With seasonal blooms, twinkling lights, aromatic greens, and other adornments, our 1893 Victorian glasshouse has been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with whimsical scenes where the Sugar Plum Fairy, toy soldiers and princely nutcrackers enchant visitors of every age.
Upon entering the Conservatory, you will be dazzled by elegant swags with brightly-colored bows and festive arrangements, while “Polar Bear” poinsettias, “Merry Christmas” amaryllis and “Glacier” ivy deck the halls as you ascend to Palm Court – a magical place where chandeliers, a grandfather clock and portrait frames made almost entirely of plants will be featured in a lavish mansion scene.
It was as beautiful as promised, from the outside and all through within. We’ve never been to the conservatory in the evening and it was a delightful thrill seeing things “anew” under evening’s cloak.
Koch High School’s string quartet greeted us in the Palm Court. They were grouped in front of the first of many spectacular trees.
The Serpentine Room was a world’s tour of themed trees, each touching upon a country. We especially loved the Russian, Asian and Spanish Dance trees.
The Fern Room and Orchid Room are absolutely glorious at night.
We love the “butterfly room”, but this isn’t the time of year for them. The Stove Room was, instead, a wandering journey over candlelit paths and past tinkling water.
The trains were set up in the South Conservatory. We watched them working on these displayers early last fall. Children (and Better Half) were delighted by the moving trains and miniature villages.
They didn’t do very much to the Tropical Forest Conservatory (thank goodness). The plants were illuminated by small rustic lights, and each waterway or fall became a living creature rushing past in the twilight lurking just off the trail.
Santa was not in the Gallery this evening but there was plenty of evidence that he enjoyed visiting. A beautiful sleigh was nestled between more lively trees, watched over by a trio of bears.
Thoughtful volunteers tended to every facet of the building, adding holiday cheer to each nook, corner and wall. Clever nutcrackers, Rat Kings, trees made entirely of vermilions enticed the eyes to investigate everything closer.
Even the Sunken Room, normally filled with water and straight lines, became a whimsical playplace.
The Desert Room did not disappoint.
And the Victoria Room contained a massive tree with brilliant lights that twinkled in the reflective water surrounding it.
The Paterre de Broderie was tastefully done, although it still grieves me that I can’t see the exquisite details on the statues at the very rear of the garden.
One of the most playful rooms, the East Room, was a Land of Sweets delight. A massive gingerbread house stole the show, standing several feet high and festooned with fresh fruits.
I’m very glad that we went. It helped to lift some of my depression, and made for a charming change of pace.
Some odds and ends from along the way...