French drawing room at Hillwood


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Gardener’s Focus Tour | Bones of the Winter Garden

The winter garden may not be as splashy as spring bulbs or summer blooms, but a peaceful winter garden is equally amazing.

Explore the bones of Hillwood’s winter gardens with Jessica Bonilla, director of horticulture. Evergreen plants take center stage, deciduous woody plants become architectural, and hardscapes become more important. Winter’s cool light shapes the experience, and we can sense more subtle shades of green and brown. The few flowers in bloom are very special, and the texture of conifer needles and tree bark seem richer in the winter sunlight.Hillwood's greenhouse covered in snow 

Tickets are distributed at the Ellen MacNeille Charles Visitor Center upon opening each day. This thirty-minute tour is limited to twenty and meets in the visitor center conservatory. 



Jessica Bonilla (she/her) became Hillwood’s director of horticulture in 2020, after more than a decade working in the horticulture department. She leads her staff in maintaining all aspects of garden and greenhouse upkeep. With over twenty years of experience, she started her career in commercial landscaping and in 2000 became head gardener at a private estate in Rochester, NY, where she also ran her own landscaping business. She currently leads a variety of educational programs at Hillwood and has a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Contracting from Penn State.