Oh, how do I love the way gardens around the country celebrate the Holidays! And at the top of my list is Museum and Gardens at Winterthur! Most other gardens around the country are celebrating the holidays with lights and Chritmas trees, but here at Winterthur it’s all about Gardens!!! Some of the most famous garden trees in America are displayed this holiday in Yuletide at Winterthur.
Most of you have probably already heard this famed du Pont Home and Gardens, but for those who haven’t what a joy it is to see the creative holiday expressions here. The ones to see are the amazing dried garden Yuletide trees which I am excitedly featuring today!
I headed up here to Winterthur twice during the past few months. The last visit was just a few weeks ago. I drove the 3 hours to go on the the greatly anticipated Holiday house tour famously known as Yuletide at Winterthur. It was a first hand look at Henry Francis du Pont’s home as it was decorated for the holidays. The rooms were fantastic with the presents strewn about as though from that very morning, the meal setting fully adorned and awaiting the guests and the magnificent Christmas trees including those that featured the very dried flowers from the estate’s gardens. The “House Tour” is wonder in and of itself, and I have to say they do it right for Christmas! I’ll be featuring the house tour later in the week.
This weeks feature on the Winterthur’s estate, musem and gardens is starting off with the trees from Yuletide at Winterthur, currently on view now through January 3rd, 2010. For a lover of gardens, these are “the bee’s knees!” So, what is a reason as to why the trees here would be more special than anywhere else? Well for me, it’s all in the ideas and the effort! According to Winterthur, the “Flower ornament preparations for the Dried Flower Tree take the entire year.”
This dried Flower tree has been a 20 year tradition. The tree is woven with thousands of flowers from roses to sunflowers.
During each year the staff and volunteers traverse the various gardens on the property, while they are in full bloom to find and take clippings of some of the best blooms. They spend the next months carefully drying them, wrapping them in tissue paper and then boxing them for the upcoming yuletide trees! Of these garden trees, each is from a different garden on the property and is a reminder to staff and visitors alike of the wonderful Spring to follow as well as a way to let the gardens live in the middle of Winter.
Winterthur explains, “The flower drying process is an on-going project. Some flowers, such as dahlias, marigolds, peonies, and zinnias, are dried using silica gel. Others, such as baby’s breath, goldenrod, and hydrangea, are dried hanging in small bunches. In early October, the team met to sort the flowers. In mid-October, the flowers are bunched, bound with floral tape, and fastened with floral wire for hanging on the tree over a two-day period.”
One of my very favorite Yuletide trees is the Peony Garden tree. The Peony garden is one of the must see blooms during the Spring and seeing it here on the tree it is no wonder why! The tree includes the flowers, some of the leaves and even the representative millstones from the garden. Pine cones, clear bulbs and shiny, tiny, colored bulb ornaments adorn the tree.
Another garden tree comes from The March bank garden which usually blooms in late Winter at the verge of Spring with a field of crocus and daffodils as well as hyacinths. For this reason the tree is displayed with a dusting of snow.
The March Bank tree has it’s namesake garden literally nested within its limbs. Kudos to adding these Snow Droplets in vases! Despite being plastic flowers they really gives the feel of a living garden in the midst of Winter. These flowers, however are made to look like the March Bank ones.
Not all the trees are made from the gardens. There are plenty of just fantastically decorated trees throughout the house! One of the more magnificent ones is this fun 15 foot tree literally surrounded in Pointsettias in the middle of the grand conservatory boasting not only height but ornamental fun!
This particular tree is actually decorated the way it was in the early 1930s which is amazing considering it looks pretty darn close to what my early childhood tree looked liked with the big colored light bulbs nestled deep in the tree, metalic garland wrapping around and the tinsel! That was my job : ) Nice to see this tree was at the earlier part of a long time trend.
Another amazingly fun tree is The Butterfly Tree! It is exactly as described.
The tree is a masterpiece of texture and color. It perfectly fits the decor of the room it’s in.
One of the fun trees we came across was at the very end of the house tour. It was the one created for the party for the people who worked for Mr. du Pont. What I love about it is the little bubble light! How cool!
Just when you think you have seen it all, there are even more decorations about including a great tree by the entrance!
And don’t forget to look for the wreaths! There are more than I could keep track of and they are really fun!
Well this is just a sampling of the great things awaiting at Yuletide at Winterthur! Tomorrow were heading straight to art lovers gallery at Winterthur. Faces of a New Nation, on view through January 24th, is an incredible collection of early American portraits from the very best this Country had to offer!
Tuesday, come back to see the “Stunning” gardens here. You’ll want to mark your calendars for Spring and pack your bags!