Labor Day brings with it the unofficial end of summer and also the close of our Summer Internship Program.  Molly Hendry will be one of the interns who’s last day is Friday (some have already returned to college) but she still managed to put together one more blog post.  Thanks to Molly and the other interns this year for all of your contributions to the Winterthur Garden and Estate!

Each week the Winterthur Horticulture Interns are given the opportunity to participate in extra educational activities. This summer we have visited nearby gardens such as Mt. Cuba and Longwood Gardens for special behind-the-scenes tours from the staff. We have been trained in skills such as weed identification, pruning techniques, and large equipment operation. We have also had several plant ID talks, learned about plant records for the estate, and tried our hand at GPS mapping. But this year we had the unique opportunity of being the first group of Horticulture Interns to participate in an overnight trip. We loaded up two vans and headed toward northern Pennsylvania to explore Penn State and some of the surrounding area.

Winterthur Staff and Interns

Winterthur Staff and Interns


We started the trip with a tour of Penn State Arboretum’s new Children’s Garden with Linda Duerr, Director of Children’s Educational Programs. We learned about the commitment of the staff and the design team to help children understand more about the richness of the regional ecology and environment. There were large rocks that lead to caves and creeks similar to those found near Penn State. The garden takes you on a journey from a bird’s eye view of the region’s mountains and watersheds to feeling as small as an ant next to huge replications of trees and bugs near the back of the garden.

Penn State Arboretum's Children's Garden

Penn State Arboretum’s Children’s Garden

Child Going Through Cave

Child Going Through Cave

After lunch, we finished our tour of the arboretum with Patrick Williams, Director of Development at the PSU Arboretum. We learned more about the other existing gardens, such as the tropical and rose gardens, and future plans for new buildings and garden expansions such as the extensive pollinator garden.

Garden Area in Penn State Arboretum

Garden Area in Penn State Arboretum


After lunch we met up with Jeff Dice who showed us how the PSU horticulture team grows, installs, and manages all of the campus grounds. We walked around the greenhouses where all the annuals are grown to supply the 420 containers around campus.

Greenhouses on Penn State Campus

Greenhouses on Penn State Campus


We also ventured onto campus and saw the Secret Garden near the alumni center and learned about the rigid management program the staff uses to protect the American Elms from disease. To top off the day, we grabbed some ice cream at the campus creamery.

Water Garden on Penn State Campus

Water Garden on Penn State Campus

Prized Elm On Old Main, Penn State Campus

Prized Elm On Old Main, Penn State Campus

The next day we packed up and headed to Garden Genetics, located outside of PSU in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. We were given a tour by Mike Owen, a Research Grower at Garden Genetics. We saw firsthand all the greenhouses where extensive research is happening to create new cultivars of anything from petunias to peppers.

One of Many Greenhouses at Garden Genetics

One of Many Greenhouses at Garden Genetics

We also took a stroll outside to see the research plots where the new cultivars are tested and analyzed by the staff. We all walked out of our tour amazed at the dedication, precision, and persistency of the staff to creating newer and better plant breeds.

Beautiful Sky (PSU Colors)and Greenhouses at Garden Genetics

Beautiful Sky (PSU Colors)and Greenhouses at Garden Genetics

Finally, we stopped at Hershey Gardens where Barb Witcraft, Director of Horticulture, gave us a tour of the gardens. We learned about the history of the rose garden, saw annual beds that encompassed every color of the rainbow, and took a stroll through the Kid’s Garden, complete with a butterfly house!

Butterfly House at Hershey Gardens

Butterfly House at Hershey Gardens

The first overnight venture for the Winterthur Horticulture Interns was a resounding success. We each took away valuable educational experiences for our careers, while also getting to bond with fellow interns and staff! We are all very grateful that Winterthur is committed to giving interns valuable experiences both inside and outside of the garden.


Our terrific volunteers have compiled another list of ‘what’s in bloom’ in the Winterthur Garden. They completed their latest study on August 20. You’ll find the entire list here: http://www.winterthur.org/pdfs/Winterthur Bloom List 08-20-14 25.pdf
Summer green is punctuated by seasonal blooms—e.g., Queen Anne’s Lace  (Daucus carota)  in the meadows. The edges of the two lagoons flanking the entrance drive are worth exploring for the multiplicity of species finding place there. The Summer Shrub Slope, near the flagpole at the Visitor Center, is in full bloom.
Aster divaricatus (White Wood-aster) is in bloom throughout, but is reported only here.
Thanks, too, to volunteer Bob Leitch for these amazing photographs of the Winterthur Garden, focusing mainly on the Quarry Garden.

One of our wonderful plant record volunteers, Walter Hipple, shares his observations of the Winterthur Garden. Thank you, Dr. Hipple!


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Photo by Bob Leitch

A meadow walk too little explored begins at the Quarry.  Walk under the bridge, cross the outlet stream, and  then follow it to its junction with Clenny Run. Pursue the path along Clenny Run and the Duck Pond all the way to the pump house.

Then backtrack a bit and take the zig-zag path up the slope of Sycamore Hill; at the top it will lead you to a break in the split-rail fence, through which you emerge onto the level garden of trees and shrubs atop Sycamore Hill. Crossing this garden, you find the paved walk back to the Quarry. (Of course, you can do this walk in reverse, starting at the break in the split-rail fence atop Sycamore Hill and ending at the Quarry.)

As you leave the Quarry, you will see that the usually picturesque outlet stream is in disarray, as its bed is being restored. Even so, a few Black-eyed Susans and perhaps some yellow Evening Primroses survive along the stream, and on the meadow side the white heads of Queen Anne’s Lace and it may be a few belated lavender thistles are to be seen.

Once you turn along Clenny Run, the ubiquitous small white Heath Aster is abundant, as is Early Goldenrod–and across the Run you will see the spectacular red and pink blooms of the Swamp Mallow (actually a wild hibiscus). Here and there to your left is New York Ironweed–flowers, stems, and even leaves all shades of purple–and the dusty white heads of White Snakeroot (a eupatorium). You pass a clump of Cat-tails, and flanking the stream is an impressive stand of Indian Cup (Silphium). At the pump house is a fine white Swamp Mallow and more Evening Primroses.

When you start up the hillside, you will see dotted here and there the bright orange of Butterfly-Weed (a milkweed)–beyond its season but regrowing after careful mowing. It’s a favorite of the Monarch butterfly. (You may know Robert Frost’s poem, “A Tuft of Flowers,” in which a clump of Butterfly Weed, spared by the mowers, becomes a symbol of human brotherhood.)

The top of Sycamore Hill, though too little visited, is earlier in the season one of the beauty spots of Winterthur. Now, at the end of August, only the brilliant white heads of the Pee-Gee Hydrangeas remain amidst the greens.


Dr. Hipple’s essay is complemented by these terrific photographs by another volunteer, Bob Leitch:


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By Bob Leitch

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By Bob Leitch

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By Bob Leitch

DSC_2011 Cardinal Flower B.Leitch compressed

By Bob Leitch

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By Bob Leitch

One of our terrific volunteers, Dr. Hipple, works each week to compile the Winterthur Bloom List. Today, he offers his astute observations on the Winterthur Garden.

The entrance drive threads its way between two lagoons–and the shores of those lagoons, rich in plant life, are too little visited. A wide path follows the eastern edge of the north lagoon, and this is worth exploring.

Just walk back west on the entrance road from the parking lot. Note the yellow Vetchling along the road’s edge and then a cluster of sky-blue Chicory at the entrance to the path. Along the path are brambles–wild black raspberries. As of early August, most of the berries are still red, but some have turned black–and these are very edible.

On both sides of the path, and extending into the meadow on the eastern side, early Goldenrod is abundant, mixed with the flat white heads of Queen Anne’s Lace.  You are sure to see the red-winged blackbirds which inhabit this little wilderness.

On the other side of the entrance drive is the southern lagoon.  Walk in the grass along its south edge.  Taller than you are the yellow flowers of the Indian Cup; the Indian Cups then stretch along Clenny Run, which drains the lagoon to the south.

Next are the spectacularly large red blooms of the Swamp Rose Mallow; further on are some equally beautiful pink mallows. Scarlet Lobelias are now opening, and you may still see a belated lavender bloom of Wild Bergamot. In the grassy field are the white blooms of Queen Anne’s Lace; And at the very edge of Clenny Run is a Button-bush, named for the white globes of its flowers.

There are other plants around both lagoons–and they are all listed in the weekly Winterthur Bloom Report, accessible on line. Keep in mind that although some wild flowers, like Goldenrod, are long-lasting, many are ephemeral–here this week, gone next week, their places taken by others.


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Here’s the latest Winterthur Bloom List: http://www.winterthur.org/pdfs/Winterthur bloom List July 30 2014.22.pdf

Molly Hendry, one of our Garden and Estate Interns wrote :


On July 10th, all of the Winterthur horticulture interns loaded up into a van and headed over to participate in the Regional Intern Workday hosted this year at Tyler Arboretum. We were joined by over 60 interns from Longwood Gardens, Scott Arboretum, Morris Arboretum, Mt. Cuba, Temple, Adkins Arboretum, Chanticleer Garden, and Jenkins Arboretum.

We were split in to several different groups with interns from other public gardens to complete various tasks such as dead wooding hydrangeas, pruning lilacs, mulching paths, clearing debris, weeding, and anything else that we could do to serve. It felt good to join hands with other students and give back to an incredible institution near us. I think all of the Winterthur interns would agree the most thrilling part of Thursday was being able to talk to other students in our field. We loved getting to hear about different internships, what they hope to gain from this summer, how they found a love for horticulture, what they want to be doing years from now and how they want to get there.

We had a delightful lunch, complete with ice cream and a panel of wonderful speakers. The panel was made up of Amy Mowby (Director of Public Programs at Tyler Arboretum), Emma Seniuk (Gardener at Chanticleer), Tim Mountz (owner of Happy Cat Farms), and Mark Highland (owner of Organic Mechanics). Each member of the panel comes from a different facet of the horticulture industry, yet they each had very compelling advice for budding horticulture professionals. One of the most poignant insights the members of the panel had was that almost all of them saw themselves on a completely different career trajectory when they were our age. They are glad they continued to pursue their goals by simply taking the next right step, staying curious, and chasing what they cared about. As a student entering the professional world and seeking to find a niche, there are few things which can rival how inspiring it was to listen to those who are more experienced than us and learn how they found the career they love.

Gertrude Jekyll wrote in her book On Gardening, “Let no one be discouraged by the thought of how much there is to learn…  For the first steps are steps into a delightful Unknown, the first successes are victories all the happier for being scarcely expected and with the growing knowledge comes the widening outlook, and the comforting sense of an ever-increasing gain of critical appreciation.” This quote was resonating in my head as I listened to the panel and fellow students discussing their future aspirations. As interns, we have the incredible opportunity of being in the “delightful unknown”; a place which can seem daunting, but in reality it is teaming with opportunities for the future.  Jeykll ends by saying, “Each new step becomes a little surer, and each new grasp a little firmer, till, little by little, comes the power of intelligent combination, the nearest thing we can know to the mighty force of creation.”

Internships are such a wonderful way to take the first step into the unknown and begin to sift through the possibilities. By learning new skills, meeting other students, networking with professionals, and spending time out of the classroom, we have the ability to gain a firmer grasp on how we can contribute to the field of horticulture. Our service day began as us giving back to an institution but ended with us getting much more in return through the inspiration of other interns and leaders in Public Horticulture.

Thank you Tyler Arboretum and fellow interns for a wonderful day of service and learning!

2014 Intern Outreach Group Photo

2014 Intern Outreach Group Photo


Each year we have the children in our gardening program take photos of their gardens – if you follow the tab (‘Kids Garden Photographs’) at the top of this page you can see what they found with their cameras.

Happy August!

Thanks to our volunteers, here’s the 5-page bloom list for this week:

http://www.winterthur.org/pdfs/Winterthur bloom List July 30 2014.22.pdf

Early summer flowers are now vanished; what remains is in large part a symphony of greens. Yet the green is punctuated by the blooms of midsummer—e.g., Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) in the meadows.

The edges of the two lagoons flanking the entrance drive are worth exploring for the multiplicity of species finding place there. The Summer Shrub Slope is in full bloom. The Chinese Astilbe along the walk from the Glass Corridor to the Reflecting Pool is remarkable.


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The Armour Barn near Front Drive

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Indian-cup Flowers along Clenny Run

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Stone wall near Post Office

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Lovely stone and brick work near Post Office

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Summer blooms near Greenhouses



July 30, 2014 – Please 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.

7-30 interns

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). 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.

July 23, 2014 – Do you have a small area in your yard that you want to redesign? Maybe you need more privacy or your foundation planting needs help.  Drawing a garden plan is really very easy.  Amy Bloom-Mountz will show you how with a few measurements, and a pencil and paper. It is easy to do, and YOU can do it!

7-23 Recommendations1.

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).  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.

Summer is exploding in the Winterthur Garden with the soft purple of Russian Sage and Hosta ventricosa. Day lily’s add their touch of orange while Joe-Pye weed displays puffs of mauve. Near the Reflecting Pool, you’ll find Glossy abelia attracting butterflies and water-loving plants sheltering happy frogs and flashy fish.

Enchanted Woods is ringed in white, pink and blue of hydrangea and hosta. Sink into the refreshing, lush green, fern valley along the lower March Bank walk. Along stream banks, bright yellow Indian cup flowers wave a greeting to summer visitors while attracting gold finches to their seed heads.

Experience summer in the cool of the Winterthur Garden today!


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Here’s the latest bloom list, thanks to our fantastic volunteers:

http://www.winterthur.org/pdfs/Winterthur bloom list July 16 2014.pdf