The Indoor Children’s Garden contains many mysterious and fascinating features – and invites your kids to participate in the magic.
In the Indoor Children’s Garden, we watched with delight (and not a little nostalgia) as an eight year old boy grabbed his mother to show her his favorite part of the garden – a stone fountain presided over by bronzed herons whose long tapering beaks would suddenly blow bubbles at irregular intervals.
We stood and watched his little body wait for the precious moment and then shiver uncontrollably when the miraculous happened – over and over. I wanted to hug him, but didn’t want to be arrested, and so smothered the impulse – heading to the restrooms for a tissue instead.
Not that the story was any less magical once there.
The softly lit, 300×14 foot green wall passage that houses individual restrooms and is tucked into a corner off the East Conservatory is the largest in North America and home to over 47,000 plants. Only Longwood could make visiting a public restroom a joyful experience.
A Longwood Christmas after dusk.
The Battalion warm and refreshed, it was time then to head back outside for Phase Three of the Birthday Death March – and yet no one was complaining too strenuously.
We bundled up, determined to get back down to the Large Lake, and accidentally took an unauthorized route that dropped us down into a valley of 80-foot trees sparkling with snowflakes and wrapped with thousands of lights. Christmas trees floated on the lake and the treehouse re-welcomed us with yet more candles and the promise of hot cocoa in a neighboring kiosk.
I thought for a moment of Longwood interns and employees fighting with tangled bunches of lights on 80 foot cranes.
I thought of cold little intern fingers struggling to hang giant snowflakes on cables.
I thought of cold little intern toes manning cocoa kiosks for visitors.
And then just as suddenly, I forgot about them. The effect created by all that hard work was simply too overwhelming to make room for anything else in my poor brain, however generous the sentiment.
We wandered the grounds for another hour, finding it hard to pry ourselves away from such a festive, inspiring sight. And during the car ride home we used that inspiration to finally start stringing the cranberries I had brought along in hopes that we might find our inner-elf by the end of the day.
Well done Longwood. The Beer Tents were a particularly nice touch. We’ll see you in spring for the tulips and summer for the ideas and no doubt I’ll marshal the troops for another Longwood Christmas next December. I have a sneaking suspicion I won’t have to plead this time.
December 22-January 1st are peak days for A Longwood Christmas and timed tickets via phone or online are required for entry. From January 2nd – 7th the crowds disperse but timed tickets are still required. Visit www.longwoodgardens.org for more information and pricing.
This article reprinted with kind permission of The Frederick News Post. For many more photos of A Longwood Christmas, follow The Small Town Gardener on Facebook.