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What a wonderful week it has been in Northern Delaware! My Wednesday: 17,268 steps in two stunning gardens, one blister on left heel. Well worth the pain!

Yesterday, I joined five others for an 8:30am fitness hike at Mt. Cuba Center. Yes, there are hills in Delaware! Check out their many wonderful programs:  http://issuu.com/mtcubacenter/docs/spsu15_program_guide?e=14731861/11951290

After the fitness hike, I sat in the Marian Coffin-designed pool garden at Mt. Cuba Center. The tulips surrounding the pool were in full and perfect bloom. I almost shed a tear for their exquisite beauty. Why? Not sure…maybe the pure translucent beauty, maybe the knowledge of the fleeting nature of perfection, maybe because I realize how much work it took to create the display ‘just for me’ (I got to enjoy it all by myself for 20 minutes), maybe because tulips were one of my late father’s favorites. For whatever reason, I was quite moved by the experience. (Sorry, no photo, I enjoyed the garden sans iPhone.)

After the hike and moments of reflection in the garden, I headed just a few minutes on down the road to check on late April in the Winterthur Garden. My favorite season at Winterthur! The two gardens complement each other beautifully; one focusing on native Piedmont plants (Mt. Cuba), and one perfecting the ‘Wild Garden’ concept.

Keep in mind, please, this Sunday, May 3, is Winterthur’s Point-to-Point event. http://www.winterthur.org/ptp It’ll be lively and fun at the Point-to-Point course, as well as in the garden and museum. Because of exceptional traffic on the estate roads, garden tram tours are not possible. However, garden walks are offered every 30 minutes, from 11a to 3p, leaving from the Visitor Center, tram boarding area. The walks will be about 30 minutes long, just enough to get you started on your own experience in the garden.  

Oh, and about Azalea Woods – when I walked through Azalea Woods on Wednesday, I saw lots and lots of trillium, Virginia bluebells, and other fabulous wildflowers in bloom, but most of the azalea blossoms were still pretty tight. Maybe with the heat yesterday afternoon and bright sunshine today, they’ve opened up, but this is what I saw on Wednesday morning:

Just a little color on azaleas in Azalea Woods

Just a little color on azaleas in Azalea Woods

 

In full bloom in the Winterthur Garden this week:

 

Tulips on the stone wall near the Brown Center

Tulips on the stone wall near the Brown Center

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Italian windflowers – like a sparkling lavender and white shimmering carpet near Azalea Woods

 

 

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The Japanese Maple near Magnolia Bend, new burgundy leaves emerging, billowy Magnolias in background

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Magnolias at Magnolia Bend – picture yourself here!

 

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Drifts of Daffodils against an Azure Sky

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Emerging Spring-green Oak Leaves

 

An early Azalea near Magnolia Bend

An early Azalea near Magnolia Bend

Crab apple tree in Pinetum

Crab-apple Tree in Pinetum

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Garden Glimpse Video

Visit now to see our drifts of daffodils, the magnolias of the Sundial Garden and the blooming spring ephemerals in Azalea Woods. The Winterthur Garden has a constant abundance of color and inspiration.

April 29, 2015

Please join garden guides Candy Dunson and Susan Smith in a walk to explore the March Bank and beyond to discover the spring flowers in bloom. Learn to identify them and hear about some of the history and the ideas behind how Henry Francis du Pont planted his garden.

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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). 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.

 

 

Spring is in the Air!

Last night’s temperatures don’t tell the whole tale of spring at Winterthur. There is sooooo much in bloom right now! The Sundial Garden is amazing, daffodils are in bloom all over the place, and the tulips on the stone wall above the Brown Horticulture Learning Center are stunning.  Yesterday afternoon, I put on my coat and gloves (can’t I box those gloves up yet?) and took in an hour-long hike in the Winterthur Garden. Sure beats a treadmill!

I started out at the tram boarding center to check in with the garden guides. JJ was her cheerful self, despite the chill, and Duncan was sporting a flower bedecked hat. Takes a real man to pull that off…and one with an excellent sense of humor.

Onward, following the white arrow trail, I explored the trilliums in Azalea Woods (just a tiny opening of the buds on the azaleas…it’ll be awhile.)  The trail led me down hill past gloriously bright forsythia, to beds of daffodils, and right to the splendor of Magnolia Bend. Picture yourself on the bench beneath the trees with Magnolia petals falling all around you.

I veered off the trail to stroll the Winterhazel Walk. I kinda missed its main display (planning a baby shower!), but it looks great as the hellebores are in full bloom. Through the Pinetum to say ‘hello’ to the Blue Atlas Cedar, then towards the Sundial Garden. Did you know the flowering quince are in full bloom in the Pinetum now?  Their colors are so similar to the pinks and corals of Azalea Woods, but don’t get too close, those thorns will get you!

The Sundial Garden is always one of my favorite places, especially in late April when it’s in full bloom. The way the dark green of the Pinetum backs it shows off the paler, softer colors of the Sundial Garden. Love. It!

I missed part of the trail that leads smack dab through the middle of Winterthur’s amazing daffodil display, in the field beyond the Pinetum.  I should have backtracked for that!  On to the Quarry Garden where there are just touches of deep purple beginning to show on the primroses. Also, check out the newly renovated weirs below the Quarry Garden. The new stone work looks fantastic. And it looks like a great place for frogs to lay their eggs – bonus!

Then where did I go?  I was kind of lost in the moment and not thinking about writing later. That in itself is a wonderful thing!  Oh yes, I rounded through Enchanted Woods observing a multi-generational family enjoying the day in the garden, despite the chill.

From there, the arrows led me along the March Bank where I saw one of my favorite plants, Uvularia, in full bloom. It’s not a bloom to write home about, but I like the bright hanging-down flowers, like visiting an old friend.

Up to the house to check out its new look. The new windows look fantastic, no longer black empty mirrors, they have some life and vitality. And no more scaffolding and green scrim.

From the house, I cut through the Galleries Reception Atrium on my way to the plant shop. Loes was busy laying out many, many new plants for purchase in her new digs. The plant shop has been entirely redone, inside and out, providing easy access to plants for your garden.

Lastly, I walked uphill to the Brown Center, extra points for hustling up that hill! Along the way, on the stone wall near the Coach House, one of the best displays of forsythia in the state, draping down the wall. Then, to top the walk off, the bright pink tulips near the Brown Center. Remember when Michele planted those last fall? They are in full bloom now. Well done!

A few pictures from my invigorating and mind-expanding walk in the Winterthur Garden on April 23. Get your tickets at the Visitor Center, or display your membership card, and get out in the garden this weekend!

 

Uvularia

Uvularia

Magnolia Bend

Magnolia Bend

Japanese Maple at Magnolia Bend with Daffodils

Japanese Maple at Magnolia Bend with Daffodils

Flowering Quince in Pinetum

Flowering Quince in Pinetum

Tulips near BHLC

Tulips near BHLC

Forsythia near Coach House

Forsythia near Coach House

Plants for Sale!

Plants for Sale!

Museum with new windows

Museum with new windows

Sundial Garden

Sundial Garden

April 22, 2015

The colorful daffodils throughout the Winterthur Garden date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Join Linda Eirhart, director of horticulture and curator of plants, for a closer look at the color and size variations in the cultivars grown at Winterthur. Linda will identify the known cultivars, explain the classification system of daffodils, and invite you to examine the still-to-be-identified flowers.

4-22 exploring historic daffodils

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.

Garden Glimpses

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Garden Glimpse Video

Visit now to see the March Bank in full bloom. The oldest surviving garden area at Winterthur, H. F. du Pont began the Bank in 1902 and by the 1940s had planted thousands of snowdrops, snowflakes, crocus, squill, and glory-of-the-snow.  A late spring this year means that you can still enjoy the show! View our Garden Glimpse video of this week’s bloom highlights on the March Bank.

Your Flowering Forecast

Magnolia flower

Magnolia flower

The next two days will feature highs in the 70’s; this will be what the budded blossoms need to jettison us into spring and to a little more seasonal flowering time.  As you probably have noticed, the garden has been a little behind schedule.  The forecast for early next week is for temperatures in the 60’s which will also bring on some color, followed by temperatures in the 50’s to help keep the flowers from fading.

This means what is now in full flower, such as the Winterhazel Walk, may come and go quickly so if you want to see that garden in full flower, perhaps a visit today or Saturday is in your future.  Some of the other plants you will find in flower now are magnolias, forsythia, daffodils, cherries and the first early wildflowers, also called spring ephemerals. What will be in flower in a few days remains to be seen. Perhaps checking in on the Twitter feed to the right of this page can keep you up to date with the spontaneous nature of the garden.

Ephemeral should be a mantra for spring in general.  The height of flower can be cut short by frost, high winds and a surge in heat.  The panacea for the ephemeral is to visit often.

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Join us on Saturday, April 18, and celebrate the beauty of the daffodil while enjoying Winterthur’s amazing daffodil display! Henry Francis du Pont used his collector’s eye in assembling his collection of hundreds of heirloom daffodil bulbs arranged in cloud-like drifts on Sycamore Hill. The day’s events will include tours, kids’ crafts, and a children’s daffodil show. Members free. Included with general admission. Make a reservation for Daffodil Day Afternoon Tea Buffet by calling 302.888.4826. The Afternoon Tea Buffet is $29.95 for adults and half off for children under 12. Members receive a 10% discount on up to 4 guests. Reservations required. (printable schedule here)

The Day’s Schedule

10:00-11:00
Children’s Daffodil Show Entries Meet at Visitor Center with their Daffodils

10:00-2:00
Daffodil Kids Activity at Visitor Center

11:30 & 1:30
Guided Daffodil Tour through the Drifts of Daffodils (tour starts near the Conifers)

1:00-2:30
Daffodil Workshop Brown Center

3:00
Daffodil Tea at Visitor Center (reservation required)

The following activities take place all day (10:00 am to 3:30 pm)

Children’s Daffodil Show on Display in the Visitor Center
Self-guided Daffodil Tour (follow the White Arrows starting at the Visitor Center or take the tram)
Special Tram Daffodil Stop (near the Conifers)
Spring Tour & Conservatory Display (begins in the Galleries Reception Area)
Plant Sales (at the Museum Store)

We hope that many families will join us on Daffodil Day for our Children’s Daffodil Show and crafts in the Visitors Center. The daffodil is a cheerful harbinger of Spring and a great way to introduce kids to gardening. The following link is to the very basic instructions for entrants in our first ever Children’s Daffodil Show. There will be lots of prizes and fun to be had by all! [Instructions]

April 15, 2015

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through field and woodland edges to observe bird species and activity. Please wear walking shoes and bring your binoculars.

 

4-15 Birds of Winterthur W@W

 

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.

It’s Blue!

For my first outing to Winterthur after retiring (yay!), I had to check on the March Bank. Knowing the glory-of-the-snow in my garden are blooming, I figured the March Bank had to finally be kicking in. Yesterday, though, it was chilly and overcast, so the little flowers were mostly closed.

 

View from Magnolia Bend

View from Magnolia Bend

 

This weekend, with the sun, it should be beautiful out there. Carve out at least an hour to enjoy open views from secluded benches, walks along curved paths, and a peaceful time to admire the blooms in the Sundial Garden (magnolias), Winterhazel Walk, and the March Bank.  It’ll be worth it!  Just display your membership card, or purchase admission at the Visitor Center, and the Winterthur Garden world is your oyster.

 

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Follow the white arrows to the March Bank

 

Disclaimer: I’ve all but given up trying to capture the ephemeral beauty of the blue phase of the March Bank via photographs. I must need a filter on my iPhone, or use a better camera.  And it’s not just the March Bank – the blue extends way beyond the March Bank, covering the ground near Enchanted Woods, in Azalea Woods, in surprising patches here and there. I noticed that yesterday there was so much blue, my mind started reading it as grass…like blue was the normal color of the ground.  Come and see for yourself!

 

Winterhazel Walk

Winterhazel Walk