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Garden Design Duo—H.F. du Pont and Marian Cruger Coffin

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – 11:30 am – Brown Horticulture Learning Center

Henry Francis du Pont’s earliest collaboration in building his Museum was with Bertha King Benkard, and in his Garden his chosen design partner was Marian Cruger Coffin, one of America’s first female landscape architects. Indeed, Mr. du Pont was gender-blind when seeking advice from the experts! Join Museum and Garden Guide Debra Shedrick for an exploration of this productive partnership. Following the 30-minute presentation, take a guided walk through the Sundial Garden and East Terrace – two lasting examples featuring the design work of this dynamic duo.

Marian Coffin and one of her drawings for the Winterthur Garden

“Garden Insider” is a new name for a longstanding Winterthur tradition (“Wednesdays at Winterthur”). Join us for this unique series of walks, talks, and demonstrations which introduce you every week to a specialist from among the staff, volunteers, and other professionals affiliated with the Winterthur Garden. Presentations explore all aspects of the Winterthur Garden and Estate – their history, design, and plants – as well as current topics of interest in horticulture, agriculture, and environmental studies. All presentations start at 11:30 am at the Brown Horticulture Learning Center. About 1 hour. Free to Members and included with admission.

Winterthur and Delaware’s Pollinator Protection Plan

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – 11:30 am – Brown Horticulture Learning Center

Pollinators are a key component of U.S. agriculture, but sadly they are facing multiple stresses including parasites, pesticide exposure, and habitat loss. Thalia Pappas, of the Delaware Department of Agriculture, will describe Delaware’s “Managed Pollinator Protection Plan,” part of a wider federal effort to protect the health and habitat of honeybees and native pollinators.  Learn how Winterthur’s meadows are playing an important role in protecting pollinators.

Apis sp.

“Garden Insider” is a new name for a longstanding Winterthur tradition (“Wednesdays at Winterthur”). Join us for this unique series of walks, talks, and demonstrations which introduce you every week to a specialist from among the staff, volunteers, and other professionals affiliated with the Winterthur Garden. Presentations explore all aspects of the Winterthur Garden and Estate – their history, design, and plants – as well as current topics of interest in horticulture, agriculture, and environmental studies. All presentations start at 11:30 am at the Brown Horticulture Learning Center. About 1 hour. Free to Members and included with admission.

Beyond the Spring Bling

In the time of much “gardening bling” it is easy to overlook some of the subtler beauty that is awakening at the same time. A bright red tulip, a show-stopping yellow forsythia mass, or the lush pastel fluff of a cherry tree in full flower is likely to grab anyone’s attention but surrounding that is just as much eye candy minus the bling.

Walking from the Peony Garden yesterday I came across a beech tree unfurling near the Museum Store (with a lot of spring bling for sale!) and it was beautiful.  A fellow employee asked what I was doing and we both looked at this “ordinary sight” with eyes of wonderment.

Beech flowers emerging

The rest of the walk back to my office—through parking spaces and main road access (not the most glamorous of places) —was filled with the quiet beauty that surrounds us.

Miniature leaves of tulip poplar

Bright red emerging leaves of oak

Felted leaves of oakleaf hydrangea

Catkins of musclewood

A cooler spot in the garden where the beech have not yet opened up

After the subdued color palette of winter, it is great to celebrate the addition of color to the spring landscape but take time to look past that to what else is happening.  Look at your own garden, park spaces or even plants in the shopping centers with new eyes and see beyond the obvious to find the mystery that lurks behind the flowering flash.

As Brandywine gardeners we are truly lucky to be surrounded by so many great horticultural organizations. I thought it might be useful to have a simple, shorthand guide to plant sales in the area to help you plan your weekend purchasing. If I have missed a sale, please send me a comment.

APRIL

Saturday, April 22
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve
Native Plant Nursery Opening Day

Friday & Saturday, April 28 & 29
University of Delaware Botanic Garden
25th Anniversary Plant Sale Celebration

Saturday, April 29
Delaware Center for Horticulture
37th Annual Rare Plant Auction

MAY

Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7
Delaware Nature Society
Native Plant Sale

Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7
Tyler Arboretum
Annual Plant Sale

Saturday, May 13
Brandywine River Museum
Annual Wildflower, Native Plant & Seed Sale

Saturday, May 13
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
2017 Annual Plant Sale

Tips

Almost all of these sales offer member and donor previews, so if there is something special you really want, go ahead and join the organization and take advantage of the early access.

Look online for a preview list or catalog and then prioritize what you want to buy. Good plants often sell fast, so you need to be strategic.

Wear sunscreen and sunglasses, bring a bottle of water, fold the seats down in your car and put a tarp down in back, bring some plastic bags and cardboard boxes to prop plants and wrap up your purchases, and bring cash and checks in addition to your credit card.

The March Bank—A  Horticultural Treasure

The March Bank in all its glory is a stunning display of flowering bulbs and wild nature in harmony. Join horticulturist Amy Bloom-Mountz for a walk to the March Bank and learn about the significance of its abundant, eye-catching flora.

Italian windflowers (Anemone apennina) grace the March Bank

“Garden Insider” is a new name for a longstanding Winterthur tradition (“Wednesdays at Winterthur”). Join us for this unique series of walks, talks, and demonstrations which introduce you every week to a specialist from among the staff, volunteers, and other professionals affiliated with the Winterthur Garden. Presentations explore all aspects of the Winterthur Garden and Estate – their history, design, and plants – as well as current topics of interest in horticulture, agriculture, and environmental studies. All presentations start at 11:30 am at the Brown Horticulture Learning Center. About 1 hour. Free to Members and included with admission.

Color in the Early Spring Garden

Take an early spring walk through the Winterhazel Garden with horticulturist Michelle Stapleford.  Discover the beauty of cool, yellow-green winterhazels mixed with the warm lavender of early rhododendrons – a striking color combination that was among Mr. du Pont’s favorites!

Winterthur’s winterhazels and Korean rhododendrons glisten in the afternoon sun

“Garden Insider” is a new name for a longstanding Winterthur tradition (“Wednesdays at Winterthur”). Join us for this unique series of walks, talks, and demonstrations which introduce you every week to a specialist from among the staff, volunteers, and other professionals affiliated with the Winterthur Garden. Presentations explore all aspects of the Winterthur Garden and Estate – their history, design, and plants – as well as current topics of interest in horticulture, agriculture, and environmental studies. All presentations start at 11:30 am at the Brown Horticulture Learning Center. About 1 hour. Free to Members and included with admission.

The Year of Good Enough

While placing out the white arrows for our annual directional tour through the Winterthur Garden, I met up with several guests and the conversation did not change; it was focused on what flowers got hit and what made it through the cold temperatures unscathed. Comparisons along the same line were made between home gardens and the Winterthur Garden.

As I continued to wind the arrows through flowering displays, I thought to myself that this was going to be a spring of “good enough”. Instead of touting that an area is in its full blooming glory, it is downgraded to “come and look at the star magnolia flowers that did not get blasted from the cold” or “see the second half of the flowering quince display”.  Some areas such as the Winterhazel Garden will not even have that headline.  A few flowers are showing some color but as a collective, that garden area never even had the chance to come into its own this year. In a normal year, we are so disappointed by a mediocre flower display but this year we are thankful for whatever we get.

Slightly Browned Flowers on Star Magnolia

Quince flowers when they should be flowering!

Regardless of what occurred this past winter, the days are indeed getting longer, the grass is greening, the birds are singing and our world is slowly waking from its late winter sleep. As you stroll the white arrow tour in early spring, it will undoubtedly lead you through flowers just perhaps not so many.  But in the true hope of gardeners, there is always next spring…

They don’t call it Glory of the Snow for nothing!

Prunus ‘Accolade’ beginning to show color

Information Session on Volunteering in the Winterthur Garden

March 31, 10:00–11:30 am  |  Brown Horticulture Learning Center

Come learn about the many ways you can serve (and have fun!) in the Winterthur Garden. Led by Winterthur staff and current volunteers.

Pre-registration required. Please call 800.448.3883. Free to Members and included with admission.

 

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

If one was ever to get whiplash from weather it would have been this past winter—or was it spring? No, it was the winter that was a spring then reminded us that it was winter again. A heart break for many of us was when magnolias, forsythia and quince were in flower—a month early—then blasted by temperatures in the teens and then captured in ice.  On the upside though, I did get to check “see forsythia flower in February” off the bucket list.

When we experienced one of our late March snowfalls—which is not uncommon—the one thing that was different for us was just how far along the garden was in its flowering sequence. When asked if “the blue” would still occur once the snow melted the answer was a simple “I have no idea”.

I do have the answer now—and it is yes. Many of our early spring shrubs are vulnerable to the whims of weather changes.  Our winter and early spring bulbs seem to withstand the cold temperature dips much more; conversely, it is the warm days that will hasten their demise. With that in mind, it looks as if the next 10 days will be moderate with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s (70 tomorrow but overcast and rain so it will be a “cool” 70). This should help us toward a slower unfolding into spring.  If the predicted rains are not too hard—which can flatten bulbs, too—it should be a nice blue display for a while.

I had my horticultural lawyer look over the above stated prediction and I received this advice. If you want to see the garden, don’t wait for that “perfect day”,  just come and see it.  If the past few months have taught us one thing it is that flowers don’t look at the calendar.  They respond to the conditions around them.  If your schedule is tight this week, see if you can steal away time before your day starts, at lunch or toward the end of the day (my favorite time to see the March Bank) and capture the moment while the moment is still here.

(sorry…pictures did accompany this post but technology would not work with me.  Perhaps this is the nudge you need to come and see it for yourselves!)

 

Calling the next generation of horticulturists!

Do you have a passion for horticulture, appreciate history, and love to learn? Are you a college student or recent college graduate having completed six months or more of course work in horticulture (or a related field) and six months or more of horticultural work experience?

If you are serious about growing your knowledge and skills in public horticulture at one of the country’s premier historic gardens, look no further than Winterthur!

We still have openings for up to three Garden & Estate Interns and one Turf & Grounds Intern! These are paid internships and include free housing on-site. The Garden & Estate internships run May through August (flexible start- and end-dates), while the Turf & Grounds internship can start immediately.

All interns work one-on-one with experienced staff. They learn and practice sound horticultural techniques, as well as gain an understanding and appreciation of Mr. du Pont’s original design intent for the historic garden and grounds.

Interns have the opportunity to participate in an array of educational programming including special trainings, plant identification classes, and field trips to diverse horticultural destinations in the region.

For more information about the Horticulture Internship Program at Winterthur and how to apply, please contact Erica Anderson at <eander@winterthur.org>. Time is running out, so please act promptly!