To visit Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library is to experience one of the country’s great gardens. Meticulously designed by founder Henry Francis du Pont, more than 60 acres of naturalistic plantings in the garden delight viewers with a lyrical succession of color. Every season thrills with new blossoms, from the tender white snowdrops of late January through the white hardy camellias and flaming trees of fall.
Winterthur’s nearly 1,000 acres of quintessential Brandywine Valley landscape encompass rolling hills, streams, meadows, and woodlands that shaped du Pont’s appreciation of nature. A passionate horticulturist, he selected choice plants from around the world to enhance the natural setting, arranging them in stunning color combinations that express a romantic vision of nature’s beauty.
For more than 65 years, du Pont experimented with thousands of plants. The awakening of the March Bank is an annual ritual that signals the ending of winter. Begun in 1902, it is the oldest surviving garden area at Winterthur. Over time, du Pont planted countless snowdrops, snowflakes, crocus, winter aconites, and glory-of-the-snow that carpet the ground beginning in late January with shades of white, blue, lavender, and yellow.
Du Pont’s vision is most vivid in Azalea Woods, an eight-acre masterpiece of color, harmony, and design. Beneath a canopy of towering white oaks, tulip-poplars, and beeches, he carefully orchestrated the planting of white flowering dogwoods and hundreds of white, pink, lavender, salmon, and red azaleas and rhododendrons to burst into a symphony of color in the heart of spring.
Other garden areas show their own unique personalities as the year progresses. From spring into fall, color erupts from the trees, shrubs, and flowers across Winterhazel Walk, the Glade Garden, the Peony Garden, Magnolia Bend, the Quarry Garden, Enchanted Woods children’s garden, Oak Hill, Sycamore Hill, the Sundial Garden, and the Pinetum.
The foliage of dogwoods, maples, and katsura trees begins to turn in mid to late September and intensifies in color in October with the jewel-toned fruits of sapphireberry, beautyberry, and viburnums. Late October to early November sees the height of fall color with vivid yellows from tulip-poplar and hickories, the gold and russet tones from beech and oak, and reds from black gum and dogwood.
Set within the gorgeous acreage of a grand country estate, the Winterthur Garden surrounds a stately mansion that features stunning interiors and an unrivaled collection of American decorative arts. Visit this national treasure today. You will never forget it.