Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Deck the Halls

A whirlwind trip up to Longwood Gardens, last week, was a Christmas treat for Peter and me.  There is probably almost nothing better than a visit to this place during the holidays to get a gardener (or anyone else with even the slightest appreciation of flowers) into the spirit of the season.  To top off the day, we also made a stop in Lancaster County, PA. to pickup a cupola for our soon-to-be studio showroom and lunch at another favorite haunt of ours, Terrain in Glen Mills, PA, just 15 minutes from Longwood.

Our first stop, early in the day, on the windy, cold eve of the eve of Christmas Eve was early in the morning at the home of an Amish craftsman.  It was a big and lovely home with no electricity, at least to the house but I couldn't tell if there was electricity in his workspace.  However, it really didn't matter.  We were only there long enoughto load the cupola and then we were off--vying for road space with a horse and buggy on it's way to somewhere in the same direction as we were headed, it's occupants all bundled from head to toe in black wool to help keep the winter winds at bay--probably an unwelcomed photographer or two as well.  I, on the other hand, was very thankful for the heated cab of our truck as well as the windows rolled up tight.

Then, it was off to Terrain and lunch in their atrium-style cafe. It may have been cold outside, but the weather was quite agreeable inside as we dined on salmon tea sandwiches and lavender cupcakes for dessert...delicious!   The Terrain Cafe was not very crowded for it being two days before Christmas. I suppose everyone was in the malls instead. So, we were able to enjoy their contemporary "UP-North take" on floral design and Christmas decking throughout the place at our leisure.  Walls of beautiful wreaths, masses of narcissus and wintry whites mixed with vintage lights makes for a very pleasant shopping atmosphere.  It's just as pretty here in the dead of winter as it was in the heat of summer.

All good things must come to an end but, lucky for us, it only got better as the day went on.  Time for "Le Piece De Resistance!"  Crimson red winter berry greeted us at the entrance way and continued to dress up just about everything in sight confirming my belief that you can't have enough of this beautiful shrub in your yard, flowering white in late spring and early summer with rich green leaves giving way to plump red berries that attract birds into late fall and early winter.  Although it was cold, the day was sunny and bright and the dormant plants, bare trees and evergreens outside exhibited quiet beauty and elegance.

Inside he conservatory, poinsettias in a rainbow of colors, bright red begonias, intricately painted amaryllis and true-blue hydrangeas, among so many more beautiful yet delicate flowers, coupled with glittering ornaments and sparkling ribbons bedecks the halls of the conservatory at Longwood Gardens.

Cyclamens, winter berry and evergreens frame the giant begonia bedecked Christmas tree.

Poinsettia standards stand guard at almost every doorway into yet more beautifully decorated rooms.              


Moving through the magical conservatory rooms, the serene atmosphere keeps the visitors, adults and children alike, in a quiet mood while taking in the scents and sights....

Silvers, golds and wintry whites framed the array of  colorful gardens.
Some of the greenhouses attached to the conservatory were open for inspection as well and everything looked wonderful.  I often pride myself with keeping my own modest greenhouse fairly clean but mine is nothing compared to the pristine condition these greenhouses are kept in.  I think you could eat off of the floor here however, they would probably frown on that.  A workroom, pictured below is kept in "apple-pie order."  It always helps to have an army of employees to keep it that way but they also know the importance of organization and cleanliness, even in the gardening world.

We came upon trees decorated with lavender as well as lemons.  Both looked as though they would make perfect table centerpieces.

There is a beautiful glassed-in exhibit of bonsais to see as well.  Small stands of tiny forests, perfectly coiffed and tenderly cared for.

Intricate living wreaths adorned the walls everywhere...

The children's garden room is a castle turret with a small maze planted with amaryllis. Whimsical fountains and secret doorways made me want to linger there a while longe but there was still more to see.

Finally, at the other end of the conservatory, there is a hallway straight out of Star Trek,The Next Generation, featuring a green wall that is truly unique and definitely green planted with ferns, vines, ivys and tropical plants.  The doorways are actually individual bathrooms but they could be doorways to anywhere, like the future, the past or a whole new world.

There is so much to see here at Longwood Gardens that it is almost overwhelming--in a good way--and we survived on floral overload and all.  It was a great way to spend a holiday day and we left with wonderful memories and ideas to incorporate in our own winter decorations.  It made for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for us and I hope you have Happy Holidays. too.

1 comment:

  1. The many trees there are delightfully decorated. I especially liked the lavender bedecked tree.
    And oh, my -- salmon tea sandwiches and lavender cupcakes!