Longwood dresses up for the holidays
By J. Chambless
More than 500,000 outdoor lights will be hung in 124 trees.
This year's holiday extravaganza at
Longwood Gardens has a French accent.
The French-inspired holiday display in the four-acre Conservatory has fanciful topiary and more than 50 trees with sparkling crystal ornaments reminiscent of the splendor of Versailles. Outside, illuminated stars twinkle above, colorful fountains dance to holiday music, and half a million lights brighten the night.
Inside Longwood’s Conservatory are
16,000 seasonal plants, including poinsettias, cyclamen and
anthurium. In the Exhibition Hall, an array of floating cranberries
and apples are set in intricate, swirling botanical patterns,
creating a carpet of color. The Music Room will transport guests to
Versailles with its ornate and a mirrored dining table set for
Christmas Eve dinner. Upon entering the Conservatory, guests will
encounter a 25-foot-tall concolor fir garnished with blue, copper and
gilded ornaments amid a topiary border.
Throughout the season, Longwood’s Ballroom will feature free and ticketed holiday-inspired performances as well as daily holiday sing-alongs performed on Longwood’s pipe organ. The Strolling Olde Towne Carolers add to the holiday charm on select evenings. The lineup includes:
Nov. 30 – Turks Head Brass Quintet, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 4 – Philadelphia Bronze Handbell Choir, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 5 – Rehoboth Welsh Choir, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 6 – Cherokee High School Chamber Choir and Girls Ensemble, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 7 – Drexel University Chorus, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 11 – Council Rock North “NorthVoice,” 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 12 –The Forty Niners Chorus, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 13 – Voce and The Belles of East, Cherry Hill High School East, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 14 – Oxford Choral Ensemble, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 18 – Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School Chorale, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 19 – Chester County Choral Society, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 20 – Central Bucks High School-West Choir, 7 and 8 p.m.
Dec. 21 – Chancel Choir of First Presbyterian Church, West Chester, 7 and 8 p.m.
More than 500,000 outdoor lights will be hung in 124 trees, with the tallest tree topping more than 90 feet. Outdoor favorites return, including the illuminated Italian Water Garden, and two 8-foot Concolor Firs in the Hourglass Lake Pavilion ornamented with materials. The popular Wildlife Tree has edible ornaments made from wheat, apples, and birdseed. The Gardener’s Tree has handcrafted ornaments and garland made with angel vine and Mediterranean textiles draping the 26–foot Norway Spruce.
Created by Longwood craftsmen and local artisans, three fire pits will be placed throughout the Gardens, allowing guests to warm up by the fire on cool evenings. The fire pits will be available every night throughout the holiday season, weather permitting.
In the Open Air Theatre, fountains dance day and night to holiday classics. Longwood’s outdoor train display, located near the Birdhouse Treehouse, travels past miniature Longwood landmarks lit for the holiday season. In the Chimes Tower, the 62–bell carillon plays holiday music every half-hour.
Admission to the Christmas display is by Timed Admission Ticket, with tickets purchased in advance for a specific date and time. There is no admittance to the gardens without a timed admission ticket. Guests should buy tickets before arriving. Tickets are $23 for ages 18 and older ($20 for ages 62 and older and college students, $12 for ages 5 to 18, free for ages 4 and younger).
Tickets are available now and can be purchased at www.longwoodgardens.org, or call 610-388-1000.