Winterthur is the legacy of Henry Francis du Pont, 1880-1969, American.
Praise as in its Latin root:
price, prize, precious, appreciate, interpret.
In 1951, the founder of Winterthur ceded control of the museum he made in 175 rooms – a vast collection of the decorative arts of the European elites in the United States in its first 200 years – and moved out to a much smaller house.
He never gave up his gardens, however. He loved flowers and colors. He continued to be his own master gardner until he died.
He left a number of discrete gardens on the grounds of Winterthur which flower sequentially from March to late October. They are enclosed by meadows and woods.
The earliest such enclave to flower was made on a slight hill after his death as a homage.
In his favorite yellow: ‘Winterhazel Walk.’
The winter haze lifts slowly in late February
and in late March and April, the colours are at their most fulsome.
Winterhazel Walk is an oasis of pale and golden yellows set off by pinks, lavenders, the deep green of evergreens and the pale grays of winterhazel and deciduous tree trunks, and boughs.
The walk is made up of bushes of three types: the smallest are Korean azaleas and rhododendrons placed in a rough ring on the outer edge of the Walk;
Bigger are the Cherry prinsepia (Prinsepia sinensis), a dense bush whose leaves appear before the flowers.
Golden flowers whose shape gives it away as a member of the rose family
The Large-flower and Buttercup winterhazel (Corylopsis species) bush is bigger.
Winterhazel flowers before it leafs: clusters of lemon flowers hanging from racemes like earrings with eye-catching seeds in greys and browns on long stamens.
Winterhazel prefers shade; the Winterhazel Walk is protected by evergreens on one side
and mature deciduous trees on the other.
An American Yellowood on the edge of Winterhazel Walk
A narrow macadam road flanks the walk and a little below and beyond the blues are in flower through April.
A sea of blues: purple-blue Glories of the Snow in March and, in April, Virginia bluebells and the blue and whites and purples of Italian windflowers.
Underfoot is a small forest of Lenten roses which are also in flower in March and whose sepal ‘petals’ continue their show until summer.
This year there were purple primroses among the Lenten roses.
Every year, fumewort (Corydalis species; also called bird-in-a-bush) white, dusky purple, mottled blue and a soft crimson.
You can walk the greenway through the Walk in less than 5 minutes.
But the colours hold you; and the glittering.
The glittering arrives when the sun alights on the yellows and the flowers glint or when the breeze shivers the winterhazel blossom.
Nothing to do here but to be and take in the beauty changing with the changing light.
And give thanks even if this (especially as this?) was not created for us.