Seasons’ Greetings from Longwood

Longwood Gardens

Winterberries and cranes in a central fountain in one of the Longwood Conservatories

Garden Shoots is taking a winter break until January. In the meantime, I’m offering a re-posting of some seasonal images from Longwood Gardens several years ago. Hope you enjoy them!

Most avid gardeners on the East Coast know Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia. Even in the winter, it’s well worth a trip. Two years ago, in early December, my camera club planned a field trip to photograph in the Conservatories, and I went along.

At this time of year, tripods are allowed in the Conservatory areas only in the mornings, so we arrived at 9 am sharp when the doors opened.

Longwood Gardens

Holiday plantings in the Conservatories are on a large scale for maximum impact.

Lighting in these areas is tricky. If the sun is out you can get gorgeous shadows made by the columns and the plantings, but the window areas blow out. If it’s overcast, the lighting is flat but you have fewer problems with shadows and highlights.

Winterberry shrub with poinsettias and decorated trees in the Conservatory at Longwood

We had both kinds of light, but my best images turned out to be those I took when the sky was overcast.

Longwood Gardens

Even the Christmas trees at Longwood are full of surprises – like yarrow as an ornament.

Outside of the main Conservatory halls, there were smaller vistas and views to take in and capture – like the Christmas tree ornaments above. So in the spirit of the holidays, here are some of my best images from that trip. If you haven’t been to Longwood, plan a road trip soon.

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5 Comments on “Seasons’ Greetings from Longwood”

  1. Pauline K Says:

    Hi Melissa – I am really enjoying getting your blog – keep it up.

  2. Modica Says:

    Good job on this post! It’s nice to see somebody who knows what they’re writing about.

  3. allansjackson Says:

    I second the comment about the good post. I’ve been visiting Durban botanic gardens (150 years old and the oldest in Africa) quite a bit just lately and had worked out that shooting on overcast days is the best because there is just too much contrast on sunny days. I have already done a book on Durban history and am now aiming at doing one on the gardens with a bit of history, and current attractions.

    Looking forward to seeing what the G11 produces.

    • Melissa Says:

      Just looked up Durban on the Internet. Fantastic-looking place. It’s fun to do books on gardens you love (my favorite is Chanticleer and I’ve done two on

      I will have some posts with G11 photos up after the New Year.

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