Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who Are These People?

 Why are these strangers in my pictures taken at Longwood Gardens? After visiting Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, numerous times for over 44 years, I have concluded that taking pictures of flowers can become more interesting when including the pictures of the many people who also enjoy the flowers. It becomes a group experience even when people are strangers. It is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with anyone because almost everyone in the gardens shares a love of nature and exquisitely manicured displays.

As I took a picture of this rare blue orchid, another visitor said, "Sorry, I ruined your picture." I replied to him, "Not to worry, I crop everything." It was the opening to a conversation while a group marveled at the special techniques they used to get the orchid to soak up blue dye to produce the effect not found in nature. Yes, I could crop everything in my photos, but it spoils the total view to try to exclude the other people enjoying the gardens and the flowers. It would be like trying to exclude the fans in the football stadium and taking a picture only of a football.


Everyone has cameras and often take turns photographing friends and family in front of special displays. We volunteer to take pictures of others so the whole group can share the picture. It is an easy way to interact with new people.


Eavesdropping is fun because the number of languages spoken is fascinating as the Gardens are a must-see attraction on any regional tours, and traffic clogs local highways on special occasions. It is a good opportunity to play good-will ambassador for the region and to be friendly to people from other countries.


I still like to take close-up pictures of flowers, but sometimes it is more fun to photograph a toddler sniffing a blossom. The children's section of the garden is always filled with little people playing in water spouts or kissing dragon noses.


When I look at pictures of the gardens minus people, it seems sterile and sad. I like to see dozens of people moving around the gardens enjoying the hard work of countless volunteers who plant the flowers and tend the outdoor gardens. So I take many pictures of plants with many people enjoying them. The Gardens are a regular stop for my family because we live so close and the variety of activities makes it appealing.


We have member passes and visit as often as we want during the year. There are some special events for members and some events have special admissions tickets. It would be easy to take this entertainment venue for granted, but I haven't reached that point. Just when I think I have seen everything, they surprise me with something new like this harp concert.

No matter the event or display, what a great place to spend a day! The kite display was very popular.

Their tulips compete with the best in the world, even those from Holland.


  1. Fab photos! I agree that a lot of the enjoyment is about other people too. I was in my garden this week - I share it with my downstairs neighbours; I have the back half and they the front half. The little girls were so excited to see me (I haven't been down for months) I felt very humble as they squealed with delight and took me to show the bluebells, daffodils and apple blossom - "And yours has lots and lots of dandelions" they told me excitedly!

  2. I had a great time at the RoozenGaarde tulip testival, with lots of people. Right now I'm reading "The Orchid Thief" and all about the ghost orchid. Your post is very timely!