The year 2015 was certainly the year of the botanical garden for the Garden Generalist! To wrap that year of adventure and plant babies, I visited Longwood Botanical Garden in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania to see “A Longwood Christmas.”
The Longwood Botanical Gardens are truly one of the most remarkable gardens I have seen to date. The garden itself consists of a 4 acre conservatory and a 1,077 acre outdoor garden. It also has history beginning around 1700 with the Lenni Lanape tribe, Quaker farmers, and culminating with the du Pont family in 1956 when the gardens went from being a private estate to a private garden.
The Christmas light display covered the expanse of the conservatory as well as the outdoor gardens. Here are some of the highlights:
This years theme for the lights was “fountains,” which meant that many of the lights were blue and white. Walking through the conservatory there were fountain features and the ornaments hanging on the many Christmas trees were inspired by icicles. My absolute favorite part of walking through the conservatory was seeing the succulent fountain. It’s stunning how the lights mimic water in color and how they intertwine with the plants themselves to create a visual sensation of flowing, falling water. If you’re looking for this dry succulent fountain, you can find it in the Silver Garden. All and all, this little beauty is absolutely on my list of garden goals.
Second on my list of garden goals are the many flower and plant inspired wreaths that were hanging around the different sections of the conservatory. The ones I was most impressed with were the orchid wreath and the cacti-succulent wreaths. The Orchid House‘s wreath was a living wreath made of moth orchids (Phalaenopsis KV Beauty) and Austral Gem® spleenwort fern(Asplenium dimorphum × difforme). The other wreath I loved was the succulent wreath, which, as far as I could tell, consisted of various echeveria, sempervivum, a yucca, and what may be a type of either crassula, delosperma, sedum, or milk bush. This pretty baby was found in the Silver Garden where Longwood houses their dry climate plants. Biggest garden goal for this next holiday season is making a living wreath with either succulents or orchids. Stay tuned for future blog posts about my attempts.
Garden goal number three: create a Christmas tree of air plants, or at least decorate a tree with them. In Longwood’s Cascade Garden there were many different species of bromeliads including a wall of tillandsia and this tree. While I haven’t had much luck with my air plants, I love seeing how versatile these plants are in tropical gardens.
My final garden goal: create a Wildlife Tree. This tree was designed with the express purpose of attracting and feeding birds that winter in Pennsylvania. The ornaments that adorn this tree are all edible and made with naturally occurring fruits and seeds.Two of my favorite ornaments were the Raisin Icicle and the Pinecone Feeder. If you check out this link, Longwood Botanical Gardens provides excellent instructions on how to create all the ornaments on this tree. It includes everything from ingredients to assembly. The best part about this particular tree is that it doesn’t have to be restricted to the holiday season. You can always feed the birds (or squirrels or chipmunks) with these treats year round!
Succulent fountains and Wildlife Trees aside, I look forward to learning about and growing all kinds of plants in 2016. Next up on the Garden Generalist is How to Store and When to Plant Spring Bulbs and When Aphids Attack!
Have you visited Longwood Botanical Gardens? Are you planning a trip to visit? Is there a part of my experience you would like to know more about? Leave a comment below or feel free to contact The Garden Generalist.