Garden Diary - May 2012

Garden Writers Region II Meeting


Friday, 25 May 2012
Goodstay Gardens


We're off again. Garden Writers Association Region II, that is, about 35 of us gathered together and having a meeting in the Wilmington, Delaware area. That's a couple of hours away from BelleWood Gardens. Factor in the optional 7:00 a.m. photo shoot . . . . I drove down on Thursday and stayed at a motel with a couple of friends. Everything was carefully planned to cluster together, short drive from point A to point B. Long day, lots of walking (12,819 steps according to my pedometer), lots of garden viewing, picture taking, networking, and interesting, useful information provided at different venues.

The alarm went off at an appropriately early time. With everything so conveniently to hand Phyllis suggested Gloria and I ride with her rather than each of us in our own cars. Good idea. Grabbed my GPS which Paul had pre-loaded with all the addesses. Plus a travel package of written directions and maps, carefully stapled into units for each stop.

Our first stop on this somewhat foggy morning - so nice for photography - is at Goodstay Garden, 2600 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, Delaware 19806. It was named by Margaretta du Pont, who purchased the property in 1868 and changed the name from Green Hill to Goodstay (from the French, Bon Sejour.) She was a grandmother of the famous cousins, T. Coleman, Pierre S. and Alfred I. DuPont. And it was Alfred who built Nemours, where we'll be going later this morning. But right now we're at Goodstay.

Ellen Coleman du Pont Meeds bought the property from her father, T. Coleman du Pont, for $10 in 1923 and hired landscape architect, Robert Wheelwright to restore and enhance the gardens. They later married and spent 13 years transforming the American Tudor-style kitchen garden - a rectangular space made up of six squares known as "knots"- into garden rooms planted with irises, roses, peonies, daffodils, daylilies and azaleas.

The iris are in bloom. Some look recently divided. Clearly, people care about Goodstay
and are caring for it. Remember that the property is owned by the University of Delaware.
The garden is open to the public at no charge, every day, year-round, during daylight hours.

There is a peony garden. The recent rain has blown down
many of the flowers. This one still looks very fine.

A charming combination of coral bells and geraniums,
the two intertwining with each other in a tapestry effect.

Glimpsed from the next "room" a large boulder and a statue. This is
Turkey Rock Garden, so called because turkeys used to roost
on the rock. The statue is by the sculptor William Zorach.

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. . . .

Local garden clubs have taken on the updating and maintainence of the gardens. In the rose garden, for example, some of the older rose bushes
were in poor condition. They were replaced with newer cultivars such as this hybrid tea rose 'Tiffany'

. . . .

In the herb garden the garden clubs also did some restoration / renovation. There is a sundial, with thyme at its base.
I also noticed oregano, mint, and a lovely, fragrant, damask rose, Rosa damascena

Beyond the herb garden there are Siberian iris in bloom, reminding me of the Monet painting
currently on display at the New York Botanical Garden. The same image of iris thrusting forward.

A stone wall separates these garden rooms from the informal woodland garden beyond.

Following our timeline I exit Goodstay and head across the street and around the corner to Gibraltar.

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