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 Vincent 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.