Published Aprill 16th, 2011
Regular readers of this column already know about our planned Philadelphia Garden Tour, and most people have heard of the tour centerpiece, Longwood Gardens. Fewer gardeners have heard of the nearby Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware. Like Longwood, this fantastic estate was built by the DuPont family a century ago, but Winterthur couldn’t be more different from Longwood in its garden style.
We first visited Winterthur to see its world-renowned collection of period furniture. The DuPont mansion is 275 rooms, each one uniquely decorated and filled with an amazing array of furnishings from around the world. More recently, the Campbell family’s collection of historic soup tureens was moved to Winterthur from the Campbell’s Soup headquarters in Camden, New Jersey.
But it was the spectacular gardens at Winterthur that impressed us the most. Longwood Gardens is very formal and symmetrical, but Winterthur was landscaped to highlight the rolling countryside and the effect is subtle but dramatic. Plants are arranged to appear as if they grew spontaneously, planted in large drifts and grouped with other plants that harmonize in color and form. Paths are curving rather than straight, following the contours of the land, passing around trees, drawing walkers into the 60-acre garden surrounded by 1000 acres of farmland.
The most memorable part of Winterthur is the Enchanted Woods, sheltered by a grove of huge oaks. Designed to entertain children, this 3-acre garden features a cutaway “Faerie Cottage” made of stone, with a thatched roof and miniature furniture, and a huge bird’s nest made of sticks and vines. An old gate plays a tune as you open it, and huge toadstools emit clouds of vapor for an eerie effect.
You are invited to tour this and other Philadelphia area attractions with us this June, on our first Philadelphia Food and Garden Tour. We’re visiting Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, Brandywine Museum, Independence Mall, Reading Terminal Market, Philly’s Italian Market and even a Jersey diner! We’ll depart GoodSeed Farm on June 6th four five days and four nights of terrific food, Philadelphia landmarks, great gardens and museums. Get the details on our website at this link
or you can call or e-mail for details.