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.
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’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.
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’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.
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.
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.