KENNETT SQUARE, PA- Longwood Gardens today announced Winter Wonder, a new display that invites guests to experience the often-overlooked beauty and serenity of the winter landscape outside, as well as the colorful exuberance of the tropics inside Longwood’s Conservatory. In addition to the horticultural splendor, Winter Wonder features Voices in the Landscape: Deeply Rooted with Storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, a new exhibit honoring the strength, resilience, and contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture and the power of story. Winter Wonder is on view January 23-March 21. Tickets and Member reservations must be made in advance and are available now at longwoodgardens.org.
Winter is the time of year to appreciate the stark beauty of the outdoor gardens. Although plants lie dormant, some of their most interesting characteristics, such as ornamental fruit, seed pods, and bark become more evident. Guests can stroll throughout the winter gardens, appreciating the witch hazel, Cornelian-cherries, grasses, winter-aconite, and other plants that offer pops of color across the landscape, while exploring the Meadow Garden’s symphony of subtle copper and umber hues.
Indoors, a fragrant and colorful tropical oasis from ceiling to floor awaits. Jasmine, cape-primrose, and lipstick-plants are just some of the more than 50 hanging baskets throughout the Conservatory. Colorful cymbidiums, clivia, primulas, lilies, azaleas, African-violets and more fill the conservatory with vibrant color. 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.
Voices in the Landscape: Deeply Rooted with Storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston
A highlight of Winter Wonder is the new exhibit Voices in the Landscape: Deeply Rooted with Charlotte Blake Alston. The experience invites guests to journey through a series of 10 stops throughout the Gardens and experience Alston’s moving spoken words. Hear an ancient Zulu creation myth paired with one of the oldest plants on Earth in the Conservatory; make your way to the Lookout Loft Treehouse and discover the story of the significance and symbolism of woods and meadows; call out the name of an ancestor in remembrance at the Large Lake while a traditional spiritual soothes your soul; immerse yourself in the life and immeasurable impact of “The Plant Doctor” George Washington Carver, and much more.
“I am pleased to have been invited to partner with Longwood Gardens to remember, honor and celebrate the strength, resiliency and contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture,” said Charlotte Blake Alston. “I believe in the power of words and the power of story to inform and transform.”
Charlotte Blake Alston is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator, singer, and librettist. She has appeared at the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the National Storytelling Festival, and the National Festival of Black Storytelling. She was one of two storytellers selected to present at the historic weekend opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Alston has appeared as host and narrator on The Philadelphia Orchestra’s school and family concerts since 1991, and was the featured host, storyteller, and narrator on the Carnegie Hall Family and School Concert series from 1995 to 2016. She has received numerous honors and awards including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Commonwealth of PA Artist of the Year Award, the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award, and the Zora Neale Hurston Award, the highest award conferred by the National Association of Black Storytellers. In 2015, she received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Alumni Association of the Friends Select School, where she taught prior to launching her artistic career. It is an honor she greatly cherishes.
When experiencing Voices in the Landscape in the Gardens, it is recommended to use headphones when listening to the audio files via your phone. The exhibit is also available online for those who are unable to visit in person at https://longwoodgardens.org/voices-landscape
Winter Wonder is on view January 23–March 21. 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. The Gardens are open 10 am -5 pm daily except for Tuesdays. 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 1,100 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. Longwood is one of more than 30 gardens in the Philadelphia region known as America’s Garden Capital. For more information, visit longwoodgardens.org.