Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Feeling stressed? 
Overwhelmed?  Like you want to
fast forward to the New Year?  Rest
assured you are not alone. When I feel
my holiday to-do list is much longer than the available hours in a day, I press
the reset button. For me that means getting outside and immersing myself in a
beautiful setting, ideally one that will put me in the holiday spirit. I have
found no better place than Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, one of over
thirty beautiful, public gardens in America’s Garden Capital.

Taking it all in at Longwood Gardens

Each year Longwood staff members put on a magical display
with a unique theme. The planning for the Christmas display begins in January,
before the previous year’s display has been retired. For 2018 the theme is Trees Reimagined. And re-imagine they did. Branches were wrapped
in lights of every color – apparently over 500,000 of them! Moving lights
created an extraordinary effect in some areas of the garden, continually
adjusting the color scheme of the landscape as Mother Nature would with the changing
of the seasons. Forests were illuminated to highlight the extraordinary wooden
skeletons that stood against the winter sky.

Moving lights illuminated the trees in a magical show

Trees alive and aglow

The colorful skeletons of the woodland

Lights were transformed into trees

Trees were created from poles and strings of lights and many
other materials like bird houses and stacks of books. I particularly liked knowing that Longwood
planned to donate many of these materials to natural lands organizations and
schools after the displays were disassembled. What’s better than a gift that
keeps on giving?

The bird house tree

A tree constructed of books

In the conservatory trees were suspended in the air like Stalactites
hanging from the ceiling of a cavern. Decorated trees adorned all of the other
conservatory rooms also, each one dressed in plant material appropriate to the
climate in which it was located.

Gravity defying trees in the conservatory
Trees made of air plants

A tree decorated in begonias

In the music room, local artist Dannielle
used software and meticulous folding and cutting techniques to
create works of art from books. At first
glance I thought the books were cut by laser, but later learned each piece was
crafted by hand over several days. The result was breathtaking. 

Paper poinsettias adorned the mantel

Some of Dannielle’s artistry

If like me you are feeling behind the eight ball with your
list of things to do, take a break and visit Longwood Gardens this season. You
won’t be disappointed, and I’m confident you’ll leave inspired and renewed.
Happy Holidays everyone. I’ll see you in 2019 for another year of blog posts.

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