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Du Pont Winterthur – Grounds

H.F. du Pont built Winterthur into a 2,500 acre estate where he pursued two of his passions:  horticulture and raising cattle.  Today Winterthur has been reduced to about 900 acres, retaining the gardens and plantings.  You can get a sense of the extent of the gardens from this map of the gardens or see a larger view of it here.

Garden Map

Garden Map

I found walking the paths amongst the gardens pleasant.  The Winterthur gardens are one of the last remaining examples of a gardening style known as “Wild Gardens”.  This garden design philosophy took hold in American, Britain and Ireland in the early 1900s, expanding on the idea of gardening in a broad, natural style.  William Robinson’s book The Wild Garden describes the foundation of this gardening concept as “placing perfectly hardy exotic plants under conditions where they will thrive.”  This is in contrast to other gardens such as Longwood Gardens, Central Park, or others.  Most of the original Wild Gardens have disappeared now, victims of land development and natural disasters.

Since I was visiting in the fall, the trees were in wonder color.  This Japanese Maplewas briliant in the morning sunshine.

Japanese Maple in fall color

Japanese Maple in fall color

The knurly undulating trunk of the Japanese Maple forms surrealistic shapes beneath its bright red leaves.

Japanese Maple from inside its capacious canopy

Japanese Maple from inside its capacious canopy

A more traditional garden setting surrounds the sundial, where one can sit on benches or stroll the lawns among the trees and flowering shrubs.

Sundial Garden

Sundial Garden

Of course there were a number of critters on the grounds.

Squirrel

Squirrel

Tufted Titmouse and Friend

Tufted Titmouse and Friend

Tufted Titmouse and Friend

Tufted Titmouse and Friend

At this time of year many bushes were festooned with brightly colored berries to attract the attention of birds.

Tea Viburnum and some Purple Winter Berries

Tea Viburnum and some Purple Winter Berries

Tea Viburnum and some Purple Winter Berries

Tea Viburnum and some Purple Winter Berries

In general, I enjoyed the gardens more than the house, magnificent as it was.

References:

Winterthur

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Mark Bobb

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