A Longwood Christmas Celebrates Botanical Splendor

Trees are fully lit with icy blue and white lights during a Longwood Gardens Christmas

KENNETT SQUARE, PA… Towering trees glimmering with botanical ornaments, more than half-a-million dazzling lights artistically accenting the landscape, strolling carolers bringing holiday cheer, crackling firepits adding warmth to cozy winter evenings, and plenty of merry opportunities for festive fun abound November 18, 2022– January 8, 2023, during A Longwood Christmas. Tickets are available now at longwoodgardens.org. Timed Tickets are required.

This year’s theme for the popular holiday display, Botanical Splendor, elevates plants and natural elements into artisan holiday décor that transforms Longwood’s grand Conservatory and outdoor gardens into a holiday wonderland. Natural materials are whimsically woven throughout displays—fresh and preserved florals paint landscape canvases, dried branches and grasses become bursting stars, and grapevines transcend typical wreath configurations to form elegant hanging orbs.

A highlight of the holiday display is The Music Room, which this year is transformed into a lavish floral shop. The shop features extravagant floral arrangements created by instructors from Longwood’s floral design program, and intricate botanical drawings by students of Longwood’s botanical drawing classes. Not to be missed are couture gown-like sculptures fashioned from preserved, dried, and faux floral materials designed and handcrafted by students from Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. Collaboratively built for an interdisciplinary expression of art and design, these extraordinary works create complex visual narratives from celebratory botanicals in yuletide red to natural elegance that evokes a quiet forest floor. Together, these pieces show a wide range of “possibility.” Drexel and Longwood Gardens have a comprehensive partnership that has grown over the last year through the Drexel Solutions Institute and involves multiple, ongoing interdisciplinary research projects. Other unique touches in the room include a moss chair complete with a floral throw, a wall of holiday wreaths and festive finery, and a towering 18-foot Fraser fir decorated with red, champagne, gold, and mint green ornaments. 

Living works of art can be found throughout Longwood’s East Conservatory, where a succulent Christmas tree composed of hundreds of hardy hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum) greets guests. Suspended gold globes embellished with preserved botanicals beckon guests farther inside where they discover a botanical landscape in the Exhibition Hall featuring living trees made of colorful bromeliads and bold tropical plants, and a masterfully dressed 20-foot-tall tree adorned in red, gold, champagne, and silver ornaments. 

In the Acacia Passage, grapevine orbs of creamy white Phalaenopsis orchids, textural Tillandsia and Spanish-moss float overhead. The newly restored Orchid House celebrates the season with a series of colorful orchid orbs hanging overhead. Additional evergreen artistry is highlighted in the Silver Garden where a tree adorned with more than 100 handmade ornaments crafted from pressed and dried flowers from Longwood’s orchid collection.

In the Ballroom, the 18-foot Fraser fir is a vision of gold, pearl, silver, champagne, and preserved florals. Nine 12-foot Children’s Christmas Trees are lovingly dressed in garden-inspired ornaments crafted by local schools and organizations from Bryn Mawr (PA), Downingtown (PA), Exton (PA), Hockessin (DE), Pottstown (PA), Wilmington (DE), and West Grove (PA).    

Outdoor Highlights

A botanically inspired art installation in the Rose Arbor radiates an enchanting lighting pattern throughout the space. Stroll down the Flower Garden Drive under a shower of cascading lights to the ever-popular Wildlife Tree draped in whimsically carved gourd lights and handcrafted ornaments that offer grains and seeds to feed nature’s furry friends.

View glowing luminaries arranged in an alternating leaf pattern at the Large Lake, and gaze upon the new icy blue and white light installation at the Italian Water Garden while warming up by the fire pit. A winding path of illuminated grasses lights the way along the Meadow Boardwalk as guests make their way to the beloved 200-foot-long shimmering Meadow Tunnel.

For the first time ever, the Pear-Shaped Basin near the Chimes Tower is home to a 30-foot-tall floating tree, lit in stunningly icy elements. After gazing upon the scene, warm up at the fire pit at Pumphouse Plaza. 

In the Main Fountain Garden, a new 150-foot-long light tunnel beckons, while in the Open Air Theatre, fountains dance to holiday classics during 5-minute shows that run throughout the day and evening. 

Young and old will delight in the holiday Garden Railway as it travels past miniature Longwood landmarks decorated for the holiday season. Nearby, the Beer Garden and Café offer festive food options for the family. 

A Longwood Christmas runs November 18, 2022–January 8, 2023. Admission to the holiday display is by Timed Admission Ticket, with tickets purchased in advance for a specific date and time. Members require free, timed reservations every day. Gardens Premium Members and Innovators do not require reservations. Tickets and reservations are available now at longwoodgardens.org.

About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre S. 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 1,100 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and grand conservatory. Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont, bringing joy and inspiration to everyone through the beauty of nature, conservation, and learning. Open daily, Longwood is one of more than 30 gardens in the Philadelphia region known as America’s Garden Capital. For more information, visit longwoodgardens.org.