Winterthur, Delaware: legacy of Henry Francis du Pont, American, 1880-1969
Four groupings of azaleas grow in Winterthur: hardy Kurume azaleas, hardy azaleas; Torch (kaempferi) azaleas; and native deciduous azaleas.
Rhododendrons are also planted in many areas of the gardens. Winterthur notes that azaleas and rhododendrons are in the same genus (rhododendron): azaleas having 5 stamens and rhododendrons 10.
Azalea framing a lilac rhododendron at Winterthur
The major concentration of Kurume azaleas are in an 8-acre area: Azalea Woods. They grow there in dense thickets among rhododendrons, small and tall trees, shrubs, ground covers and perennials.
White flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) at Winterthur. They flower at the same time as Kurume azalea
Pink flowering dogwood; actually flowering in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Church, Philly
Pink flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) at Winterthur, 2018. They flower at the same time as the Kurume azalea.
Henry Francis du Pont created Azalea Woods from the early-1920s onwards with a planting of Kurume azaleas to replace diseased chestnut trees. In some years, Kurume azalea plants are added.
Kurume azaleas self-hybridize to produce wonderful effects on the eye from slight variations in colour distribution and stippling.
Dazzling in dappling sunlight.
Hardy azaleas grow elsewhere on Winterthur’s grounds. The earliest, varieties, Asian, bloom in April. The last are still in bloom in early November.
Korean Azalea (Rhododendron Yedoense) blooming in late April at Winterthur. Korean rhododendron bloom even earlier.
The weeks in which Azalea Woods are in full bloom may vary but are usually the second and third week of May.
In 2021, Spring was two weeks early and the Kurume azaleas were all but done by the middle of May.
Images of deciduous native azalea may have crept into this post as this wonderful land creeps often into my waking dreams.
To sustain me for all the years of our companionship.
This bit of earth calls out in May and June. You walk out
into dense flora
Miss Suzy (azalea) with pink Chinese ball viburnum
and then away under hovering flowering dogwood
to the many wreaths that crown these gardens in May and June.
Flowering dogwood above a floor of white azalea at Winterthur
an azalea bush growing on Sycamore Hill far away from all its confreres
the day after heavy rain
Spanish bluebell growing with Kurume azalea
The fragrance of lilac flowering above white azalea leads you to the pale lilac azaleas which keep company with Hippocampus.
Underneath a crowing rooster calling attention to white azalea and a crouching lilac rhododendron
to the kingdom of Hippocampus.
Hippocampus rules over the The Reflecting Pool, originally the family’s swimming pool commissioned by H.F. du Pont in 1927, is surrounded in May/June with hardy lilac and white azaleas.
In the Enchanted Garden, an area scaled and designed for children especially
Royal Azalea seen from a flower wreath of a Sargent Crabapple stand to which they form an honour guard
In my memory, an azalea of an autumnal red is the last to flower and that in late Autumn