Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Longwood Gardens at Christmas

I've always wanted to visit Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. This is their centennial year and my husband and I have the week off, so we decided to take the trip today and see their Christmas display. Of course this week after Christmas is their busiest and neither of us do well with crowds, most certainly not after 2+ hours in the car, but the crowds weren't bad until we were ready to leave.

We spent a few hours wandering around the indoor conservatory and then walked the grounds for an hour or so at dusk and left just as the outdoor lights were looking their best. I had to do a lot of experimenting with the camera to be able to get decent pics of the gorgeous light festival, but I managed a few to share. This first pic is a favorite from the Beech Allée; at the end of a dozen or more Beech trees was a display of snowflakes and stars that seemed to be falling from the sky.

This blue spruce at right was gorgeous decked out in frosty blue lights and icicles. This is the main tree in the fountain garden which is done all in blue lights - really beautiful.

There was a lot that we didn't take the time to see in our hurry to be on our way home, like the ice-skating performance and lighted fountain show. I enjoyed just wandering along and seeing the way each tree was lighted to its best advantage. Many of the light displays had a garden theme - daffodils, crocuses, lilacs and wisteria formed from lights were blooming in the garden beds along the pathways - very unique and beautiful, but hard to photograph in the dark.

Tomorrow I hope to share some pics from the conservatory.

14 comments:

Mary said...

I've never been to Longwood Gardens but my daughter has been there a few times on trips with her schools while we lived in MD. Even as a middle-schooler, she loved it and I regret not going there with her. The second photo is gorgeous. I've been noticing blue Christmas lights and I really like them! Thanks for sharing something so nice...I wish I were there.

NatureWoman said...

Oh, Longwood Gardens is one of my most favorite places to visit as far as gardens go! Thank you SO much for sharing your winter photos as I've always wondered what it looks like that time of year. I usually go in in the spring / summer.

samtzmom said...

Sounds just beautiful Laura. Glad you all got to go and explore!

Ruth said...

I find it difficult to get good Christmas light photos. It is so easy to underexpose or overexpose the shot. Very nice results on your part.

Sandy said...

Sounds fun! I'm looking forward to the rest of the photos.

Anonymous said...

Great shots in the dark. The Christmas display is always a delight.

I've taken a few Certificate of Merit courses there. Even though it is an hour from my house, it is well worth the drive to have the instructors walk you around the property (and sometime into parts that are off the beaten track to find specimens and examples of the plants that we are studying.

Happy New Year!

Heather
Wayne, PA

LauraHinNJ said...

Mary: I had it in my head that Longwood was really far away - would like to try and get back to see it in each of the seasons.

I love the blue Christmas lights - but don't ever see them for sale?

Naturewoman: I bought a photo book to see what it looks like in season - must really be something!

Samtzmom: It was fun - wish it were closer. I think my husband enjoyed it also!

Ruth: Yes! I couldn't decide if I should use the flash or not. Most times the pic looked better without the flash, but I had to be really still. Most of the pics were very blurry. ;-(

Sandy: Too bad you're not closer, I think you'd really like the gardens.

Heather: Oh that sounds like a treat! I would love to get back and see the meadow in bloom in August - how pretty that must be!

Do you know if they grow most of the plants that are used in the Orangery displays? And what happens to them all when they put up the new seasonal display?

NatureWoman said...

Yes it is something in season! I should do some posts sometime of some of the many photos I've taken there.
We were able to tour their greenhouses, and they have tons of plants back there ready to rotate in for whatever they've got going on, or when a plant on display is looking slightly bad they replace it - always keeping things looking great.

silverlight said...

OOh, my but that looks so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Lynne said...

Sounds like a lovely evening, glad you got to go.

Laurie said...

What a neat place. The zoo in Billings (Montana) always decorates for the holiday season and I hope to get there next year to see it.

Susan Gets Native said...

Our zoo dresses up their trees for the holidays, but we never seem to get there to see it.

I have noticed blue lights quite a bit this year. It's a blue that is so intense, you can hardly really see it. Know what I mean?
I have been practicing with my camera, and it has a "fireworks" setting that works really well with Christmas lights at night.

Cathy said...

Oh! I've always wanted to visit Longwood Gardens. Thanks for the vicarious trip.

LauraHinNJ said...

Naturewoman: I'd love to see you do a post sometime!

Silverlight: Nice to see so much color and so many flowers this time of year. Glad you liked it.

Lynne: Yes and it wasn't even freezing cold!

Laurie: No zoos nearby, but I'd imagine the displays could be very creative!

Susan: My husband and I were trying to figure out what it was about the blue lights - they seem to play with your eyes somehow. Strange, but very pretty.

A fireworks setting on your camera? Cool. Does it say in the manual what the settings are?

Cathy: Oh you're welcome!