A Longwood Evening

 Longwood Conservancy Hanging baskets

 Longwood aisle purples stock ageratum

A dreary rainy April night did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for attending the Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Rare Plant Auction.  The Conservatories at Longwood Gardens are wonderful by day.  By night, they take on a magical mysterious air.

Longwood Yellow Clivia bedded out

This is the plant that started it all.  In 1981, Sir John Thuron donated a very rare yellow Civia to what was then the DCH’s pot-luck plant sale.  Realizing the special value of this donation, the Center created a live auction for the plant, and the Rare Plant Auction was born.

 Longwood Auction tables

Longwood’s original ballroom was the setting for the silent auction plants, donated by nurseries and hybridizers from all over the US.  Plant experts such as Dan Hinkley, Paige Dickey, Dan Benarcik, Charles Cresson and Patrick Cullina were on hand to describe the plants and answer questions on how to grow them.

 Longwood Fern Floor

 Longwood Fern Floor gateway

Longwood Fern Floor Dinnertime

Dinner and libations were served around the Fern Floor, which was drained for the occasion and filled with tables for dining.  The massive tree ferns which dominate the floor were been pushed to the sides.

 Longwood EAst Conservatory Pools

 Longwood East Conservatory Enttrance

Longwood’s East Conservatory was transformed by the night lighting.  Top, a view looking towards the entrance, and bottom, after nightfall, looking back from that entrance when the shadows deepen.

Longwood anthurium

Longwood anthurium close up

On a walkway above and around the Fern Floor, an unusual combination was bedded out – magnificent tropical Anthurium with temperate Delphinium and dusty-gray Eucalyptus.

 longwood strolling

 Longwood Night Lights

The Live Auction consisted of a dozen very large trees and shrubs and created the most excitement.  Before it began, there was time to stroll around and see more of the magical plantings.

Longwood Wall of OrchidsNo one ever wants to miss the walls of orchids! Congratulations DCH on another stellar event!



About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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