Winterthur, Delaware on May 10, 2017
To this museum, its park and gardens I owe, this year, 21 years of sustaining pleasure and comfort.
The blooms of Winterthur’s famous acres of Kurumi azaleas are already done for the year although they are usually in prime time in mid-May
and even with the pointed encouragement of the branches of evergreens stretching towards them, they are done.
Through the leaves of the Japanese maple, however, a glimpse of azaleas still in bloom
and before that, a surprise of flame azaleas.
Down the steps
past the outreach of a doublefile viburnum branch
and carefully past candelabra primroses, with their perfect crowns
towards the sundial garden with the hupeh cotoneaster bush in flower and pointing the way to the sundial, the crabapple trees…………
Pointing also to the shade of the American Fringe tree marking its distinction by its colours from white through cream to yellow green held by slender stalks of brown-green and grey
and several deutzia bushes, one framing a crabapple tree
and azalea bushes still in bloom on either side of a stand of Sargent crabapple trees reaching dramatically towards the sun.
I take a circular path to reach inviting, dense stands of white azalea massed around a magnificent blue Atlas cedar
to glimpse on the other side of the huge boughs of the cedar parallel to the ground an entire conclave of azaleas of the loveliest colours.
These are not Kurumi azaleas but hybrids…….
I am pointed onwards and summoned by the fragrance of lilac still in bloom climbing above white azalea.
Leaving the Sundial Garden to follow a trail of lavender azaleas, reaching the children’s magic wooden mushrooms with bowls of pansies set about.
And then pulled to another open area behind the back of the museum with a somber ring of white and lavender azaleas on a hill
and, in the foreground, red buckeye trees heavy with their outsize flowers.
And down to the old swimming pool, now the ‘Reflecting Pool’, to which there are three entrances from the park. Two are through doorways crowned with cocks crowing…….
and walking around the pool to note, against a back wall of the pool, the Chinese snowball viburnum reaching above the azalea to watch the sea horse try to reach the azalea glittering in the depths of the water.
The azalea rest along that wall.
I myself come to rest on a bench suspended between white azalea.
After a while, I turn down a path.
The trees there are hung with Chinese snowball viburnum
I make my way into the visitor center of the museum
with its seasonal flowers. Never too many.
And step out again into the park past beds of peonies, some leaning forward to remind me, in a pink whisper, to come back.