Archive for Lirodendron tulipifera

Winterthur Part 3: A Walk in the Woods

Posted in Fall, garden to visit with tags , , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Winterthur Fall 2013-028 Paved paths meander through Winterthur’s majestic woods.

Winterthur in Delaware is the outstanding Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, US) area garden that I am profiling this year. For links to gardens profiled in previous years and background on Winterthur itself, read my first post on Winterthur in late winter by clicking here.  Posts about my visit in late May profiled the Peony Garden, click here, and the Quarry Garden, click here.  

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Winterthur Fall 2013-005The Winterthur house, which is now a museum of  American decorative art, is framed on all sides by huge trees.

The gardens at Winterthur are bursting with flowers starting with snowdrops and other early bloomers in February and continuing through spring and summer.  By the time Michael and I visited at the very end of October, the focus had shifted to the magnificent woods.  We thoroughly enjoyed our peaceful walk during which we had the garden pretty much to ourselves.  My only regret is that we were about a week too early for fall color.  The trees turned so late this year that I was convinced that fall color was never coming.  Despite my pessimism it did arrive as you will see in an upcoming post.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-003.

Enjoy your virtual stroll through the Winterthur gardens, but don’t skip the end where I highlight two unusual sights.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-010

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Winterthur Fall 2013-013Whenever you head out of the woods, you find gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside, much of it part of the Winterthur property.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-014The Quarry Garden in fall.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-015Approaching the house from the other side.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-025.

Metasequoia glyptostroboidesMichael standing next to a very large dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides.

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As we walked through the gardens, we happened upon the dawn redwood pictured above.  It is a very large specimen planted in 1951, but dawn redwoods are quite common in public gardens in our area—there is even one at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  What drew me to it was the sprays of male cones, which covered the whole tree and were quite beautiful.  I have never seen a dawn redwood “in bloom”.  Dawn redwoods are deciduous conifers with male and female cones on the same plant (monoecious).  Technically they don’t have flowers although many sources mistakenly refer to the cones as flowers.

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides.

liriodendron tulipiferaMichael standing next to one of the many very large tulip poplars, Lirodendron tulipifera, at Winterthur.

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Tulip poplars are one of the most common native trees in our area and like all the trees around here they grow to be quite large in our fertile, deep soil.  Winterthur has dozens if not hundreds of large tulip trees.  However, when we visit we always make an effort to hike out to the “William Penn Poplar”, which is not in the official garden but instead on a trail that leads off the parking lot into Chandler Woods.  According to the Winterthur arborist, it is likely that this tree was in existence when William Penn first visited his lands here in 1682.  No matter how large I remember this tree being, it always amazes me how big it actually is.  Just compare the final photo with the picture above.  The actual measurements are 152′ tall and 209″ in circumference.

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Liriodendron tulipifera.

Liriodendron tulipifera.

If Chanticleer is the most creative garden in our area, and Longwood is the most diverse and entertaining, in my opinion, Winterthur is the most purely beautiful garden and well worth a visit any time of year.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the winter.  Look for the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue in early January.

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