Longwood Gardens’ Magical Shape Christmas

The indoor and outdoor display at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA ends its six-week run on Jan. 5. The focus is on “Shapes of Christmas” and includes a jaw-dropping 350 foot ribbon made of bending Italian poplar, covered with gilded wallpaper, and edged with crushed walnuts shells and glitter.

Fern Conservatory, photo by Amy Sparwasser

Magical Conservatories

A family tradition for many years, visiting Longwood Gardens, is a feast for the senses. Colorful lights, pine scented greens, paper white’s floral fragrance, and pipe organ music escaping from the organ room, surround you as you enter the Conservatories under glass.

Orchid wreath in Conservatory, photo by Amy Sparwasser
Poinsettia tree, photo by Amy Sparwasser

Two giant glass enclosed spaces hit visitors first, as they enter the Conservatories, where on the Fern Floor, the wooden ribbon spreads across the shiny floor, and then winds up a 22-foot tree on the stage above it.

Enormous Christmas balls were arranged on the Fern floor, photo by Amy Sparwasser
Mediterranean part of the Longwood Christmas Conservatory
Sun is setting while in the Conservatory, photo by Amy Sparwasser

Cascade Garden with Bromeliads and Tillandsias, photo by Amy Sparwasser
Red Winterberry in the main Conservatory, photo by Amy Sparwasser

The Conservatories are decked out with traditional Christmas flowers, like Poinsettias and Paper Whites, but non-traditional ones, like tropicals, succulents, and air plants are used throughout.

Even the bonsai were decorated with tiny lights, photo by Bruce Jones

Pipe Organ

A great sing-a-long with the historic 10,000+ pipe organ was on the agenda and was all part of our Conservatory experience. For a great article on restoring this magnificent piece, go to Restoration of World’s Largest Residence Pipe Organ.

For a demonstration of the workings of the organ, go to Longwood Garden’s Organ Demonstration by principal organist Peter Richard Conte.


Longwood Garden’s pipe organ is the largest one ever made for a residence

Music Room

The Music Room is always a delightful surprise. Last year was the paper cut outs and the rendering of the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ completed by artist Danielle and Lee Vincent. Using creative book and paper embellishments with old books from library and flea market sales covered every inch of the Music Room.

Book tree, photo by Longwood Gardens staff

This year was a rendering of an old-fashioned candy shop inspired by Shane’s Confectionery of Philadelphia, the country’s oldest candy shop. A rainbow colored candy counter filled with horticultural themed chocolates, lollipops, and cookies decorated every nook and cranny. Two 18 foot Fraser Firs flanked the shop and were covered in pastel colored Christmas ornaments.

Shelves of goodies

I was particularly taken by the Shane’s created clear toy candies, or ‘barley sugar candies’ shaped like reindeer, rabbits, ships, and many others— once a popular Pennsylvania German Christmas tradition — for the display. Wow!!!

The barley candy was displayed in a glass case
Clear Toy Candy was a Pennsylvania German tradition


Outdoors, as the sun sets, the trees emerge glittering with tightly wound lights everywhere! I can only imagine the hours that it takes to do just one tree!

Photo by Amy Sparwasser
Photo by Amy Sparwasser
Photo by Amy Sparwasser
Photo by Amy Sparwasser
Multi-colored tree

‘Skittles’ tree named because the red tree resembles skittles candy
Tunnel of lights in the meadow

Two Special Trees

A wildlife tree was striking from far away with its branches and stems would with bright red yarn. Again, I was thinking of the hours it would take to do this!

Wildlife tree
The tree was hung with natural bird’s nests and other handmade ornaments

The Gardener’s tree was just as special and enormous, towering over 25 foot high. The interior lights were white and the outer lights were green, making the tree almost glow from within. An abundance of spiraling natural gourds were arrayed all over the tree, sprouting out the top.

Gardeners Tree
Gourds and lotus pods decorated the Gardeners Tree

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 longwood Rd, Kennett Square, PA

When: Through Jan 5

Tickets: Timed admission means tickets are for a date and time.  Longwood recommends they be bought in advance-$30 adults, $27 ages 62-up, college students with ID; $16 youth; free for 4 and under

To get your timed tickets, go to Longwood Gardens and for tips on visiting, go to Ten Tips for a Day at Longwood.

3 Replies to “Longwood Gardens’ Magical Shape Christmas”

    1. Thank you for these lovely pictures – a true gift for my soul – sadly we will not get there this year – but thru your pictures I feel like I have been there❤️😊



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