Regular readers of this column have heard about the historic Dupont State Longwood Garden in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania. We mentioned we would be visiting Longwood earlier this year, especially to see the amazing landscape work of artist Bruce Menro. From June 30, Longwood acres will be flooded with millions of colors for outdoor gardens. We saw this unforgettable light show for the first time several years ago, and we were so shocked that we did not miss this year’s episode.
Some gardeners have heard of the Winter Museum and Garden in Wilmington, Delaware. Like Longwood, this magnificent property was built a hundred years ago by the Dupont family, but Winter is no different in its gardening style than Longwood.
What impresses us most is the wonderful gardens in Winter. Unlike the conventional Longwood Park and Concertorium, Winter has been uniquely designed to highlight the rolling countryside, and the results are stunning. Plants are designed to grow spontaneously, planted in large floats, and are grouped together with other plants of different colors and shapes. Roads are winding rather than straight, following the shape of the ground, roaming around trees, attracting travelers to the 60-hectare garden, which is surrounded by 1,000 hectares of farmland.
My favorite part of Winter is the Inchwood Woods, a large oak grove. These historic trees have been professionally pruned for the rest of their lives to preserve their flawless or dead legs. Underneath the trees are carpets of long-lived bacon, ferns, and hostesses. Designed for entertaining children, the 3-hectare park has a stone-built Faerie Cottage with stone, grass cover and small furniture, and a large birdhouse made of wood and wine. When you open the old door, you will hear a melody, and large chairs of the Toddos will release a cloud of vapor.
We first went to see Winter’s world-famous period collection. Dupont’s home has 175 rooms, each with unique decorations and furnishings from around the world. Dupont was a collector of ancient American furniture and silverware, including pieces of the Paul Reverend. Recently, the Campbell Soup Company’s historic soup tours were moved from Campbell’s headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, to Winter. This memorable collection includes a wide variety of touring and soup-related items made in Europe, Asia, and the Americas from 1720 to the present.
Longwood Gardens and Winterthur are within walking distance of the Wise Museum in Chad. Here, the transformed stone Gristmill on the banks of the Brandiwain River depicts the work of Andrew White, a true American artist and genius. The Brandywine Conservancy includes the studios of Andrew White and his father’s NC White Studios, which feature several children’s classics. Works by other contemporary artists, including Andrew’s sister Anne White McCoy and his son Jamie White, are part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Lovers of unique flora, fauna, artefacts and beautiful landscapes can easily spend many days visiting this area. It is rich in American history, dating back to the early days of colonialism and revolution. While in the neighborhood, we visit Winter, Longwood Paradise and the Brandie Museum. Winter alone is good for travel.
Steve Bohme is a landscape designer / installer who specializes in landscape “adjustments”. “Let Us Grow” is published weekly. Column archives are available on the “Vegetable Advice” page at www.goodseedfarm.com. For more information visit www.goodseedfarm.com or call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.