Longwood Gardens’ Nightscape Delivers A Mind-Bending Experience

Glistening cacti at Longwood Gardens' Nightscape/here by design IMG_1348

Giant cacti illuminated by LED lights in Longwood’s xeriscape garden

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple years, you already know that I’m a huge fan of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The 1000+-acre property of gardens filled with specialty trees, shrubs and flowers never fails to move me, no matter what the season. And now Longwood has added yet another way for visitors to appreciate its extraordinary beauty. It’s called Nightscape.

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View of the Conservatory lit up for Nightscape

Billed as an ‘ immersive nighttime adventure’, Nightscape is a multi-sensory experience featuring moving images, lights and original music. The action gets going in the gardens just after dark when LED lights suddenly transform the giant property into a technicolor dreamscape. As visitors move through the Conservatory and outdoor gardens, the lights continually change form around them, presenting a kaleidoscope of varying colors and patterns.

Nightscape takes place across seven locations around the gardens, including the main lake, the Flower Garden Walk, the Topiary Garden and the grand rooms of the indoor Conservatory.

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LED lights transform the Palm House into a magical kingdom

The display is accompanied by original music composed especially for the display. The ethereal melodies float through the gardens, adding an otherworldly dimension and heightening the experience.

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A giant grass takes on a new personae

It’s quite a thing to walk through the Conservatory at night with all the colors changing around you. As the lights move across the plants, they highlight parts of the garden while obscuring others. The reflection of the tree branches in the windows of this part of the installation made it seem like a wild storm was brewing.

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At other times the lights form patterns steeped in symbolism that cause you to pause and reflect.

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Outdoors in the Topiary Garden, the clipped forms of giant boxwood are enhanced with colorful, whirling patterns. To my eye, the shrubs looked like spinning tops.

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But a few seconds later, the same bushes switched to black and white, conveying an entirely different feeling.

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The Rose Arbor, adjacent to the Flower Walk, features a wild assortment of oversized plants and shrubs illuminated in neon colors. The garden changes shape as the lights move around it revealing crazy daisy-shaped blooms and glowing rocks.

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On the far side of the Rose Arbor, the Flower Walk, which directs visitors deeper into the garden, takes on heightened dimensions with its stripy lights; almost as if there was a stadium full of people above you.

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My daughter took a video of the Flower Walk. I think you’ll get the idea.

The show was created by Klip Collective, an experiential art shop that specializes in integrating projection lighting and technology with storytelling to create compelling experiences.

Nightscape runs now through October 29, 2016, rain or shine. The display stays open until 11 pm. Ideal viewing times are after 8 pm in September and 7 pm in October.

 

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