A 28-foot Douglas fir tree trimmed with red glass ornaments and bright red begonias stands at the center of the stunning Christmas display. A water course, waves of red and pink poinsettias, and beds of white amaryllis and red cyclamen surround expanses of perfectly manicured green grass. Shrubs of red and white camellias and winterberry provide height, above beds of crimson lilies and white kalanchoe plants.
Beyond this glorious tree and its surroundings, on the other side of the four-acre glasshouse, is the Exhibition Hall featuring a very different color scheme. Here another tall Douglas fir surrounded with white poinsettias is hung with lavender and blue ornaments and swags of light beige gauze. This forms a focus for the coral poinsettias, white Oriental lilies and paperwhites set into the beds beside the pathways.
Finding Unique Displays
Moving on into other areas of the conservatory, one finds numerous trees decorated in keeping with the theme of each particular house. In the historic Orangery, for example, a tree is adorned with oranges and sweet alyssum and surrounded with ferns. In the Mediterranean house, fragrant with beds of lavender, the tree is decorated with mini wreaths of bay leaf and gold perfume bottles. In the Nectarine house, local schoolchildren have decorated numerous smaller trees, each with its own creative theme.
Palms and cycads are lit up with tiny green lights. A huge “poinsettia ball” dangles above the palms. Wreaths are composed of living herbs, orchids, ferns, paperwhites and pink pointsettias.
One of the World’s Great Gardens
Words cannot do justice to the drama, color and design, fragrance and perfection of this holiday show.
Longwood Gardens, located in Kennett Square, PA, justly describes itself as “one of the world’s great gardens.” Originating as an arboretum of centuries-old trees, the property was purchased in 1906 by Pierre S. du Pont in order to save the trees from being cut for lumber. He then began to create the garden as a labor of love, and as an object of his considerable philanthropy, for the enjoyment and education of the public. In the 1,077 acres of gardens, there is something interesting and beautiful for those of all ages all year round.
The open-air theatre fountain display is coordinated with favorite Christmas music. Outdoors, half a million lights shine throughout the woodland areas and pathways. For kids, Thomas and his friends roll along a fanciful miniature Christmas railway. Special events for children and adults, dances, concerts and caroling are scheduled throughout the holiday season.
“A Longwood Christmas” is open every day from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, but will close on January 9. However the gardens, and especially the grand conservatory, will continue to delight visitors throughout the winter. Special programs, along with various courses and workshops are scheduled all during the winter months.