Only rarely is a garden so beautiful you must see it at night. Every winter, Longwood Gardens in the Brandywine Valley is one of those places. Not a thing is growing and the air is as chilly as a refrigerator but the setting is so wonderful huge crowds arrive to take it all in.
Outside, trees drip with colored lights. A train garden turns grown men into little boys. Tree houses are filled with children and adults filled with delight. The fountains dance to the light and colors of the season.
Inside, the conservatory features banks of poinsettias, towering trees and whimsical displays. This year the theme seemed to be birds and they were everywhere. Cardinals flew around a Christmas tree. Hummingbirds hovered over tropical plants. Swans presided over a lush garden. I loved the penguins frolicking among icebergs — and desert plants. Even the bonsai trees get into the act with a Charlie Brown-like tree.
Go see it before it closes Jan. 11. But just in case you can’t get to Kennett Square, Penn., here’s a peek at Longwood’s holiday glory.
© Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman