Longwood Gardens marks Easter with floral displays


Flower shows, egg hunts, sunrise services and steeplechase races receive top billing Easter weekend.

The heady aroma of Easter lilies stimulates the senses at the indoor garden display at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. The Easter Display opened yesterday and runs through April 23. Easter lilies, long-stemmed white calla lilies and other colorful blooms of the season create a perfect picture along the walkways of the conservatory.

The outdoor gardens are also full of spring color with daffodils, pansies, wildflowers, magnolias and flowering cherries all in bloom. You can wander through Longwood's 1,050 acres and find a path through the woods leading to the lakes and Italian Water Garden. At Easter, water begins to flow from the 600 jets in the Italian Water Garden and in the Main Fountain Gardens.

On Easter Sunday, St. Andrews School Concert Choir will perform at 2:30 p.m. in Longwood's Conservatory Ballroom. Longwood is open daily -- the outdoor gardens from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; indoor gardens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for ages 16-20; $1 for ages 6 to 15; free for under 6. Call (800) 737-5500 or (610) 388-1000.

Flowers by the sea

Ocean City will have a weekend Flower Show at the Convention Center, with lectures, slide presentations and demonstrations by Jim Wilson, gardening author and former host of the PBS program "Victory Garden;" syndicated columnist Mitzi Perdue and award-winning gardening author Laura Martin. She will demonstrate how to make decorations and gifts with items found in the garden. Alan Fusonie will bring an exhibit of historical gardening books, botanical prints and early seed catalogs from the National Agricultural Library in Bethesda.

A competition will take place Friday. It is divided into two categories: artistic, which includes miniature arrangements, centerpieces, garden landscapes and water gardens, and horticultural classes, including potted plants, hanging containers, miniature gardens, edibles and herbs, and orchids. Entries will be displayed throughout the weekend.

There will also be an Easter-bonnet contest, photos with the Easter Bunny, children's activities, a plant and flower market and an arts and crafts show.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults; $1.50 for ages 6 to 12; free for under 6. Call (410) 543-4637.

Kites in Delaware

The 27th annual Great Delaware Kite Festival will take place at Cape Henlopen State Park on Good Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be contests for all ages and abilities, with 'N trophies awarded in 28 different categories.

The Easter bunny will be there, along with clowns, face painters and others to entertain children. At the nearby Seaside Nature Center is a Touch Tank, where children can learn about various sea creatures. A variety of foods will be for sale.

Admission is free, but there is a $2 parking charge for out-of-state cars. Rain date is Saturday. Call (302) 645-8073.

White House event

The annual Easter Egg Hunt and Egg Roll on the south lawn of the White House is scheduled Easter Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting. Children must be between the ages of 3 and 6 and accompanied by an adult. Free timed tickets are available at the ticket window on the east side of the Ellipse.

While waiting to enter the White House grounds, children and their parents can join in the free activities on the Ellipse from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ages 3 to 10. Activities include stage entertainment, roving entertainment, storytelling and a springtime traditions tent. Call (202) 456-2200.

Maryland steeplechases

The season of the steeplechase in Maryland will be under way Saturday with the 84th running of My Lady's Manor Steeplechase Races at Jarrettsville Pike and Pocock Road. It is the first of the state's "big three" cross-country race meets. Two three-mile races over timber fences are featured. The first begins at 3:30 p.m., the second at 4:30 p.m. Light food and drink will be sold.

Admission is free, but there is a general parking fee of $25 per car. Proceeds benefit Ladew Topiary Gardens. Call (410) 557-9570.

Richmond races

The Strawberry Hill Races in Richmond, Va., Saturday are the climax of eight days of events. Gates open at the fairgrounds on Strawberry Hill at 9 a.m. race day; prerace activities begin at noon. Tickets cost $15; $25 after April 11. Proceeds benefit the Richmond Symphony. This year's theme, "A Salute to the British Isles," recognizes Britain as the birthplace of steeplechasing. On race day there will be a display of antique sports cars by the MG Car Club of Richmond and a tailgate competition, in which an award will be given for the "best use of British theme."

Carriage drives around the city on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the highlight of the week. About 25 antique carriages from Virginia and other states participate in the festivities.

Each race-week event benefits a different charity. Today's event is an urban trail ride through Richmond's historic areas at noon for the benefit of the Richmond Mounted Squad. The Tavern Tasting, an escorted bus tour that allows participants to sample some of Richmond's pubs, takes place tomorrow; proceeds go to the Central Virginia Foodbank.

Horse racing is scheduled at Dakotas of Innsbrook Tuesday; "Art for Animals" show, sale and auction occurs at the Hyatt Richmond Wednesday; the "Hoof Pick," in which alumni of Virginia universities select horses for the Saturday races at Richbrau Brewery, takes place Thursday; and the Strawberry Hill Gala, a black-tie benefit at the Old Dominion Building on Strawberry Hill, is Friday evening. Tickets cost $75, and proceeds will be donated to all race week beneficiaries and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Richmond.

For information, call (804) 228-3200.

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