Winterthur, Delaware, 2008- 2018


To the secret pleasure of the gardeners at Winterthur, a plantation of German irises was dug up by Henry Francis du Pont almost a hundred years ago.   These irises needed labour-intensive, delicate and frequent dead-heading to remove spent blooms without damaging new flowers on the same stalk.


In their place he planted herbaceous and tree peonies. These benefited from the hybridizing work of the American peony pioneers, A.P. Saunders (1869-1953) and J. Franklin Styer (1900-1996).




There are four stepped platforms with the peonies overhung with lilac and beauty bushes.

At the edge of one of the beds, a few irises have been planted as if in memory of their lost colleagues.


No other plants have been allowed to take away from the beauty of these peonies.  

The very greatest pleasure.





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A peony named for the evening star, Hesperus, faded before Winterthur’s peonies flowered this year amidst incessant rain  The little crown of a seed pod remained.

The bushes are dead-headed when the flowers fade. The seed pods cannot be easily used to generate a new plant.  These are mulched.




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The flowers fall down sometimes because their beauty is too great a burden for them.




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Fresh flowers at the front door of Winterthur’s museum.  This is in the park and comprises 175 rooms of the decorative arts of the Eastern US from 1640-1850.



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The flowers fall down sometimes because their beauty is too great a burden for them.

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The flowers fall down sometimes because their beauty is too great a burden for them. 





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