Design Inspiration: The Winterthur Approach to Decorative Gardens

May 15, 2012 Evergreen Enterprises 0 Comments

Some of you may be familiar with Winterthur, a 19th-century mansion-turned-museum in the rolling hills of Delaware. Built in the the early 20th century in a 19th-century style, It is perhaps best known for being the former home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969), a horticulturalist and collector of antiques. The amazing 175-room mansion, set on 1,000 acres of natural beauty, contains countless representative objects of 200 years of American history and culture. In more recent years, it has become a "source of inspiration and education" per Mr. du Pont's wishes.

Open to the public as a museum, Winterthur offers guided tours as well as opportunities for graduate study and research in the areas of architecture, cultural arts, and conservation. Through a partnership with Evergreen, we are excited to be able to promote this cultural icon by offering some of our more upscale home and garden decor products for sale in the Winterthur museum store and online store. (As the Winterthur estate is a non-profit organization, all proceeds go towards education.)


"What would the Peony Garden be without the Latimeria Summer House of beehives? H. F. du Pont collected many objects for his garden and had structures made for it as well. Such artifacts put a special stamp on a garden, give it distinction, make it memorable. They also become an important part of the design. You might consider adding an object or artifact to your own garden, in keeping with its mood and that of your home. Sundials, birdbaths, and statuary are easy to come by, as are weathervanes, lanterns, and trellises. Unusual containers (such as a wheelbarrow planted with annuals) can look right at home. Fences and gates offer more possibilities. A bench or chairs are inviting, and furniture for children can add a charming note."
As impressive as the house is, the surrounding 60 acres of gardens are just as wonderful. As a boy, Mr. du Pont developed a profound appreciation of nature that led him to select and cultivate a diverse array of plants and flowers at Winterthur as "wild" garden. While appearing to be growing spontaneously, they are placed intentionally to create harmony in both color and shape.

For those who enjoy and appreciate the style of the Winterthur estate and its gardens, there are a numerous resources to help you grow and decorate your garden "the Winterthur Way." For example, consider the excerpt at right, taken from The Winterthur Guide to Color in Your Garden by Ruth Joyce (available from Amazon).

When it comes to garden structures and seating—be it birdbaths, statuaries, trellises, brenches, or even wheelbarrow planters—Evergreen offers plenty of solutions through its Evergreen Garden, New Creative, and Cape Craftsmen product lines. If you're a retailer, we invite you to shop our newly renovated Online Resource Center today at

To learn more about Winterthur, visit

To shop the Winterthur store, visit