Longwood lights up the sky

Courtesy photo
Longwood Gardens is alive with a multi-colored light show that is especially spectacular at night.
Courtesy photo Longwood Gardens is alive with a multi-colored light show that is especially spectacular at night.

In its ever constant drive to show new ideas Longwood Gardens has opened a new exhibit, “Light.” Designed by British designer Bruce Munroe, the show has eight different areas where his handiwork is shown. The concise displays in the music room in the Conservatory might be the best place to start. Here are photos of the huge floating lily pads made of numerous CDs hitched together in the large lake near the Italian water garden. Although this is an interesting bit of recycling they really are quite attractive particularly when the sin light hits them. There is another display of recycling in the meadow called “Water Towers” at Hourglass Lake. If you would like to see 69 pillars of filled plastic water bottles with bright colors and soft music, this is for you.

On the way to the water garden you will pass a small lake on the right with a field of three foot spikes with what looks like glowing lollipops called “Field of Light.” This was the most interesting spot as darkness fell as the bull frogs were in full voice and three families of geese and their babies were remaining inches from the edge of the pathway as crowds of people came past. Everyone was enjoying the close ties with nature when suddenly a fox ran through the “lollipops, tripping over the wires that illuminated them. A very satisfactory outing for the onlookers.

Other installations include a curvy sinuous bed of sage planted with many fiber-optic blooms and decorated with large round objects resembling the bombs drawn in early comics. There are also a light shower in Exhibition Hall, “Snowballs,” in the Orangery at the Cathedral tree house and the Forest Walk.

As these mostly look their most impressive at night, Longwood is extending its hours. Sunday through Tuesday they will be open until 6 p.m. although that’s really not late enough for it to be dark, and Wednesday through Saturday it is open until 11 p.m.


The exhibit areas are scattered over such a large and hilly expanse it is definitely an exhibit for the young and fit. They are not running jitneys to help the old folks, although they have two golf type carts that toodle around picking up those who cannot take another step, if they hail them and ask for a ride. The two opening nights – for members only – were run with limited number of tickets. On Friday the ticket taker estimated that there were about 6,000 people who had come, and it really wasn’t crowded anywhere except the music room. Timed tickets are needed for the light exhibit. Call 610-388-5200 for Central Ticketing. They may add a $4 ticketing charge.


When Chester County Community Foundation gives a party, it is a swinging one. Last weekend Giving For Good Gala lived up to their reputation. They had one small contretemps. Although they had planned well ahead for the party, they learned only weeks before the party that there was a problem with the venue. A quick phone call to Celia and Honorable Chris Ross, who were in France, gave the answer – “Yes, they would be delighted to host several hundred guests for a black tie sit-down dinner. And it went off without a hitch. Their 10-month-old-granddaughter even made a brief appearance although they hadn’t known she would be visiting when they agreed.

The Ross home, with all its green design features was open for a tour. The garden was filled with guests enjoying some outstanding hors d’oeuvres ranging from strawberry Brie brushetta and petite vegetarian strudle to Sugartown smoked Tasmanian trout and chicken with Thai curry sauce. This was followed by surf and turf with sautéed halibut and beef tenderloin. Nearby was the dessert table with six desserts, three of them chocolate.

Gala Chairmen Wiggie and John Featherman, who were also leaving the board, were presented with an engraved crystal bowl as a farewell gift. Hosts Cecelia and Honorable Chris Ross were given some note paper with a photo of their home. Outgoing Board Chairman Michael B. Karwic was thanked for his service and incoming. Board Chairman L. Peter Temple of Kennett was welcomed. A spirited live auction had theatre and football tickets (eagerly sought), wines, golf outings and luxury vacations. It was an elegant, swellegant party that had to please the committee and CEO Karen Simmons.


National Polinator Week will be celebrated by the Brandywine Conservancy with a free lecture on native bees, wasps and other pollinators on Thursday, June 21, at the Brandywine River Museum lecture room. Deborah Delaney from the University of Delaware will discuss the recent decline of domestic honey bees and how native species are filling in. There will be light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. with the presentation at 7 p.m. followed by a Q&A period. To register call 610-388-8340.

Union Rags

Even people who normally couldn’t care less about the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown were gleeful when Chadds Ford resident Phyllis Wyeth’s horse Union Rags won the race by a nose at Belmont. After being blocked in his last two races, so that one never got the chance to see whether he was the winner Phyllis felt he was, it took a lot of courage and faith to enter him in the Belmont, and aren’t we glad she did! With an experienced jockey performing some remarkable riding, it was a joy to watch as he nosed out the competition. It made you wonder if he could have been a Triple Crown winner if he had a different jockey in previous races. We will never know but at last he was given the chance to show what he could do and it was glorious!


It will be a fiery concert when the Kennett Symphony plays Spanish music at Longwood Gardens on Saturday, June 23, at 7 p.m. This will be a tribute to the great Spanish writer and poet Garcia Lorca with music by Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. They will also play the beloved guitar concerto by Rodrigo and Manuel de Falla’s “Love the Magician.” But what is a concert of Spanish music without a touch of flamenco and they have it. On stage will be the classical and flamenco guitarist Marija Temo and flamenco dancer Ulrika Frank. For tickets to this whirl of excitement call 610-444-6363.


Winterthur has planned a special day of enchantment on June 16 from 11 a.m. to 3p.m. for the younger set in the Enchanted Woods. There will be crafts, games, face painting etc, and it is all part of the regular admission. If you want to wear your fairy wings that would be suitable.


The Brandywine Lions Club will hold its third annual Father’s Day Celebration of Dad-and-His-Old-Machine with a car show of some of the most beloved and some of the most outrageous antique cars around at the Concordville Town Center (Route 1 and 322). The free show will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, with Sunday, June 17 as a rain date.

Town tour

If you would like to become familiar with some of the more interesting places in West Chester, join the Town Tour and Village Walk on Thursday, June 14, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. This is the kick-off for a series of weekly walks and will begin at 5 p.m. with a party. The tours are free and will be given in different townships each week.

Another special event in West Chester will be the sixth annual Humphrey Marshall Day on Sunday, June 24, at 11 a.m. This celebration of the life and legacy of early American botanist Humphrey Marshall (1722-1801) will be held in Marshall Square Park. The featured speaker will be Joel T. Fry, curator of Bartram’s Garden.


The Delaware Museum of Natural History will host a planetarium show, Oasis in Space, June 16 through July 8. This spectacular show was developed by Spitz, Inc. of Chadds Ford. Visitors will go on a voyage through our universe and galaxy visiting all the planets in search of water. Also on display are two space suits by International Latex Corp. in Dover, Del. as well as the Delaware state moon rock given by NASA. The show will be given every 30 minutes, except there is no noon showing. This fits neatly with its latest traveling exhibit, “Earth From Space.”


A nifty way to celebrate Father’s Day, June 17, would be brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at award winning Catherine’s Restaurant in Unionville at the intersection of routes 82 and 162. With their beautiful patio Dad can have a special breakfast under $20 with a delectable filet mignon eggs Benedict or the “Best” burger in town or other choices. You will get a complimentary citrus Bloody Mary – if you bring the vodka. Call 610-347-2227 for reservations


If you haven’t seen it, the Delaware Art Museum has one of the most impressive labyrinths around. They will hold a Summer Solstice Labyrinth Walk on Wednesday, June 20, at 6 p.m. Just show – wearing your comfortable shoes.


This summer’s big musical to be performed by The Brandywiners will be the musical “Hello Dolly” set in turn of the twentieth century. This classic tale of the matchmaker by the enormous cast of The Brandywiners will be performed July 26 through 28 and August 2 through 4. This leaves Sundays free as rain dates. Tickets are $28 for adult, $23 for 17 and under and $23 for groups of 25 people. If tickets are mailed add $2, To Call, $1. To order call 800-338-6965, online at www.Brandywiners.org or mail to Hello, Dolly, The Brandywiners, Ltd, P.O. Box 248, Montchanin, DE 19710. The Brandywiners, composed of amateur and professional musicians, donate the profits from their shows to local groups in the performing arts, education and civic causes.


The Savoy Co. will present the Gilbert & Sullivan delightful nonsense “The Mikado” at Longwood Gardens on June 29 and 30 at 8:30 p.m. This comic opera was first performed in London at the Savoy Theatre in 1885. It continues to be the most popular of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas. Tickets are $27 and profits will be donated to Canine Partners For Life in Cochranville.

Theatre N

“Shut Up and Play the Hits” is a documentary of the band known as LCD Soundsystem that played its final show at Madison Square Garden on April 2, 2011. The extravaganza that was the last show was a once in a lifetime performance. Those who attend are asked to dress as they did for the original, in all black, all white or black and white. July 18 at 8 p.m. For tickets go to brownpapertickets.com/event/254024.

Kennett Flash

Red Molly the blockbuster trio that is making waves – two shows on June 15

Lucy Stone & Avi Wisnia - June 16

Open Mic Night – June 19 – call 484-732-8295 for tickets and info.

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.