Winterthur Azalea Woods


Azalea at Winterthur

Yippy, I have internet where I am staying, so now you can see where I have been. The bird posts will wait until I lose connectivity again.

Tomorrow I am going to Longwood Gardens with my cousin and we may be staying for the fireworks at night if she can get the tickets. It has been raining all day here and I missed going to Hawk Mountain due to weather when I was just conveniently next door. Hopefully our trip tomorrow stays scheduled. A limo ride in style to the gardens is always fun. Anyway… here is the first in a series of posts from Winterthur, a great place to visit.

The Azalea and Rhododendron were in bloom at Winterthur in Winterthur, DE, when I visited the gardens with Carolyn from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.ย  We went in style in my Jeep… ya right! It has been many years since I was here and it was a beautiful day of sun and clouds to photograph the gardens. Rain only started here a few days later into my trip.


Winterthur in May

Rain was in the forecast for Winterthur, but none ruined this trip. I remember growing Azaleas at my Pennsylvania home, but they grow poorly in Niagara Falls. The Rhododendron on the other hand, grow well here. The azalea and Rhodies were making a show in all parts of Winterthur.


Winterthur Azalea Woods

If you are interested in any plant species at Winterthur, they have them listed by area. The Azalea Woods plants are found here. There are 17 native azalea in North America, but I read on Winterthur’s site that many of their collection are exotics. Check out their online database for all plants and reference map to location.

“In the Winterthur Garden the flora, consisting mainly of naturalized exotics, is arranged to appear as if it grew spontaneously, planted in large drifts and grouped with other plants that harmonize in color and form.” (source)


Winterthur in May

Even if you are not a fan of Azalea or Rhododendron, they make a pretty spectacular show in Spring. The most showing of the azalea are in Azalea Woods, an eight acre area of white, pink, coral, and red azalea. Other plants were blooming that you will see in an upcoming post, like the Viburnum and Cotoneaster as large as small trees. The Buckeyes were beautiful in flower also.


Dawn Redwood at Winterthur

The azalea brighten a darkened forest walkway and go well skirted with bulbs and bluebells.


Azalea Woods at Winterthur

Flame azalea is a native to the Appalachian Mountain areas in the Eastern US. It is more tolerant of drier soils than the exotic varieties. When we were at Winterthur, they were installing irrigation in the Azalea Woods. I was at the Jenkins Arboretum where they have a huge collection of Azalea and Rhododendron, and I noticed the irrigation heads throughout.


Entry path into the gardens at Winterthur.


Just beyond the garden entry at Winterthur.

Sorry some of the images are overly contrasted. The sun kept popping in and out making for a lot of different camera settings. I really wanted the combination of plants below and it was in one of these pockets of bright sun. I thought the colors very pretty and delicate.


Skirting plants are common at Winterthur.

Lavender Dame’s Rocket and Spanish Bluebells underplant many of the trees and shrubs in a soft blue carpet.


Flame Azalea




Cozy seating at Winterthur

In the collection, they have:

Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish Bluebells)
Hyacinthoides non-scripta (English Bluebells)
Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)


Through the native plantings.


Possibly Golden Lights

Golden Lights Azalea is on the property by the Snowball Viburnum and fronting the Metasequoia, Dawn Redwood. I was really surprised at the size of this tree. I am not sure if this is Golden Lights but they have them planted in two locations, according to their map.

Next post is on a real feature of the Winterthur gardens. It was my favorite area for this time of year – The Quarry Gardens. I will follow-up with Winterthur’s Peonies, the Enchanted Garden, and a post showing the formal gardens around the mansion.

Then, we will visit more gardens – the Jenkins Arboretum, Chanticleer, Scott Arboretum, and Longwoods. I am having a wonderful bloom filled vacation.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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68 Responses to Winterthur Azalea Woods

  1. Absolutely gorgeous—what a fun trip we had including our delicious lunch at Buckley’s Tavern, thanks.

  2. Eye-yi-yi, aren’t gardens like this heaven on earth? You always offer so much information Donna, but then again, this IS a garden blog, LOL! Always enjoyable. I’m a jeep girl too!! Margie

    • Wait to see more, it gets so much better. Carolyn is fortunate to live so close. My cousins too! I would recommend this garden for a garden club. I saw many garden club groups when I went to Chanticleer. I have had Jeeps since I was a teen. I started with a CJ5. Now I have an Overland.

  3. I’ve been here, it’s fabulous and I enjoyed seeing it again through your eyes! Those azaleas are glorious. I’m originally from the Philly area and when I go home to see my Mom and her 10 foot tall Rhodies I’m so jealous. They just don’t come close here in Chicago. All the colors in your shots are amazing! Thanks for brightening my day.

    • I was mentioning that to Carolyn, that the two plants have great conditions in South Eastern PA. She mentioned not all of the area has the great soils though, but where I was from, they two species loved it.

  4. I would not plant azalea or rhododendrum here because they do not do well, but I would love to see their display of blooms at Winterthur. That bicolor yellow and white azalea I think is particularly lovely.

  5. janechese says:

    I love the yellow and peach hues combined as they are in the third and sixth shot.

    • It reminds me of candy flavors. I think that is one reason the azaleas are a plant that people either love or hate. Some think them garish. I happen to like all color and don’t mind such a pop of color for the short time of bloom in spring. Both plants are less attractive in leaf, but the Rhodies have the bigger, thicker, shinier leaves which can be very textural when in mass.

  6. Pingback: Winterthur Azalea Woods | Skipping Stars Productions LLC

  7. Reminds me of England.

    • Now I can name quite a few gardens there I would like to visit. This garden does have English influence. I do very much like the natural areas though and they were based on “Wild Gardens” of English design if I am correct.

  8. HolleyGarden says:

    What a wonderful vacation touring gardens! These azaleas and rhododendrons are amazing. Love the orange one! And that seating area looks divine. It would be wonderful to just sit there for a while and soak in the beauty.

  9. Inspiring as always!

  10. I am a big fan of the azalea. The colors and diversity in this garden is amazing and so enjoyable. Thank you for sharing your outing.

  11. catmint says:

    here’s another one for the bucket list – in some photos quite unusual colour combos.

  12. Is this paradise?!!! Speechless to the beauty of this place and I can imagine how happy you must have been walking in there!
    Gorgeous photos, Donna!
    Happy travels my dear!

  13. connie661 says:

    Wow, what spectacular springtime color! This is a great lesson for people who think gardening starts Memorial Day weekend.

  14. Jennifer says:

    You have me wondering why I am not growing azaleas! Gosh they are beautiful. My favourite picture is the one with the three chairs. So pretty! Hope you are enjoying your travels Donna.

  15. mazza18467 says:

    mine azelea’s are dark purple, very much in bloom so can’t plant them here jet a shame because can’t enjoy them either from here. just hope I can replant them soon and hopefully I can enjoy them next year.

  16. graziellagrech says:

    Wow it really does look like an enchanted garden. You almost feel like you’re going to see pixies and fairies running about in the trees and flowers. I bet if you sit on those benches, and listen hard enough you could hear them ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Bill S says:

    Stunning colours, reminds me very much of Exbury Gardens in Hampshire UK.

  18. I love the color pops of these azaleas Donna and that redwood is spectacular…glad you found some WiFi

  19. If I had to pick one person to photograph and describe all the gardens I will never get to see, Donna, it would be you. Your illustrated accounts are the next best thing to being there.

  20. Patty says:

    I am envious of you and Carolyn visiting together and at Winterthur no less. My rhodos and azalea (note the singular) are almost ready to bloom; the azalea early next week and the rhodos in about a week. Winterthur looks absolutely fabulous!! I am off to check their plant database.

  21. Oh how glorious! The Azaleas and Rhododendrons just aren’t as impressive here in the north. Enjoy your trip!

  22. Oh,what a gorgeous place to spend a day! So envious!

  23. WOW ! You went to Winterthur? It’s gloriously beautiful !! I’ve heard it’s a marvelous garden and it’s on my to-visit list. Now I wish I had gone there sooner.

  24. Gorgeous! With azaleas I think one can get away with color combinations that one would normally not put together. Somehow it just works especially with all the green in a woodland garden as the back drop. I have many native azaleas in my garden but struggle growing rhodies. With our cooler spring this year the rhododendrons have bloomed more prolifically than ever before.

  25. kellycat2552 says:

    Have you ever been to old westbury gardens on long island new York. So beautiful. I have been inspired by their Secret Garden, rose gardens, English gardens. Your photos are beautiful. My blog is I have some garden photos but anyone who gardens has to see the wonders of the Almighty every day!

  26. b-a-g says:

    Gorgeous Donna. It does look like a British wood with all the bluebells. Happy holidays!

  27. Pat says:

    Beautiful gardens!

  28. talleypcb says:

    Beautiful! My mother grew up in Wilmington, DE and during summers when we’d visit we’d spend lots of time at Longwood and Winterthur

  29. Christy says:

    Hi Donna…wonderful pictures!! I especially like the picture of the Dawn Redwood….just gorgeous!!

  30. Fergiemoto says:

    Wow, such beautiful gardens!
    Thanks for sharing!

  31. Les says:

    The gardens where I work are also famous for their azaleas. Mostly they are Asian, but there are quite a number of natives, including some of the yellows, peaches and oranges. However, out of character for me, I really enjoyed the whites and subtle pinks from some of the southern species, not to mention the heavenly fragrance.

  32. Sartenada says:

    We had, before we moved to another town, in our small flower garden in the North Azalea mollis Gibraltar. Azaleas are our favorite, but in Finland they are not so general.

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