Ethan Mayes, one of the Winterthur Garden department’s talented summer interns, writes about Winterthur’s irrigation system:
Ever wonder how the Winterthur gardens stay lush and green through those hot summer months? One word—irrigation. Originally, H. F. du Pont saw the need to supplement rainfall with irrigation during the hot and dry summer months. And so a pump house was constructed on the Clenny Run stream in front of what is now known as the Dorrance Gallery. Over the years the system was revised, expanded, and optimized to bring about the system we know today.
Currently, a Flowtronix™ vertical turbine pump station, equipped with electronic clocks and flow valves, rests on the East Barn Pond and is capable of pumping 425 gallons per minute. East Barn Pond is fed by multiple ponds and springs on the property. The system pumps approximately 150,000 to 170,000 gallons of water daily.
The irrigation system at Winterthur is quite extensive and pumps water to areas like Sycamore Hill all the way to the main gate areas. With the different areas on the property come the many different forms of plant life. The irrigation is specialized to meet different plant needs by the utilization of different-sized underground pop-up sprinklers, permanent five-foot riser sprinklers, and even household above-ground sprinklers.
Each year, the entire system is winterized to prevent ruptures of the underground piping during the cold winter months. The system is then re-energized in April in time for the growing seasons.