KENNETT SQUARE, PA- Escape to a balmy oasis filled with nearly 5,000 blooming orchids during Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens January 19 through March 24. Longwood’s heated 4-acre Conservatory provides an escape from winter’s chill, featuring thousands of colorful orchid blooms displayed in extraordinary ways. In addition to the one-of-a-kind horticultural display, Orchid Extravaganza features activities and programs for the entire family, including concerts, talks, tours, OrKid Days, and more. The Gardens are open daily from 9 am–5 pm.
Guests will be amazed as orchid blooms cascade down walls, spill from containers, and hang from the ceiling– featuring Cattleya, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum, and Oncidium, among others. In the Main Conservatory, a canopy of twelve pink and purple Orchid Orbs welcome you to a lush sanctuary of vibrant, artfully presented orchids. In the East Conservatory, Cymbidium Edith McDade arrangements with Tillandsia chains accentuate the Oval Basin, while three large Cymbidium Edith McDade baskets hang from above.
New this year, six 8-foot tall color blocked panels filled with Phalaenopsis create an awe-inspiring display in the Patio of Oranges. In the Acacia Passage, delicate cascading branches of cinnamon wattle beckons with fragrant blooms, while 18 urns filled with yellow and white Oncidium and Phalaenopsis line this picturesque passageway.
Additional indoor highlights include the Mediterranean Garden featuring a riot of vibrant color January through April with Australian purple coral-pea (Hardenbergia) vines blooming like miniature wisteria. In the Estate Fruit House, nectarines, melons, and other fruits and vegetables flourish in the midst of winter.
In early March, Longwood’s famed blue poppy (Meconopsis 'Lingholm') returns to the Conservatory. These spectacular flowers—which are native to the high elevations of the Himalayan Mountains— are grown using a special technique to force the blue-poppies to flower in March. The substantial petals are a mesmerizing sky-blue color, and are a must see.
OrKID Days are filled with wonder and fun for families. Discover the colors, patterns, and beauty of orchids through art activities and storytelling. OrKID Days are January 21, February 18, and March 9 from 11 am–2 pm. Free with Gardens Admission.
On Saturday, January 19 at 8 pm, Producer and Musical Director Damien Sneed brings the North American Tour of We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the Longwood stage. Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., We Shall Overcome showcases repertoire from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches.
Regarded around the world as one of today’s finest concert organists and the head judge for the 2019 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition, Todd Wilson will perform thrilling transcriptions by Edwin H. Lemare and Edwin Arthur Kraft, as well as the towering Sonata on the 94th Psalm by Julius Reubke on Saturday, February 9 at 8 pm.
On Thursday, March 14 at 8 pm, Sō Percussion showcases its innovative multi-genre original productions in its Longwood debut. Sō Percussion’s inventive repertoire and instrumentation spans everything from snare drums to flower pots.
On Friday, March 22 at 8 pm, David Briggs improvises organ accompaniment to the full-length classic American romantic silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). Currently artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, Briggs is praised for his musicality, virtuosity, and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages.
Special tickets are required for the performances and can be purchased online at longwoodgardens.org.
Orchid Extravaganza runs January 19–March 24. Admission is $23 for adults; $20 for seniors (age 62+); $13 for students (ages 5–18 or with valid student ID) and free ages 4 and under. Group rates available. For more details, visit longwoodgardens.org.
About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA, to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,083 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and 4.5-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by Mr. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the performing arts, through programming that includes exhibitions, musical performances by leading artists, renowned horticulture education programs, horticulture research, environmental stewardship and community engagement.