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

I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! 
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Sigh ... imagine a tree of books ... I'd have enough to read for a year. Still waiting impatiently for our renovated library to reopen.

  2. What a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving with your family and there's certainly ample inspiration there for seasonal decorations.

  3. So gorgeous! Oh how I miss going there every year!
    Thanks for posting these gorgeous photos!

  4. Such a wonderful place to visit, and even more special to have your family with you too. What a great tip for watering poinsettias, definitely something to try.

  5. Christmas is my favourite time of year! As a traditionalist, I too adore the tree covered with lavender & silvery blue baubles. I've actually never thought to go away at this time of year, especially to a non-tropical destination. You've opened my eyes on that front:)

  6. Thank you for sharing these beautiful gardens. I hope to make it there some year. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  7. Very funny story regarding the artificial plant watering. Poinsettia, Myra received one of these indoor plants last year, bright red leaves which turned green in the Spring. She found a way to return the leaves to their red colour. Twelve weeks before Christmas place the plant in a dark cupboard every evening remembering to return to the windosill in the mornings. True enough, all the new leaves are appearing red. Have a great Christmas Alistair. ps, I notice when you left a comment on my site you did not leave a link to your own blog. Was this intentional, I only ask as someone got in touch with me to say they were unable to leave a comment,