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The Winterthur interns along with garden staff embarked on a two day trip, highlighting some gardens in New York.  Laura Swain, Natural Lands Intern wrote about their experience:

After what seemed like an eternity driving in circles around The High Line, we finally found a garage that would accommodate our twelve-passenger van. Welcome to New York!   Excited to stretch our legs and finally explore our destination, we half ran to the first entrance of The High Line, trying not to gag from the “unique smells of the city”.  (It has to be a bad street or something; it can’t smell like that everywhere, right?)

Luckily, The High Line smelled much better and the views of the bustling city were phenomenal.  As we walked along, being hurried by the hoards of people walking on their lunch hour, we all conversed about how drastically different this scene was than what we are used to.  Not only the hundreds (or maybe even thousands?) of people that we saw on our hour stroll were different but the planting design was very different as well.  The planting design at The High Line was created based off of the hardy perennials, grasses, and shrubs that took over during its twenty-five year hiatus.  The last train ran on The High Line in 1980 and groundbreaking for the park didn’t take place until April of 2006. Incorporating these early successional plants as well as designing for color and texture variation, The High Line was built for lasting enjoyment as a respite from the concrete jungle but sort of lacks the “wow!” factor when it comes to nerdy horticulture stuff.  In a park located some 30 feet above the streets, ease of maintenance and sustainability are key, therefore plants must be chosen accordingly.

Overall, the park is a great success.  They are utilizing sustainable practices and have created amazing little microclimates based on the high-rise shading in certain areas and harsh winds from the Hudson in others.  It is a haven for city-workers and tourists alike, complete with native, locally sourced plant life as well as interactive art and entertainment.  Great selfie opportunities, too!

 

Intern Selfie on the High Line

Intern Selfie on the High Line

 

Hudson River from the High Line

Hudson River from the High Line

 

From The High Line, we made a few attempts at street food but it was crowded everywhere and we were in a time crunch due to the traffic and parking debacle.  So, with the help of van snacks by Michele, we persevered through hunger and traffic toward the Bronx.  Literally, my first view of the gardens at Wave Hill took my breath away.  Inviting chairs and benches littered the Great Lawn and a bouquet of fragrances welcomed us. This was just the backdrop for the throne-like Pergola Overlook.  Almost hidden by the hardy kiwi vine Actinidia arguta, this ruin-esque structure housed the most vibrant and creative plant design tactics.   Lime green to rust orange Dryopteris and scarlet red to dark purple Coleus fight for the spotlight, while more subtle iron piping and shipping palettes were overflowing with bright succulents and tropicals.  The tour that followed was unbelievable and I can’t even begin to go into all of the detail that our wonderful tour guide, Charles Day, shared with us.  Wave Hill is also home to an historical estate-turned-art-gallery that looked promising, although we didn’t get a chance to explore; I would definitely go back to check it out! They have an impressive green house that was flush with cacti, succulents, and all sorts of tropicals.  After a fantastic yet lengthy tour, we all had lunch in the café at Wave Hill – delicious and well deserved!

 

Pergola at Wave Hill

Pergola at Wave Hill

 

Hudson River View from Wave Hill

Hudson River View from Wave Hill

Greenhouse filled with Succulents

Greenhouse filled with Succulents

 

We arrived at the New York Botanical Garden early the next morning to meet Todd Forrest the Vice President of Horticulture and Living Collections.  No matter which way I word it, it seems like an understatement when trying to describe what Todd does.  He oversees virtually everything – including our heavily planned and timed tour.

Winterthur Staff at NYBG Entrance

Winterthur Staff at NYBG Entrance

After a great introduction to the garden and its history from Todd, we departed with Michael Hagan, the Curator of the Rock Garden, which they opened specially for us.  For most of us, this garden was our favorite – filled with familiar and exotic species displayed beautifully in the alpine habitat with flowing streams.  While inside NYBG, it was entirely too easy to forget you were in the heart of the Bronx.  From the Rock Garden, we explored the native plant meadow and wetland, dashed through the family forest, past their version of Azalea Woods, and onto the amazing greenhouse!

Wetland at NYBG

Wetland at NYBG

The new greenhouse facility was unlike anything I had ever seen – like we stepped into a scene from Jurassic Park or something.  Exotics of all varieties literally filled every inch of the one acre under glass.  All of the tour guides that we had throughout the day at NYBG were truly fantastic, but Marc “The Orchid Guy” who showed us the greenhouse was entirely captivating! His enthusiasm radiated as he showed us as much of the space as time allowed, including an orchid that can launch its pollen up to three feet!  The greenhouse staff was getting ready for an upcoming exhibit on Japanese Kiku and our final tour guide, Brian Sullivan, let us get a little sneak peak at the preparation of training the plants for synchronous bloom – truly fascinating!

Greenhouse at NYBG

Greenhouse at NYBG

From there, Brian led us through very formal perennial gardens decorated with poetry posters, on to the conservatory which I’m pretty convinced was actually the set of a movie or something because it was just entirely too good to be true! I could go on forever, but I won’t.  Christian Primeau, the conservatory manager took the time to walk us through all of the rainforest and desert microclimates, explaining each with enthralling detail.  The main exhibit revolved around Frida Kahlo’s personal gardening – the colors and culture were breathtaking! Something you have to see for yourself!

Conservatory Display at NYBG

Conservatory Display at NYBG

On the last leg of our journey through the 240 acres that is NYBG, we passed beautiful waterfalls of the Bronx River, and meandered through an old-growth forest that spawned the property’s conservation many years ago.   We also got to chat one on one with Brian, a landscape architect, about career advice and brief words of wisdom.  Afterwards, we ate lunch and then explored on our own – checking out their children’s garden, obviously!

As we piled back in the van and readied ourselves for snacks and sleepy naps, I couldn’t help but reflect on what a jam-packed yet beautiful two days it had been! It was one more reassuring adventure that the ride we are on is headed in the right direction.  I wish I could even begin to describe it all in this already lengthy post but it was definitely two days I will not soon forget!

Contented and Exhausted Staff on Return Ride Home

Contented and Exhausted Staff on Return Ride Home

 

 

THE MISSION

Frank Quinnette, on assignment and contributing writer to the Garden Blog reports the following:

The Location: Pond near the Ox Farm (Route 100 and Route 92)

The Date: 24-July-2015

The Time: 17:00 EDST (5:00 pm)

The Team: Highly skilled Winterthur garden interns from around the country

The Mission: Catch fish in Ox Farm pond and move them to the irrigation pond in preparation for work on the Ox Farm pond

The Result: MISSION FAILED

Relocate and commence secondary mission: code name CATCHWATEVA

The Result: MISSION COMPLETE (pictorial confirmation below)

Jen: Preparing for the (1st) Mission

Jen: Preparing for the (1st) Mission

Julia and Jen: Patiently waiting for results...

Julia and Jen: Patiently waiting for results…

Rachel: Ready for 2nd Mission

Rachel: Ready for 2nd Mission

Hayden: Fishing... for a tan!

Hayden: Fishing… for a tan!

Julia: Mission Complete--SUCCESS

Julia: Mission Complete–SUCCESS

Jen:  Mission Complete--SUCCESS

Jen: Mission Complete–SUCCESS

Jeff:  Mission Complete--SUCCESS

Jeff: Mission Complete–SUCCESS

Hayden: Mission Complete--SUCCESS (and a little summer color, too!)

Hayden: Mission Complete–SUCCESS (and a little summer color, too!)

Rachel: Mission Complete--SUCCESS

Rachel: Mission Complete–SUCCESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The August 2nd Saturday walk was moved to August 1 in order not to conflict with another activity on the Estate. It will still start at 7:00 pm and go out to the train station. I apologize if this causes any confusion.

Thanks,

Chris

One of our Garden and Estate Interns Sam Greenberg writes the following about a recent experience:

On July 9th, the Winterthur interns traveled to Awbury Arboretum for the Regional Intern Outreach Day. We were joined by interns from a dozen different organizations including Longwood, Mt. Cuba, and the Morris Arboretum. As soon as we arrived we were split into groups and given our work assignments. Our assignments included nursery restoration, invasive plant removal, as well as planting an embankment.

 

Interns working on and embankment

Interns working on and embankment

After a humid day of work, we were treated to lunch and enjoyed listening to the panel answer our questions. George Coombs, Melanie Sifton, and Carrie Wiles did a great job and answered a range of questions including using native plants exclusively within gardens as well as giving general career advice. George Coombs from Mt. Cuba gave a great answer on redefining what people think of when they hear the term native plants. Melanie Sifton shared with the group some of the qualities that she looks for when hiring at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Carrie Wiles told us her experiences and her career path that led her toward her current job at North Creek Nurseries. It was a wonderful day and a great way to help out the surrounding public garden community.

 

Francis Cope House was the setting for lunch and lecture

Francis Cope House was the setting for lunch and lecture

Interns learning from horticultural panel

Interns learning from horticultural panel

 

 

 

July 29, 2015

Join Winterthur horticulturist David Schurr, as he welcomes the true movers and shakers of the Winterthur Garden—the summer garden interns. Hear first-hand accounts of what a summer is like living and working on an American treasure.

7-29 intern photo 2

Walks last 45–60 minutes. Join us for demonstrations, talks, and guided walks covering a wide range of gardening topics. These events begin at 11:30 am on Wednesdays from April through October (except August). Wednesday at Winterthur is free with all admission tickets. Members are free.

No reservations necessary. Please dress for the weather and wear walking shoes. Walks are generally not handicap accessible due to rough ground and steep garden paths.

July 22, 2015

In August 2014, Winterthur gained two new residents—Franklin and Stanley, a pair of Boer goats. The Natural Lands team acquired these two friendly fellows from the New Castle County 4-H program and will be using them to reduce the densities of various woody invasive plants throughout our woodlands. Come out to meet Franklin and Stanley in person, feed them some treats, and learn how goats are gaining popularity across the country as an effective invasive plant management tool and how Winterthur plans to use them!

7-22 meet the goats

Walks last 45–60 minutes. Join us for demonstrations, talks, and guided walks covering a wide range of gardening topics. These events begin at 11:30 am on Wednesdays from April through October (except August). Wednesday at Winterthur is free with all admission tickets. Members are free.

No reservations necessary. Please dress for the weather and wear walking shoes. Walks are generally not handicap accessible due to rough ground and steep garden paths.

You might not realize it yet, but this is a red letter day at Winterthur. The garden blog hit 1000 posts!  Hooray! Now, on to #1001.

First, my apologies for my blogerial absence. Been doing a little world and U. S. of A. traveling. Had the great good fortune of visiting Peterhof gardens outside St. Petersburg. (The ‘real’ St. Petersburg, not ‘St. Pete’ in Florida.)  Gotta say, as much I enjoyed the garden of the czars, I think a combined a visit to Longwood, Winterthur, and Nemours beats Peterhof hands down.  And no passport and visa required!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the weather lately. When do we ever get this low of humidity in Delaware in mid-July?  So, have I got plans?  Yes, I do.

Yesterday, I enjoyed lunch with former colleagues and forever friends at Winterthur, then while they went back to their offices (sorry, gang!), I strolled through the Winterthur Garden. Here are pictures from my walk. Such fun!

 

Crape myrtles near Dorrance Galley

Crape myrtles near Dorrance Galley

Lovely container plantings surround the newly-restored Italian Gate, just past the Dorrance Gallery

Lovely container plantings surround the newly-restored Italian Gate, just past the Dorrance Gallery

This spot is just begging for you to sit a spell. On the upper terrace, above the Reflecting Pool.

This spot is just begging for you to sit a spell. On the upper terrace, above the Reflecting Pool.

The Boxscroll Garden

The Box Scroll Garden

The Magnolias of the Sundail Garden

The Magnolias of the Sundial Garden

Sundial Garden, looking towards Sycamore Hill, with Dawn Redwood in left background

Sundial Garden, looking towards Sycamore Hill, with Dawn Redwood in left background

View across the back ponds with restored weirs below the Quarry Garden

View across the back ponds with restored weirs below the Quarry Garden

Plum-leaf Azalea near Quarry Garden

Plum-leaf Azalea near Quarry Garden

A beautiful day lily near Reflecting Pool bath house.

A beautiful day lily near Reflecting Pool bath house.

A very happy bee lives here...agapanthus in containers around the Reflecting Pool

A very happy bee lives here…agapanthus in containers around the Reflecting Pool

Red maples in containers by Brown Horticulture Center

Red maples in containers by Brown Horticulture Center

 

And today? An afternoon hike through the shade at Mt. Cuba Center, then we’re meeting friends at Longwood Gardens to see the Nightscape exhibition plus dinner at their Victory Beer Garden.  (I was torn…Winterthur is having a Pop-up Beer Garden tonight too…so many great choices!)

Main observations on my walk at Winterthur yesterday:

* lots and lots of families with children were thoroughly enjoying the garden on a most beautiful day. Heard squeals of delight across the landscape.

* the garden suffered tremendous tree losses during a recent storm, but the garden department has done a yeoman’s job of cleaning everything up. You might know how much I love trees, so seeing the remaining damage was hard on my heart. (I should look it up…what exactly does a yeoman do?)

* if you look just above the Quarry Garden and below Enchanted Woods, you find an azalea is full bloom. It’s a cheery orange-red plum-leaf azalea. Blooms in mid-summer every year!

* when I picture the garden of Eden, the lower March Bank walk, with all the ferns comes to mind…with clothes on, of course.

* I’m really lucky to live close enough to walk here whenever the mood (and good weather) strike!

 

The Less Traveled Paths

The white arrow tour that winds visitors through the garden in the spring has a summer twist to it.  The directional arrows have changed to a seasonal yellow color and now lead visitors through the wider estate to experience the dynamic habitat of our meadows.

Yellow Arrow in the Field

Yellow Arrow in the Field

The meadows at Winterthur are part of the rolling landscape of the Piedmont and many of the unimpeded views alone make the walk worth the trip.  There also lies a lot of beauty and activity within.  Tall tawny-colored grasses are accented with different wildflowers of the season.

Wildflowers in Meadow

Wildflowers in Meadow

 

Wildflowers in Meadow

Wildflowers in Meadow

 

Wildflowers in Meadow

Wildflowers in Meadow

Swallows and purple martins show off their adept flying skills in their constant search for insects. Damselflies and dragon flies hover just above the height of the fields and of course, there are butterflies.  From a distance, the landscape is breathtaking but when immersed in it, the flurry of activity is magical.

I asked Rachel Sadowski, one of our Natural Lands Interns for a synopsis of the trails and she wrote and the following:

There are two loops:

  • The big loop starts at the front pond near the Visitors Center, goes past Chandler Woods over to Browns Meadow then down Sycamore Hill and finishes at the Quarry.
  • There is also an option for a smaller loop that starts on Garden Lane at Browns Meadow—near Magnolia Bend and goes through the meadow, over to Sycamore Hill and around to the Quarry.

The big loop also goes directly past the trailheads for Chandler Woods and Browns Woods, while the small loop goes past just Browns Woods, for optional walking additions.

 

Venture in part of the estate that you may not have before.  Bring along your favorite flower/bird/insect guide book (or a smart phone) and do a little nature exploration and if you don’t know the difference between a damsel and dragon fly, now is your chance to find out!

I'll Take a Stab at it; Horace's Duskywing Butterfly?

I’ll Take a Stab at it; Horace’s Duskywing Butterfly?

July 15, 2015

Groundcovers are low-growing plants used to cover bare ground and prevent the growth of weeds. They also can be useful in problem areas, such as slopes where mowing grass would be difficult. They’re useful in any garden—public or private—and they provide an ornamental layer as well. There are many groundcovers available. Some do well even in full shade, others in bright sun, in wet soil, under dry soil conditions, where deer are a problem, and many are practically disease resistant. Come for a walk through the Winterthur Garden and see how the horticulturists put groundcovers to work.

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Walks last 45–60 minutes. Join us for demonstrations, talks, and guided walks covering a wide range of gardening topics. These events begin at 11:30 am on Wednesdays from April through October (except August). Wednesday at Winterthur is free with all admission tickets. Members are free.

No reservations necessary. Please dress for the weather and wear walking shoes. Walks are generally not handicap accessible due to rough ground and steep garden paths.

 

July 8, 2015

Over the past years, we have been replanting and restoring the design intent of the Winterthur Garden as envisioned by its creator, Henry Francis du Pont. Join Linda Eirhart, director of horticulture and curator of plants, to learn more about our process for garden restoration and to review examples of our work.

7-8 Garden restoration

Talk last 45–60 minutes. Join us for demonstrations, talks, and guided walks covering a wide range of gardening topics. These events begin at 11:30 am on Wednesdays from April through October (except August). Wednesdays at Winterthur is free with all admission tickets. Members are free.

No reservations necessary. Please dress for the weather and wear walking shoes. Walks are generally not handicap accessible due to rough ground and steep garden paths.