Stowe Botanical

Belmont’s Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden ( isn’t rushing directly into the holidays: Oct. 18 brings the opening of Lost Hollow, a 3 1/3-acre expansion aimed at children that’s built around a medieval theme. It will hold 13 destinations for youngsters to explore, including Fireplace Cave – the entrance to which is through a fireplace. Lost Hollow also has Hillside Theater, a performance venue.

But of the 100,000 or so annual visitors to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, roughly a fifth usually arrive in December – and a third of them come from more than 100 miles away.

The draw is the Holidays in the Garden event, Nov. 22-Dec. 31, with artfully staged displays that use plants to set holiday stages, indoors and out.

Tried-and-true crowd-pleasers will be back, including the 16-foot Orchid Tree made from more than 300 blooming orchids.

At the garden’s Four Seasons Lawn, a 30-foot Fraser fir, grown and cut in the North Carolina mountains, will be draped with lights and encircled by an operating, scaled-down railroad train.

Elsewhere, about 100 trees, from birch to magnolias to traditional firs, will be decked in lights. You’ll also find topiary decked in burlap, flocked pine cones and creative lighting.

The Orchid Conservatory, where colorful tropical plants will be in bloom, will have its own special effects and three garden-scale trains (cars are the size of shoe boxes).

There will be an outdoor fire pit for roasting marshmallows (bring your own or buy a kit when you arrive).

John Bordsen