Friday, November 30, 2018

The Tree Reimagined

The theme for A Longwood Christmas this holiday season is the Tree Reimagined. The day after Thanksgiving, my family gathered at Longwood Gardens to see silvery firs suspended over a pool (above), outdoor trees covered in half a million lights, and in the library a tannenbaum made of books, to name a few of the imaginative displays. This is the second year in succession we have traveled from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Arizona to this venue as part of our Thanksgiving celebration. It's becoming a tradition.  A double joy for me: my children and grandchildren together in one place PLUS beautiful gardens.

A stunning combination of reds, silvers, and greens.

I wish we had returned to the Exhibition Hall in the conservatory after dark to see the suspended Christmas trees reflected in the pool. I think that is when the arrangement is most showy. I must say, last year's Parterre Garden display was more dramatic -- click HERE.

Suspended Christmas trees

While the trees were the focal point, we didn't see all of them because it was just too crowded to get around. I would have preferred a less busy day, but my son and his family were flying back to Arizona the next morning. Here is just a taste of Longwood's Christmas trees this year:

Four very differently decorated trees -- the one at top right is made of books
A carpet of sweet yellow begonias accentuate a tree covered with poinsettias.
My favorite color combination

The Peirce du Pont House contains the tree made of books, shown above, and more traditional-style decorations ...

Traditional decorations make a pleasing display

Of course, there are more than Christmas trees at this year's A Longwood Christmas:

Plants from the 'ordinary' to the exotic
My son-in-law, Scott, photographed these colorful specimens.
I love this Pascuito (Euphorbia leucocephala)
Thomas makes an appearance in the train garden

There are always numerous poinsettias at this event. Read about them on Longwood's blog. I have a new favorite, one I hadn't noticed previously: Winter Rose™ Early Red (Euphoria pulcherrima) displayed at Longwood with a striking Elephant's-ear plant (Alocasia x amazonica 'Polly'.)

Elephant's ear and my new favorite poinsettia

 A few days after our Longwood Gardens' trip, my husband and I traveled to Cape May, NJ for a mini vacation. Most of the town is already decorated for Christmas. Our favorite B&B is using the Winter Rose poinsetta in its displays. The owner, Anna Marie, told me a poinsettia story and gave me a useful watering tip. She said the first time she used poinsettias in Christmas displays at the hotel, she mixed live plants with artificial ones. She assigned the task of watering to one person who didn't realize that some were not real plants, and liberally watered every pot. As a result, at the end of the season they needed to replace a ruined floor. Now she uses only live plants and has learned to water them by placing ice cubes on the soil in the pot. As the ice melts, it provides the slow-release watering method that poinsettia prefers. I'm going to try this with the two Winter Rose poinsettas that I brought home. 

Winter rose poinsettias at the Queen Victoria Bed and Breakast

I returned from Longwood and Cape May motivated to begin decorating my own house. Last weekend, grandson Jon and I made the plum pudding, traditional English fruit cake, and mincemeat for the pies. Next week we will go to the tree farm and choose a large tree for the den, a small one for the garden room, and various wreaths. Let the festivities begin ...

Pamela x

Mantel decor ideas at Longwood

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