By Kathy Jentz
About 45 Region II GWA members and guests met on the last Friday of April for touring a trilogy of DuPont gardens in Delaware. We were pleased to be joined by several new GWA members.
The day started with an early morning photo shoot at the
Nemours Mansion and Gardens just outside of Wilmington. The estate developed by Alfred du Pont includes a 77-room mansion, a large formal French garden, a Chauffeur’s Garage housing a collection of vintage automobiles, and nearly 200 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows, and lawns. Fortified by coffee and donuts, we scattered across the estate to take photos and catch-up with old friends. It was a good time to take a leisurely walk down the Colonnade or in the formal parterre gardens and get to know them.
Next, we headed down the road to Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, DE, a non-profit botanical garden founded by Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland. This native woodland garden was absolute perfection. Every trillium, shooting star, slipper orchid, and dwarf larkspur was at peak and begging for its close-up. I am sure that our GWA President Kirk Brown and Regional Director Kate Copsey had made all the proper sacrifices to the weather gods as the day could not have been better.
We enjoyed lunch at the Mt. Cuba main house. Afterward Research Horticulturist George Coombs talked to us about the plant introductions from their garden and their latest trialing of native cultivars. We were all given Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ to take home and try in our own gardens.
For the third stop in our Triple Play we spent the afternoon at the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, H. F. du Pont’s masterpiece garden of color, harmony, and naturalistic design. The azalea collection was breathtaking and overwhelming. Other highlights in the collection were the Quarry Garden, and my personal favorite, the Enchanted Woods, children’s garden.
After enjoying the gardens at Winterthur, the group gathered for the Trunk Show in the Winterthur parking lot. Each of us received four new shrub introductions from Spring Meadows/Proven Winners. Then the raffle drawings began. Signed-by-the-author garden books, gift baskets from GreenView Fertilizer, and rare trees were among the donated prizes. Miraculously, there were enough prizes for everyone present!
The day ended with a GWA Connect dinner at the BBC Tavern and Grille just up the road from Winterthur. About 10 of us gathered to eat, chat, and wait out the brutal Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. The British pub food was the perfect cap-off to a truly filling day.
Meet the Author
Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener Magazine and a long-time DC-area gardening enthusiast. To book her for a garden talk, find her at:
She also edits the IWGS Water Garden Journal and is a columnist and guest blogger for several other publications. Her latest foray is as the social media voice for horticultural brands. She can be reached at KathyJentz@gmail.com.