In the brisk winter air, life seems still and motionless, until you wander in the meadow where the changing color palette welcomes all to its quieter season. The entrance gates to the Meadow Garden of Longwood Gardens welcomes visitors, in all seasons, to a new experience with each walking exploration.
Color shaded in continuous change
The very nature of a meadow provides a unique take on a winter walk, as the scene continuously changes with the weather, much like shifting sands on a beach. The native grasslands, thriving wetland plants, and those plants which grow in the shaded forest, each change into their own winter shades and complementing hues in the meadow. While winter is quieter than the other three seasons, there is plenty of life hidden deep in sheltered pockets of twisted grass. Dried flowers and seed pods tilt and pose, meadow grasses hold sturdy against the wind, and the forest edge provides a sheltering hedge for wildlife that resides here and there among the 86 acres which Longwood Gardens has designated as the meadow garden.
A winter walk may be brisk or leisurely along the 3 miles of trails Longwood Gardens has designed to encourage exploration. Birdhouses and feeders dot the rolling hills and valley, some with built-in gardens that rise from their roof. In this season the Pollinator Overlook is much calmer than the past three seasons when frenzied bees buzzed about and butterflies and other pollinators did flit and swirl around their selectively planted garden. Perhaps your winter walk is best to head up the hill for the best view from Hawk Point. From this high point above the Hourglass Lake and wetlands, the vistas are glorious and may offer you the opportunity to gaze on various hawks and other high fliers which soar above this tract. From here is also a welcoming view to this year’s restored 1800s Webb Farmhouse and Gallery. Set this goal for a perfect pause to warm up before rounding the trails of your winter walk to the forest edge or short-cutting across the meadow to the Hourglass Lake and pavilion. Here an elevated boardwalk rises above new and old forest plants towards the entrance of the meadow garden. It was a welcome decision, by Pennsylvania, to relocate a major interstate roadway which provided the opportunity for Longwood Gardens to increase the size of the meadow garden to 86 acres. Now, with a vision to educate visitors and maintain this newest of their naturally growing landscapes, the invitation, in 2014, has been well received. But do not wait until the warming breezes of spring to wander among these wild grasses. A winter walk in this meadow garden, of Longwood Gardens, is worthy for exploring the changing colors and textures of nature’s artistry.