On a rare foggy & 50 degree January day, I went to Longwood Gardens. I have a membership to the gardens so I like to go as often as possible. When I arrived, I was disappointed to see that the Conservatory was closed. This ended up challenging me to visit more of the gardens, and I saw a few things that I had never seen before!
Gloomy days are my favorite to visit the gardens. It tends to be much less busy than sunny, warmer days. I like to be able to walk around without bumping into people, and to not have to worry about keeping pace with a group I don’t want to follow.
This was a weekday, which also contributed to the lack of people.
Can you believe I had never been inside the Chimes Tower before? I tend to go to the right when I arrive, so on most visits I don’t see the Oak & Conifer Knoll. I’m usually pretty wiped out after seeing the Italian Water Garden side of the park and the Conservatory.
The Conservatory was closed so they could take down the last of the Christmas display. It’s nice to visit when there ISN’T an event going on. You REALLY get to look at things that you might glance over or skip when there’s an event, such as this fence that ends in a pleasing spiral into Small Lake.
I also got to slow down and look at some textures that I usually overlook. You’d think that the color of plants in winter is brown and dead, but it’s actually gold, shiny and brassy.
Another amazing first for me: I met a Longwood cat! I’ve read about them online, and I saw one from afar in the Conservatory once, but I’ve never gotten to experience one in person!
I’m not sure if this is Spooky or Smitty. Either way, I was stoked. He was a majestic panther surveying his domain on a day that was low on humans, and then this silly human wanted to pet him. He allowed it, but I could tell that it was more for my benefit than his. I gave him two grateful pets and left him be.
Two children ran up, tentative and amazed at the sight of the cat. Their mother reminded them not to pet the cat if he didn’t want it. She said, “Why don’t you show this much interest in our cats at home?” But I get it; Longwood Cats are special. You only get to see them if they want you to.
I have also never seen the monument for Indian Hannah. It is easy to miss it. It overlooks the Italian Water Garden near Sylvan Fountain. It was quite peaceful; I stood there for a few minutes and never saw another person.
I always like to see my favorite ram’s head statue by the Italian Water Garden.
And of course I got to see the Chinese lions by the topiary garden on the way out. Most of my favorite things here are animals, which is pretty on-brand for me.
If you’re thinking about visiting Longwood on a day where the weather is less than optimal, I recommend it. Bring an umbrella and dress accordingly. It’s pretty rare that the Conservatory is closed, but it is possible to have a good time without going inside. If it’s cold or damp, there are always places along your path to take refuge. I think all of the bathrooms are heated, which is quite pleasant when it’s chilly. You can always hang out in the Cafe if you need to take refuge from inclement weather. (Get lunch while you’re there; it’s super.) And anyway, it’s more fun to get to take your time and see some things you might otherwise overlook!