Holiday Events 2019

November and December offer amazing holiday displays and fun events for gardeners in the Northeast. From beautiful light displays to Christmas teas and train shows, you will find a wealth of inspiration for your own holiday celebrations. Below is just a sampling. If your organization has an event that is not listed, please feel free to add it in the Comments.

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Christmas at the Newport Mansions

Newport Mansions, Newport, MA
November 23 - January 1

The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House are once again decorated with thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens, and wreaths. Thirty decorated Christmas trees reflecting individual room decor anchor many of the magnificent spaces. Dining tables set with period silver and china complete the elegant setting. Windows of each mansion are lit with individual white candles, in keeping with the colonial tradition. 


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Hill-Stead Holiday Boutique

Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT
December 7–8

Find unique holiday gifts and support local artists and artisans.


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Hildene Holidays

Hildene, Manchester, VT
December 5–January 1

The Lincoln home is decorated for Christmas throughout the month as they might have done when they stayed at Hildene through the holidays in 1912. Musicians will play the Lincolns' 1908 Aeolian organ and Steinway piano.


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Festival of Trees and Snow Village

Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Elm Bank, Wellesley, MA
November 29-December 15

The Festival of Trees, displayed in the Hunnewell Building, offers beautifully decorated holiday trees that are donated and decorated by local businesses, garden clubs, and individuals. Snow Village is an enchanting display of model trains winding through villages and vignettes, including Christmas in the Boston, Fenway Park, and hundreds of decorated houses and lights. Visitors can also enjoy the decorated buildings and grounds at The Gardens at Elm Bank with a stroll or a horse-drawn wagon ride. For the young at heart, there are Santa Visits and other activities.


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Yuletide at Winterthur

Winterthur, Winterthur, DE
November 23–January 5

Each delightful room on this year’s Yuletide Tour tells a story reflecting the ways in which Americans have celebrated the winter holiday season from the 1800s to the present.  Kids of all ages will delight in magical Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes; a remarkable 18-room dollhouse mansion filled with nearly 1,000 miniatures and fully decorated for Christmas; and a display of antique Santas and figures of the mischievous Belsnickel, a gift giver from German folklore who is closely related to Ol’ Saint Nick. Of special note is the majestic dried flower tree, on view in the Conservatory and featuring some 60 varieties of flowers.


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Holiday Train Show

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY
November 23–January 26

Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming past 175 New York landmarks on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition showcases Lower Manhattan—the birthplace of New York City—featuring the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and iconic skyscrapers sharing the spotlight among old and new favorites. Making their debut this year are One World Trade Center and the historic Battery Maritime Building along with two vintage ferry boats.


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Winter Lights

Naumkeag, Stockbridge, MA
Thursdays-Sundays beginning Nov. 21, 5-8 pm

Enjoy the spectacular garden of Naumkeag lit with thousands of shimmering holiday lights. Each weekend features performances and activities for the whole family, from the young to the young at heart. 


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Gardens Aglow

Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich, MA
November 29 - December 29

Heritage’s expansive gardens will be aglow with beautiful light displays, extensive indoor holiday décor and numerous activities around the grounds and galleries.


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Christmas at the Fells

The Fells, Newbury, NH
November 2–9

During this holiday Decorator Showhouse, The Fells is transformed by interior designers, floral artists and decorators. On weekends, enjoy lunch and a holiday gift boutique.


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Night Lights: Winter Reimagined

Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
November 29 - December 30

Outside, visitors have the opportunity to marvel at glittering lights displayed throughout 15 acres of formal gardens. Inside, you can see trees decorated with hand-made, nature-inspired ornaments, a model train village, and two conservatories brimming with subtropical plants and seasonal music.


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Gardens Aglow

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME
December 14–31

New England’s biggest and brightest light display! With over 650,000 lights, the central gardens are transformed into an extravaganza of festive lights in a dramatic display of brilliant color.


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Christmas at Blithewold

Blithewold, Bristol, RI
November 23 - January 1

Every year, Blithewold transforms into a dazzling display celebrating the magic of Christmas. Each room of the Mansion is filled with elaborate holiday decorations, and the gardens become a glimmering winter wonderland! Enjoy a winter marketplace, holiday teas and musical performances.


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Winter Lights

Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate, Canton, MA
Weekends November 21–December 29

Enjoy the holidays with thousands of shimmering lights in the garden, scavenger hunts, crafts and refreshments.

Best Spring Bulb Displays in the Northeast

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Ready to welcome spring after a long Northeast winter? Nothing lifts the spirit like a stroll among masses of daffodils, tulips and other spring bulbs. Here’s my list of wonderful spring bulb displays to enjoy this year.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Mid-April to late May, Boylston, MA

Enjoy a changing bulb display at Tower Hill Botanic garden, beginning with Reticulated Iris and Hyacinths in mid-April, fields of 25,000 daffodils in late April to early May, and gorgeous tulip displays in mid to late May. Daffodils Day May 4-5. towerhillbg.org

Tower hill Botanic Garden

Tower hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

April 26-28, Nantucket, MA

Nantucket’s annual daffodil celebration includes the Nantucket Daffodil Flower Show, a window decorating contest, antique car parade, tours, and art shows. Come in costume to the Daffy Hat Contest and children’s parade. daffodilfestival.com

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Late April–late May, Boothbay, ME

Coastal Maine’s display gardens feature thousands of tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs from late April to late May in one of New England’s premier public gardens. mainegardens.org

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Blithewold Daffodil Days

Blithewold Daffodil Days

Blithewold Daffodil Days

April through Mid-May, Bristol, RI

The Bosquet, a cultivated woodland, features more than 50,000 daffodils at Blithewold Mansion Gardens and Arboretum. You will also see many woodland wildflowers in bloom.  blithewold.org

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Mid April–mid May, Sandwich, MA

A spectacular Bulb River of 35,000 grape hyacinths highlighted with 1,500 white daffodils flows on the grounds of Heritage Museums & Gardens in spring. The grape hyacinths begin to open in mid April and reach their peak around Mother’s Day. heritagemuseumsandgardens.org

Wicked Tulips (photo by Beth Reis)

Wicked Tulips (photo by Beth Reis)

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Late April–mid May, Johnston, RI

Wicked Tulips has the largest u-pick tulip field in New England, with 600,000 early, mid, and late blooming tulips. Enjoy the fields of color, and bring home a fresh hand-picked bouquet. The early tulips begin blooming in late April, followed by waves of later blooming tulips until Mother’s Day. The website Bloom Report provides important updates and allows you to see what is in bloom. Advance tickets are required and must be purchased online. wickedtulips.com

Newport Daffodil Days

Newport Daffodil Days

Newport Daffodil Days Festival

April 13–21, Newport, RI

Now in its 6th year, the Newport Daffodil Festival has beautified the city with more than 1 million daffodils. The week-long celebration includes a garden party, classic car parade, concerts, tours, dog parade and much more. Don’t miss the display of 11,000 daffodils of 29 varieties and the Green Animals Topiary Garden. newportdaffydays.com

Elizabeth Park

Elizabeth Park

Elizabeth Park

Mid-April–mid May, Hartford, CT

Daffodils in mid-April give way to a beautiful display of 11,000 tulips that peak on Mother’s Day. elizabethparkct.org

Colorblends

Colorblends

ColorBlends House and Spring Garden

April 1–May 12, Bridgeport, CT

 Stroll through an evolving display of color as snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs come into bloom at the ColorBlends House and Spring Garden. Located in Bridgeport’s  Stratfield Historic Distric, the 1903 Colonial Revival  mansion is surrounded by an intimate garden designed by distinguished Dutch  garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet for Colorblends Wholesale Flowerbulbs..colorblendsspringgarden.com

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens

Late April–mid May

Enjoy planting of early bulbs, daffodils and tulips blooming in 93-acres of formal gardens and natural habitats. bartlettarboretum.org

Meriden Daffodil Days

Meriden Daffodil Days

Meriden Daffodil Festival

April 27 & 28, Meriden, CT

One of Connecticut’s favorite celebrations, the Meriden Daffodil Festival features a juried craft fair, rides and food vendors, and an amazing fireworks show, all set against a spectacular display of 600,000 daffodils. daffodilfest.com

New York Botanic Garden

New York Botanic Garden

New York Botanic Garden

April–May, Bronx, NY

Explore the Rock Garden for tiny species daffodils, and Daffodil Valley, where the Murray Liasson Narcissus Collection is located. See the latest hybrids on the Daylily/Daffodil Walk, and antique cultivars planted in a seal of yellow and white on Daffodil Hill. nybg.org/garden

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Mid April, Summit, NJ

Celebrate spring with a "host of golden daffodils," as poet William Wordsworth wrote, at Reeves-Reed Arboretum and enjoy one of the largest daffodil collections in New Jersey. The collection, planted in the Arboretum's glacially carved 'kettle' or bowl, was started in the early 1900s by the original owners of the property. Today the collection boasts more than 50,000 bulbs and the annual Daffodil Day brings visitors from all over the tri-state area. Daffodil Day is April 14, 2019. reeves-reedarboretum.org

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Deep Cut Gardens

Deep Cut Gardens

Deep Cut Gardens

Mid-April–mid May, Middletown, NJ

Beautiful tulip and daffodil blooms are on display in this 54 acre formal garden. monmouthcountyparks.com

Deep Cut Gardens

Deep Cut Gardens

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Frelinhuysen Arboretum

Mid April-mid May, Morris Township, NJ

The formal gardens at Frelinghuysen Arboretum feature gorgeous bedding displays of tulips. arboretumfriends.org

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Chanticleer

Chanticleer

Chanticleer

Early April to mid-May

Chanticleer is ablaze with spring bulbs from species tulips, miniature daffodils and grape hyacinths on the hillside, to formal bedding of tulips and daffodils around the mansion. A sloping lawn, punctuated by flowering shade trees, features 80,000 white or pale yellow narcissus running in two rivers to the bottom. Virginia bluebells, trilliums, grape hyacinths and camassias create gorgeous displays in the woodlands. chanticleergarden.org

Chanticleer

Chanticleer

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Early April to early May, Kennett Square, PA

Early spring bulbs like glory-of-the-snow, winter-aconite, and crocus first herald the season’s arrival, with gorgeous tulips, wisteria, and flowering trees creating a lush spring tapestry of color, fragrance, and warmth. longwoodgardens.org

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Spring Ideas from Blithewold

Joan and I had the pleasure of presenting our lecture "Spring Ephemerals and Other Delights" at Blithewold last April. For those of you that have never been there, Blithewold is a 33-acre estate with a 45-room mansion framed by a series of lovely gardens overlooking Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. The property was purchased in 1895 by Augustus and Bessie Van Wickle, and served as the family summer home. The gardens were designed in the late 1800s, and feature a 10-acre lawn, an arboretum of specimen trees, perennials gardens, and a "bouquet" or scenic woodland. Bessie and her daughter Marjorie were ardent gardeners and turned the estate into a horticultural showplace. 

Blithewold is beautiful in all seasons. In the spring, the rose garden, framed by an Asian-inspired moon gate, blooms with colorful bulbs and early perennials.

Tulips, leucojum, grape hyacinths, bleeding hearts, euphorbia and other perennials welcome you to the Blithewold estate. 

Century-old trees present a sculptural beauty even in early spring, before they leaf out. Some are underplanted with shade and drought-tolerant perennials such as epimedium (below).

The chartreuse leaves of ginkgo trees are a delight when viewed against the mature deep green conifers.

The Bosque is planted with thousands of daffodils and a carpet of spring ephemerals including mayapples (above) and erythronium, also known as trout lilies (below). These woodland plants bloom while there is ample sunlight before the trees leaf out, and become dormant in the summer.

The Van Wickles used stone from their property to create rock gardens and garden ornaments such as the whimsical stone bench below.

Flowering crabapples frame the view of Narragansett Bay. In April, you can view more than 50,000 daffodils in bloom. In May, see the Magnolias, Flowering Cherries, Honeysuckles, Weigelas, Lilacs, and Viburnum, along with hundreds of blooming perennials.

Joan and I will be back at Blithewold on Monday, May 8 at 1:00 pm, presenting our "Propagating Perennials" workshop. Hope you can join us!