While winter's harsh winds rattle our doors and windows, many of us dream of spring. At Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., it has already arrived. "Welcome Spring," the
current garden display, maintains a constant parade of lovely spring blooms in the 18 indoor gardens from now through April 30.
A winding brick path leads visitors through exotic gardens filled with plants from around the world. The East Conservatory is filled with palm trees, lush ferns, sparkling waterfalls and clusters of colorful spring blooms. Take the Flower Garden Path and find a spot to stop and smell the flowers. Beyond the East Conservatory is the recently opened Mediterranean Garden with plants and flowers from Australia, California and South Africa. Also visit the Silver Garden, where foliage is in shades of silver, white and gray; the Cascade Garden, designed by famous landscape architects Roberto Burle Marx and Conrad Hamerman; the Rose House and Children's Garden.
Throughout the season there will be programs ranging from plant walks and lectures to concerts and cooking demonstrations. On selected Tuesdays, chefs at Longwood's Restaurant will offer demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the lower level of the Terrace Restaurant. Topics include: "Cooking with Nuts" Feb. 7; "Cooking with Chocolate" Feb. 14; "Cooking with Mushrooms" Feb. 21; and "Cooking with Corn" Feb. 28. There will also be Discovery Stations, where talks or demonstrations on various horticultural topics will be given on designated dates.
All activities will be included in the reduced garden admission of $5 for adults; $3 for ages 16 to 20; $1 for ages 6 to 14; free for under 6. This winter, visitors will receive half-price admission through March 31 because of conservatory renovations.
Longwood Gardens is on U.S. Route 1, three miles northeast of Kennett Square. For information, call (800) 737-5500 or (610) 388-1000.
Three jazzy days
In Philadelphia, there'll be jazz around the clock for three whole days at the 1995 PECO Energy Jazz Festival on the weekend before Valentine's Day. Jazz lovers will hear Grammy-winning performers such as the Count Basie Orchestra with conductor Frank Foster and Eddie Palmieri and Herbie Mann with the Deep Pocket Reunion Band.
To launch the event there will be a free jazz jam with the Eddie Green Quartet Thursday at noon at the PECO Energy Headquarters, 23rd and Market streets. On Friday, attend "Jazz 'til Sunrise," a 10-hour jazz marathon, at the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Seventh and Arch streets, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. More than 250 regional artists will keep the music going nonstop in the museum's heated and weatherproof tent, and guests can enjoy international food. Admission is $22.
The weekend continues with more than 80 jazz events, including concerts, workshops, jams, brunches and other events around the clock at various sites throughout Philadelphia. Other weekend highlights are the Jazz Dance Cabaret with the Count Basie Orchestra in the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, followed by the Latin Jazz Dance Cabaret featuring the Eddie Palmieri Octet in the center's Ballroom 201 at 10 p.m. Tickets for the first event cost $25, and $20 for the second. Herbie Mann's Deep Pocket Reunion Band will present the festival's final concert Sunday at 7 p.m. in the new Philadelphia Marriott's Grand Ballroom, 12th and Market streets. Tickets cost $20.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum. Call (215) 636-1666.
The Historic Surratt House Museum in Clinton will hold an exhibit of antique valentines from Thursday through Feb. 12.
More than 75 antique cards dating from the 1840s through the turn of the century will be on display as a tribute to the golden age of valentines. Highlights of the show are reproduction box and mechanical valentines created by a Franciscan brother in the 1960s-'70s. This type of valentine was popular back in the 1880s. Some were as large as a foot high with all kinds of mechanisms and levers to pull.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 4 pm. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $1.50 for adults; $1 for seniors; 50 cents for children ages 5 to 18. The fee includes tours of the Surratt House and Tavern, famous for its role in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy.
The museum is at 9118 Brandywine Road in Clinton. Call (301) 868-1121.
Fun on skis
Ski Liberty in Fairfield, Pa., will hold its Winter Carnival Saturday. It will be a day filled with ski competitions and fun for all ages, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event serves as a fund-raiser for Ski Liberty's National Ski Patrol.