Winterthur – Let’s Go Formal


Reflecting Pool

I am not going to talk about the formal gardens surrounding the home except to say they are quite amazing. The architects had steep terrain to contend with and they did it beautifully. You can see how the reflecting pool has stairs all around and the fourth image down from here shows the circulation from the house to the pool area. Azalea and Rhododendron step down the slope, then back up the other side. Hydrangea cover the slope later in the year. See their site for information on visiting. I would highly recommend Winterthur Gardens for any gardening enthusiast. They have many activities and tours, check them out…

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A beautiful courtyard.

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The Koi pond.

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There is so much to do in the Brandywine Valley area, so make a week of it sometime. We have Longwood Gardens (another DuPont estate and gardens) coming up much later on GWGT, among other fine gardens, so meet me back here for the virtual tours of gardens of the greater Philadelphia area.

A quick wrap up of the posts on Winterthur, but I may have more images sometime later. It is an inspiring place.

Tomorrow, I have my garden transitioning to the iris and peony show. It is a bit messy until the scheme sets in, but the iris and peonies make quite a show in full bloom in a week.


Exiting the gardens after a lovely tour of Winterthur… Carolyn.

See all my posts on Winterthur:

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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41 Responses to Winterthur – Let’s Go Formal

  1. Gorgeous place! Thanks!

  2. A.M.B. says:

    It’s so beautiful! I know that Winterthur is pretty close to me, but I’ve never been there. i’ll have to go. I’m looking forward to your irises and peonies. Have a nice weekend!

  3. I’m famous! I sent links to my friends at Winterthur.

  4. I would love to have formal gardens– if I had a staff to maintain them.

  5. Christy says:

    Such a beautiful place! I like that it has so many different kinds of gardens…that really makes it a special place to visit. Thanks for taking us along!

  6. azraiel says:

    Each post has been more beautiful than the one before, such a wonderful place!

  7. Donna, I have a question about irises. I have a large established clump of bearded yellow ones that was magnificent last year, but only sent up one stalk this year. I tell my husband that it’s time to split it. He says I’m wrong. What do you think? He says that another clump (bearded, dark purple) are doing beautifully this year as last so why didn’t the yellow ones? Anyway, I enjoyed your post as always.

    • Must be time to split them up if no other problem is occurring. Check the rhizomes. It could be iris borer. They will be hollowed out with a papery feel. Check moisture levels too, sometimes if they sit in water they are not going to produce and will die. If the leaves are healthy, they need dividing.

  8. Loving the formal garden tour – love the pop of pink amongst all the green:) Happy Weekend!

  9. 🙄 I believe this little symbol expresses fully my feelings for this post, Donna!!

  10. I’ve got to get out there. The azaleas are magnificent, especially the lilac one. And I love the courtyard. While I am a cottage garden type, there is a little formal gardener inside my head, whispering in my ear.

  11. What a wonderful place. So enjoying the tours! Margie

  12. This is one of the gardens I have always wanted to visit. It is beautiful. Thank you for letting us have a peek.

  13. bittster says:

    I always get sidetracked to Chanticleer and Longwood when I’m down around Philly. Maybe it’s time I took a turn at Winterthur. You make it look so inviting!

    • Definitely. I would suggest Scott’s and the Morris Arboretum too. I liked the Jenkins Arboretum, very much, but it is mostly natural plantings. The Azalea and Rhododendrons had imports though. I talked with a caretaker and Jenkins is not strictly native plants, it just looks that way.

  14. nicole says:

    SO amazing Donna! I must admit that I have many free flowing areas in my garden but have kept one little area as my “formal” spot! There is just something to be said about symmetry and formality in a garden space! I am drawn to it! Thank you for the beautiful inspiration!!!

    • Formal design is often misunderstood. Like you mentioned, you have a certain feel inside a formal garden room. Often, it can be like having an outdoor room as an extension of the inside space. Informal can as well, but should maintain a bit more order in my opinion when supporting an inside space. You would not want a living room looking like an informal bed in winter – nothing but gray/brown soil to look at. I am glad you have your formal spot. My garden is a bit of both too. I structure the informal plantings with the formally designed boxwood.

  15. catmint says:

    don’t usually love formal gardens but this one is lovely – maybe it’s how you photographed it, using a touch of Donna magic!

    • Formal is certainly not for everyone, but it really does lend a serene, calming feel. Some call it sterile, but I like to look at it as setting off grand architecture, letting the architecture be the statement that speaks, not the billowing and often unruly plants of informal design. Best when style of landscape and architecture work in concert, supporting each other in style, but many times one designer does not do both and they can look incongruent as a whole. Formal also looks great in winter because it adds a lot of structure/verdant color to the landscape and the conifers look great wearing a coat of soft, fluffy white.

  16. Many years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Winterthur with a friend who lived in PA at the time. These photo’s brought back some wonderful memories. It is truly a beautiful place.

  17. I was just thinking how inspirational this garden is..I really loved the pond and courtyard

  18. cindy knoke says:

    Exquisite and fab fotos too!! Kudos~

  19. Saxon says:

    Hi Donna – You asked me to comment / critique your photo (the second one in this post) of the pool. Pools are really hard to photograph – so much empty space. In this photo I am not sure where I am supposed to look. If the story is about the setting of the pool, then you don’t need to show so much pool. If the shot is about the pool, let it dominate the composition – as you do in the succeeding (fourth) photo. That is strong and graphic composition.

    • When I compare it to the one you took in your post, I can readily see what you mean. The shot is as you described, without story. Your photo says much about the pools’ siting. I know the other lens would have made a difference too from that angle, the topography would have been a greater part of the image. The fourth image is one I think was important to the design, as the designers wanted the viewer to see the reflecting pool. It is a natural of this garden. Thank you for your advice. I know I will remember that on any pool I photograph in the future. Something so dominant needs more compositional care.

  20. Money well spent. I always appreciate it when someone creates a gorgeous garden that eventually opens to the public (most great gardens eventually do).

  21. I love these images where you have captured the architectural design of the garden in a natural way.

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