Orchids in Winter at Longwood Gardens / by Todd Henson

Pair of orchids at Longwood Gardens' Orchid Extravaganza

Does winter ever get you down? Do you miss the brighter colors of spring, summer, and fall? Whether you answer yes or no I have an idea that might appeal to you. Find yourself a local garden or park with a greenhouse, somewhere you can always find flowers and greenery, whether during the coldest parts of winter or the hottest parts of summer. And if you can’t find a local one then search a little wider and take a day trip.

Grouping of orchid flowers

Single orchid flower from a grouping

One particular location I enjoy during the winter is Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. They have an exhibit each winter called Orchid Extravaganza, where they fill their indoor gardens with orchids of all sorts, and of all colors. It’s a perfect place to get over the winter blues. They have such a large variety of orchids, it’s almost overwhelming. I’m always fascinated by the intricate details in these flowers. Some of them almost look like little creatures.

Look closely at this orchid. The flower looks like a little person or creature.

Single orchid flower from a group

Colorful orchid

I feel that flower photography is an area where I have plenty of room to grow. I’m often disappointed with the flower photos I produce. Not always, but often. Locations like Longwood Gardens are perfect places to practice, especially if you get there early, before the larger crowds arrive. Then you have room and time to study the flowers, look for pleasing backgrounds, find different perspectives and angles, wait for the light coming in through the glass walls to shift just this way or that way, or use your own diffusers and reflectors to experiment with creating the lighting you want.

Delicately shaped orchid

Orchids come in so many shapes, colors, and patterns

And don’t worry if you’re not that into orchids. Longwood Gardens, even during their Orchid Extravaganza, is full of other flowers and other displays. At 4 acres, the main Conservatory has plenty of space, with many different areas just filled with flowers and plants. My images here really don’t do them justice, so I hope you’re able to get there yourself one day. It’s a long drive from where I live, but it really is worth the trip. So far I’ve only ever been there during the winter. I would really like to visit at other times, see how their displays change, and spend some time walking their almost 400 acres of outdoor gardens.

Colorful field of flowers

More abstract view of a set of planters

A view inside the Conservatory

Another view inside the Conservatory

Outside the Conservatory at Longwood Gardens

Have you ever visited Longwood Gardens? What did you think? Do you have any great gardens with indoor displays near you?