A Quarry Garden: a Last Gift

Henry Francis du Pont, 1880-1969, who left his 175-room collection of American decorative arts (1660-1850) to the management of the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate in 1951, and moved out of the house himself, never gave up responsibility for the park and gardens. 

 

Six years before his death, he created his last garden in an old quarry on the estate.

Flowers, he said, were his passion. 

The Quarry Garden 

 

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and a bridge over the confluence of the three springs which feed the quarry

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And down into the old quarry. 

The Quarry Garden was as meticulously planned as any other part of the estate.  And is as meticulously maintained.

The  design principle used is an English one: a garden whose goal is a naturalism without any obvious formality.  Harmonious distribution of colour.  Balance:  no quarter of the garden and no individual plant or type of plant to boast on its own behalf;  but to contribute to a whole of delight and surprise and a lingering pleasure in the mind.

Every part of the quarry, in significant shade and cool because of large sheltering poplar and birch trees above, and humid for its three springs, has been planted, including the interstices of its walls of massive stone. 

Irises, candelabra primroses, Japanese primula (an aggressive species), azalea, mountain laurel, leatherleaf mahonia, lily of the valley bush, and phlox, several kinds of ferns, and hostas; and wild ginger are some of the plants here.

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Leaving the quarry, you climb up and behind the quarry into the sheltering trees,

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Flame shades of azalea pass you. They flower in late May.

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In the Visitors’ Center, a vase of leaves of magnolia grandiflora set with tulips, peonies and roses

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And so away.

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