March 10 at the Philadelphia Convention Center.  I will be giving a presentation on Sunday, March 3, at 5:00 pm in the Gardener’s Studio on “Hellebores for Your Garden: Selection, Maintenance, and Division”—don’t miss it!


Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'
‘Jelena’ witch hazel outside the Longwood Cafe.  I highly recommend eating there when you visit.  The food is very good, especially the local mushroom soup, and in the winter you can sit by a fire.

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Hamamelis x intermedia 'Luna'‘Luna’ witch hazel also outside the cafe.

On a recent Friday, my husband and I were suffering from cabin fever and decided to visit Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, US.  For 2012 to 2013, I have been writing posts every couple of months about Longwood (last year I choose Chanticleer), and I will provide links to my posts at the end.  Usually we walk around outside, but it was cold, overcast, and raining so we opted to explore The Orchid Extravaganza in the conservatories instead.  I did photograph some token but gorgeous witch hazels on our mad dash for the cafe, and I have included their photos above to show what braver souls were viewing.

Longwood East ConservatoryThese lovely arrangements of moth orchids greet you as you come through the main entrance into the East Conservatory.

 

I am not an orchid lover and really know little about them.  But I knew that if Longwood did orchids, they would surpass my wildest expectations, and they did.  Orchids are an over-the-top plant perfect for an over-the-top display, and Longwood is the perfect place to view them.  Longwood has 9,000 orchids in its collection and used 5,000 plants, representing 2,300 species and cultivars, to decorate its four acres of conservatories for the current display.  Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe it so I will have to use photographs, beginning with more of the East Conservatory:

Longwood East ConservatoryWhen we entered, a bride and groom were having their wedding pictures taken.

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Longwood East Conservatory.

Longwood East Conservatory.

Longwood East Conservatory

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Longwood Velvet Groundsel & Flowering-bush PlectranthusThe yellow-flowered plant on the left is velvet groundsel and the blue on the right is flowering-bush plectranthus.  

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Longwood East Conservatory.

Longwood East ConservatoryLooking back down the East Conservatory towards the main entrance.

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Longwood orchid orbThis orchid orb, at the far end of the East Conservatory, contains 160 0rchids and weighs 200 pounds.  The custom metal frame was constructed by Longwood craftspeople.

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Longwood orchid orbA close up of the orb.

From the East Conservatory we entered the Exhibition Hall with its sunken and flooded marble floor surrounded by tree ferns:

Longwood Exhibition HallAbove the Exhibition Hall hangs an “orchid chandelier” featuring over 100 yellow Cymbidium orchids, 200 white Phalaenopsis orchids, and Algerian ivy.

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Longwood Exhibition Hall.

DSCN9176This 13′ tall arch at the other end of the Exhibition Hall is composed of 800 yellow Phalaenopsis orchids and is much prettier in person.

The third huge room in the conservatories is called the Orangery and features colorful displays of a wide range of unusual plants:

Longwood Orangery

Florist’s cyclamen, tulips, and oriental hybrid lilies underplant bronze-leaved clerodendrum.

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Longwood OrangeryVine-covered pillars line the walk around the edge of the Orangery.

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Longwood Orangery.

Longwood OrangeryI was particularly taken with this combination of ‘Tete-a-Tete’ narcissus, orange mother-of-thousands, ferns, and orange roses.

No matter what time of year you visit the conservatories, between 200 and 500 orchids are on display in the Orchid House.  The orchids residing there during this special show are the cream of the crop.  I have diligently copied the names off the tags because I know a lot of readers are orchid fans.  But beware, my career as a recorder at the Philadelphia Flower Show receiving the orchid entries was short-lived after trying to deal with their confusing names.  

orchid x Laeliocattleya g. (unnamed) x Laeliocattleya g. (unnamed)

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orchid no labelOne of my favorites but there was no label.

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Schomburgkia undulataSchomburgkia undulata

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x Sophrolaeliocattleya Rosemary Clooney 'Wanre'x Sophrolaeliocattleya Rosemary Clooney ‘Wanre’

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Miltoniopsis Mary SugiyamaMiltoniopsis Mary Sugiyama

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x Beallara Pluto's Drummer 'Pacific Pink'x Beallara Pluto’s Drummer ‘Pacific Pink’

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x Sophrolaeliocattleya g. Jewel Box 'Dark Waters'x Sophrolaeliocattleya g. Jewel Box ‘Dark Waters’

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Dendrobium Oriental Smile 'Fantasy'Dendrobium Oriental Smile ‘Fantasy’

Orchids are beautifully incorporated into most of the many gardens in the West Conservatory Complex.  Here are a few of my favorite combinations, but it is well worth a walk through the whole area:

x Bratonia Kauai's ChoiceDozens of this eye-catching orchid, x Bratonia Kauai’s Choice, surround the waterfall in the Cascade Garden designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

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Orchids with Calathea lancifolia, prayer plantIn the Tropical Terrace, white orchids are planted among this striking prayer plant, Calathea lancifolia.

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Orchids with 'Moonlight Bay' aglaonema & 'Lutea' elephant's-ear plantAlso in the Tropical Terrace, yellow orchids with ‘Moonlight Bay’ aglaonema and ‘Lutea’ elephant’s-ear plant.

Despite all the grandeur of the big orchid displays, my favorite orchid presentations are found in some of the smaller and narrower gardens.   Perfect specimens from the same orchid family but in varying colors are displayed in containers like majestic houseplants.  If I had orchids this is how I would want to present them:

Lady's Slipper OrchidsA small garden, called the Garden Path, on the left side of the East Conservatory was lined with moss planters of lady’s slipper orchids.

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Lady's Slipper Orchid.

Lady's Slipper Orchid

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Dancing Ladies OrchidsAlong the Acacia Passage are ceramic containers of dancing ladies orchids.

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Reed-Stem orchidsPots of reed-stem orchids line the Fern Passage.

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Reed-Stem orchidsreed-stem orchid

The Longwood Orchid Extravaganza runs through March 24.  If you are coming, check the website because there are lots of special events scheduled.  If you are not in the area, I hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour.

To read more about Longwood Gardens, follow these links:

Groundcovers, Thinking Outside the Box

Longwood Gardens Part 2: At Night

A Longwood New Year’s Eve

Carolyn

I am linking this post to Les’s blog A Tidewater Garden for his annual winter walk-off where bloggers show photos from a winter trip where they did a lot of walking.  Since my husband and I walked Longwood’s conservatories for two hours, Les tells me that this post qualifies.  Follow the link to see Les’s professional quality photos and where other bloggers took their walk.

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US, zone 6b.  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:  We are now accepting reservations for our very popular Hellebore Seminars to be held on Friday, March 15 (only 3 spaces left) at 1:30 pm and Monday, March 18, at 10:00 am.  For details, click here.  The 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar of the website and orders are being accepted now.  To view the catalogue, click here.  The 2013 General Catalogue is available 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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