Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Longwood Gardens ~ Winter in the Outdoor Gardens

Lover's Tower by the Large lake
 A few photos that I daringly took while trying to avoid frostbite at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA just after Christmas. The conservatory is a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon, sampling all of their holiday delights. Outside it is extremely windy, though the temperatures in eastern Pennsylvania are milder than in my part of PA (the west side).

There seem not too many visitors who venture into the outdoor gardens in the wintertime. Most sensible people choose instead to luxuriate in the balmy conservatory. This might explain the lack of significant winter interest (no autumn snowdrops or Helleborus niger for instance).  But where there are eyes to see, there is always something beautiful in a garden - and especially in a garden this large!

Bedecked entrance gate
Long view to your right upon entrance
The Topiary Garden, looking crisp at the end of December with the Conservatory behind
Wonderfully old yews, clipped various ways
A view from the Topiary Garden down to the main fountain area and the Paulownia Allee
The Paulownia Allee looking back the other direction
Chimes Tower with carillon bells. Winterberry holly in front for the season.
Woodland garden behind the Chimes Tower; a wealth of Epimediums carpet the forest floor under magnificent trees
We went looking for flowering Helleborus. None yet as they seem to all be H. orientalis
A low-maintenance turf experiment: different mixes receive one, two or no mowings per year.
 Bodnant's viburnum just breaking into bud (Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn').
Pretty texture of Willowleaf Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster salicifolius cv. repens)
Back around to the fountain area, looking up to the Topiary Garden
An avenue of Caryopteris 'Longwood Blue' down to the favorite wedding spot.
A view from the opposite direction, toward the Conservatory
Lovely bamboo crowding the scene. I have seen seating set up on this end for intimate wedding gatherings
The venerable conservatory: Though it has a cool stone exterior, the inside is filled with a wealth of warm holiday flora.
This yew was moved at a mature 100 years by Pierre du Pont to this location, nearly a hundred years ago.
Walking to the east gardens brought me a view of this beech hedge in just its winter framework behind the curved seat.
Large lake
I will always remember my first view of this "Lover's Tower" and lake. There is a journey through the woods to the bottom of the hill, then it opens up. My breath was literally taken away when I saw it through the verdant July foliage and billowing hydrangeas. (Perhaps I will plunge into the archives for those photos later.) In winter, it has a quieter beauty, but its design stands out in the stark contrast of browns and greys.

Some vibrant golden-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea') that captured my eye throughout the garden.
Small garden building along the walk back to the gate with a red-twig dogwood.
The Open-Air Theatre is used frequently for fountain and musical performances including carols in December.
A sunset view to the sky past the rose arches... rather Hidcote-esque if you squint.
I hope you have enjoyed these views from the comfort of your warm, cozy living room or study. These two weeks later, my nose and fingers have mostly thawed out.

If you have not yet marveled at the warm conservatory views of the famous Longwood Christmas, you really should; these were taken with much less sacrifice on the photographer's part.

One more from Longwood Gardens in my posts this past week:
Longwood's Green Wall (Indoor Vertical Garden)


  1. What a beautiful place...even in winter, so much to see!

  2. Hi Julie,
    When you wrote on my blog, "strange winter in PA" I immediately thought of Longwood, so it was very fun to see your recent posts. I think that garden is just amazing- it is completely over the top with so many unexpected surprises. Thanks for your lovely tour, I am grateful to see it in winter, and your shots were beautiful. I do think that the sunset view through the rose arches is very Hidcote-esque, even without squinting! Great posts- thank you!

  3. i really have to see this garden for myself! thanks for the visit! me

  4. Julie I am glad you braved the cold to take these stunning shots!

  5. Wow, it does look spectacular--even in winter! Next time I'm in Pennsylvania I'll have to visit. It must be breathtaking in springtime!

  6. OH, it's SOOOOO lovely. I love Longwood but since I live 7 hours away I've only happened upon it during the spring tulipfest. I would love to go in all seasons, every month would be really nice.

    My husband and I were just talking about what it would be like in winter - thanks for the tour - it's beautiful! I do love seeing the structures a little more defined during the winter.


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