Winterthur is the legacy of Henry Francis du Pont, 1880-1969, American.
None of these plants is native to the mid-Atlantic where vernal flowers and tree blossom do not emerge before April.
Spring is said to have arrived in metropolitan Philadelphia earlier this year than it has in the last 40 years.
The grip of the winter pale-gray browns is loosening early
Daffodils will flower in April in the meadows
with a gradual stippling of bushes and trees with pale colors loosened, as it were, from the warming earth.
On the wooded terrace, the yellow is a Cornelian Cherry (Japanese dogwood: Cornus officinalis which, with Cornus mas, were in bud this year in late February.
The Japanese and Chinese witchhazels are the first bushes to bloom. In shades of yellow and orange-rust.
Perhaps they are classified as small trees.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is in flower in late February.
This year the intermittent Spring warmth has meant that Pieris japonica is struggling to maintain its flowers in plump health.
Winter-blooming Camellia japonica, always in danger of frost-bite, is in bud and flower in a protected corner of the museum’s walls.
Fragrant honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima, Sweet Breath of Spring) is coming into bloom in early March this year.
The first flowers of fragrant viburnum (cultivars of Viburnum farreri)
and Korean rhododendron have been planted together on the edge of the gardens facing the meadow. They flower together.
Korean Forsythia (F. ovata) keeps pace with early rhododendron also.
We are awaiting the first magnolia blossom.
Star magnolia, seen through the boughs of a Sargent crabapple tree, is on the verge of flowering in early March this year.
When the star magnolia is in full blossom,
the gray-browns will begin to cede seriously to the colours just under the surface of bushes and trees in this garden:
other varieties of magnolia, flowering cherry, flowering quince, spirea, Chinese snowball viburnum, winterhazel. In mid-April, lilac in three colours and even more shades.
The gray-brown has already receded in this rose bush whose topmost stems are filling with a red, like blood. I recall its summer flowers as white.
Scotch rose (Rosa pimpinellifola) in the first week of March 2023
and here there is the pale yellow hint of winterhazel in bud behind a Korean rhododendron bush in very early March 2023
and a crabapple cultivar whose flowers will bloom in the red with which it is already speckled.
Many colours will infiltrate the gardens of Winterthur before winter comes again: too many to remember.
But there is nothing so welcome as the first flush of Spring colour.
Tentative as these colours appear to be and unchanging year after year as they are,
we long for them during our baffling winters.