You can catch a breath of spring at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., where acres of colorful blooms fill the conservatories now through April 30. "Welcome Spring," the display which opened there yesterday, features a progression of blooms from golden acacia in January and February to delicate cymbidium orchids in late March to fragrant Easter lilies in mid-April.
In the Main Conservatory, 45,000 bulbs create an ever-changing scene as daffodils, hyacinths, muscari, scillas, tulips and lilies burst into bloom. Longwood has a total of 20 heated gardens offering a variety of landscapes, such as the Silver Garden, the Tropical Terrace and the brand-new Cascade Garden, with 16 waterfalls providing a backdrop for tropical plants and bromeliads.
Six Fabulous Fun Days for Children are planned on selected Saturdays during February and March. The programs combine live entertainment with garden activities. The series opens Feb. 6 with "The Kevin Roth Family Concert" for children of all ages. The schedule continues with "Circus Comes Alive!" a program of mime, juggling and comedy by Dave Sadaah on Feb. 20; "Let's Duet with Piano Duettists Barbara and Gerhardt Surhstedt," who perform the music of Joplin and Tchaikovsky with audience participation, Feb. 27; folk tales from around the world by Claudia Reder on March 6; a live theater production, "On the Wild Frontier," featuring the legendary characters of Johnny Appleseed, Calamity Jane, Davy Crockett and others, March 20; and "The Kinderman Show," a program of songs, stories, rhythms and other participatory fun on March 27.
Children can also enjoy a conservatory plant hunt scheduled Feb. 6 to April 11, pot a plant to take home in the garden's potting shed, and visit the children's indoor garden with its plant maze, topiary rabbits, playhouse and interactive fountains.
Tickets range in price from $1 to $5 for children and $10 to $11 for adults and must be ordered in advance. Admission includes the performance, pot-a-plant, plant hunt and garden admission.
Sunday concerts are scheduled during the spring display by a variety of musicians. Most concerts will be held at 2:30 p.m. in Longwood's ballroom. A "Baroque Masterworks" program is planned on April 18 as a salute to Longwood's Italian Water Garden. This is the one concert that requires advance reservations.
Longwood is open daily outdoors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The conservatories open at 10 a.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $2 for children ages 6 to 14; free for under 6. Longwood is on U.S. Route 1, three miles northeast of Kennett Square. For information, call (215) 388-6741.
Winter activities in Western Maryland's state forests and parks offer fun for lovers of the outdoors.
Several miles of marked trails for cross-country skiing can be found in the states' forests. Ski trails are open in Garrett County at New Germany State Park in Grantsville, (301) 895-5453, and Herrington Manor State Park near Oakland, (301) 334-9180, with trails ranging from beginner to most difficult. New Germany is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day with hours extended to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays. There is a $2 per person fee on weekends and holidays; other days admission is free. Herrington Manor is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there is no charge to use the the ski trails. Both parks have cabins for rent and warming huts with food concessions. The cabins are a popular choice for weekend getaways, so be sure to call ahead to check availability. Ski equipment can be rented in the park at Herrington Manor. At New Germany, you can rent equipment just outside the park on Lower New Germany Road. Call (301) 689-8515.
A cross-country ski race is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Herrington Manor State Park. The eight-kilometer race is a fun race and open to all ages. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the lake concession area. The fee is $5 for adults; $1 for children under 12. Trophies and medals will be awarded to winners.
The annual cross-country ski race at New Germany State Park will be held Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. The race is part of the 1993 Allegheny Cross Country Ski Race Series. A one-mile race for children will follow the adult race. Registration is from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The fee is $5 for adults; $1 for children under 12.
Here's an opportunity to enjoy the wintry scene on a nighttime, guided snowmobile ride Feb. 6 at Garrett State Forest. Participants should meet at 6 p.m. at Herrington Creek parking lot on Herrington Manor Road. The ride will take place in the Snaggy Mountain area of the forest. Participants will need an off-road vehicle permit. The fee is $15. For information, call (301) 334-2038.