Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the horticulture legacy and childhood home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969). Set in the hills of the Brandywine Valley, du Pont created a wonderful 60-acre naturalistic garden within Winterthur’s 1,000 acres of woodlands, meadows, and streams.
The plantings at Winterthur bloom from late January to November, delighting visitors with a true living landscape. Generations of du Ponts from Evelina du Pont Bidermann, the first owner of Winterthur, to Henry Francis du Pont, the last private owner, have lived here.
A garden “should fit in so well with the natural landscape that one should hardly be conscious that it has been accomplished,” H. F. du Pont said. The concept of the four layers of natural woodland (ground cover, shrubs, small trees and tall tree layers) are incorporated to create a beautiful garden that’s regarded as one of the last “Wild Gardens.” As the website explains:
“The garden encompasses the entire estate; the views in every direction are important to the whole; the woodlands, hay fields, and meadows are as crucial as the more formally planted areas. The paths are an integral part of to the overall design, curving rather than straight, following the contours of the land, passing around tree, drawing walkers into the garden. At Winterthur ‘color is the thing that really counts more than any other,’ said du Pont. A master of color, the garden is known for its harmony and “near-discords,” as landscape architect Marian Coffin, who worked with du Pont on the garden’s hardscaping, wrote with admiration.”
Be sure and take the narrated garden tram shuttle at the Visitor’s Center to acquaint yourself with all Winterthur has to offer (and of course, allow time to visit the house!) Stops include Azalea Woods, Magnolia Bend, and Enchanted Woods.
Enchanted Woods. There’s a saying that “Faerie folks are in old oakes.” In this enchanting three-acre children’s garden, woodland fairies live on Oak Hill where there’s a Troll Bridge, Fairy Flower Labyrinth, Faerie Cottage, Frog Hollow, Tulip Tree House, Bird’s Nest and much for children to explore.
Open Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Located at 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, DE 19735
For in-car GPS and online mapping services, use: 5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807