Phipps holiday show is flowery winter wonderland
As you walk through the rooms of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens from Nov. 28 to Jan. 11, you can sing stanzas from the classic Christmas carol “Winter Wonderland,” room by room, and what you see will match what you sing.
The “Winter Wonderland” Winter Flower Show contains decor in several of the Oakland conservatory’s rooms that match lyrics from the classic song.
The song begins in the Palm Court, the first room you enter, with decorated Christmas trees, a sleigh filled with wrapped gifts, and red and white poinsettias depicting the opening lyrics: “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening. A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland.”
“It’s a popular song that anybody can relate to, and has a lot of opportunities to bring to life with plants,” says Margie Radebaugh, Phipps’ director of horticulture and education.
Continuing in the winding Serpentine Room, imagine “Gone away is the bluebird; here to stay is a new bird” as you admire the trees with decorative birds and hanging glass snowflakes. The Sunken Garden depicts the “In the meadow we can build a snowman. He’ll say ‘Are you married?’ ” story with several plant-based snow people, including a veiled snow bride, a snow groom and snow preacher.
The Victoria Room serves as a winter wedding sequel with a 23-foot Fraser fir rising from a pond of water and decked out in glittery blue decorations. The nearby Broderie Room plays “Later on, we’ll conspire, as we dream by the fire,” with orange poinsettias the color of a flame.
Finally, the whimsical East Room recounts the “We’ll frolic and play, the eskimo way” lyric with an igloo backed by a mountain facade, along with a bear family made out of tree bark.
You won’t hear the “Winter Wonderland” song playing aloud at Phipps, but the lyrics will be posted as you sing it in your head. Several of the rooms contain glass creations — like hanging snowflakes, glass fern fronds and mushrooms — that illuminate at night. The winter show kicks off the seasonal period when Phipps is open every night until 11 p.m. instead of closing at the usual 5 p.m.
In the South Conservatory, which houses the Garden Railroad, the landscape has changed from prehistoric to the Wild West, with desert plants and Western settings.
Outside is the Winter Light Garden, which is open nightly. The decorated trees, orbs and fountains light up in multiple colors each night. On weekend days, visitors can get hot chocolate and other refreshments at an outdoor snack bar.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7824.