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Longwood Gardens dazzles with 'Winter Wonder'

Andre Lamar
Delaware News Journal

If you thought Longwood Gardens wasn’t worth visiting this time of year, then you might want to reconsider that. In fact, the botanical garden has a new display dedicated to the beauty surrounding this season, "Winter Wonder,'' which runs through March 22.

Patricia Evans, communications director for Longwood Gardens, said their gardens are often overlooked during the winter because of a myth.

Longwood Gardens' new 'Winter Wonder' display gives guests a good reason to visit the site this season.

“Winter is the time when many plants are dormant, so many people don’t think there is anything to see in a garden," Evans said. "But actually, winter is when some of a plant’s most interesting characteristics can really be appreciated, such as ornamental fruit, seeds pods, the bark of trees, etc.

"That’s what 'Winter Wonder' is all about," she added. "Gardens are beautiful in different ways throughout the year, and we want to help our guests experience that.”

'Winter is the time when many plants are dormant, so many people don’t think there is anything to see in a garden,' said Patricia Evans,  communications director for Longwood Gardens.

African culture and plans 

A highlight of "Winter Wonder'' is the new exhibit, "Voices in the Landscape: Deeply Rooted with Charlotte Blake Alston.'' It’s a love letter to the relationship African Americans have with horticulture.

'Winter Wonder' features a new installation, 'Voices in the Landscape: Deeply Rooted with Storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston,' that celebrates the African American community through horticulture and the power of story.

The experience invites guests to journey through a series of 10 stops throughout the gardens and experience Alston’s spoken words.

If you visit this winter, you'll hear an ancient Zulu-creation myth paired with one of the oldest plants on earth in the Conservatory. At the Lookout Loft Treehouse, you’ll 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. Not to mention, you can immerse yourself in the life and impact of “The Plant Doctor” George Washington Carver, and much more.

“The African-American community has made significant contributions to horticulture, and through the beautiful words of Charlotte Blake Alston,” Evans said, “we are thrilled to share a part of that very important story. Gardens are places for reflection and learning.”

Navigating the pandemic at Longwood

Longwood has enacted new visiting protocols to ensure the safety of its guests, including greatly limiting capacities to allow for social distancing, requiring masks indoors and outdoors, unless guests are able to socially distance, and instituting one-way paths.

More from Andre Lamar: Everyone hated 2020. But these Delaware artists found inspiration in a tough year, too

The communications director said they’re sanitizing Longwood frequently and they’re requiring tickets be purchased online ahead of your visit. They’ve also instituted contact-less entry.

Snowfall can really transform Long Gardens' personality into something even more gorgeously aesthetic.

“We reopened to the public in July and our guests have really enjoyed the chance to get out and enjoy our hundreds of acres of beauty,” Evans said. “We have kept connected with our guests by moving many of our education programs online and have created an online library of recorded concerts, videos, plant information, exhibitions and activities for all ages to enjoy.”

An s-curved bridge is graced with a dusting of snow at Longwood Gardens.

Guests can check out virtual experiences here.

Go: 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Monday. Admission is $25 adults; $22 seniors (Ages 62); $22 college students (with ID); $18 active or retired U.S. military or U.S. vet (with valid ID); $13 youth (ages 5-18); Free children (ages 4 and under). longwoodgardens.org; (610) 388-1000