“When I reached home it seemed almost like spring, and the grass a little green here and there. As soon as I came in the house and saw everything was right I went at once to the garden. On the way I saw two snowdrops and yellow crocuses and in the garden more snowdrops and scillas.”
– Pauline Foster du Pont
It has become tradition at Winterthur to walk the garden and spot the first signs of bloom in the naturalistic garden, the March Bank. In fact, it was one of the favorite past times of Winterthur founder Henry Francis du Pont, who would bring his daughters Ruth and Pauline outside to participate in the hunt.
First to bloom are the snowdrops. Last week, Garden Director Chris Strand observed hundreds of snowdrops. The snowdrop bulbs create a green-and-white color scheme against the fallen leaves or, more likely this year, the snow. More importantly, the blooming of March Bank signals warmer temperatures and announces spring is right around the corner. After the winter we’ve had here at Winterthur, the blooms are definitely a welcome sight.
It is quite magnificent to see March Bank transform from the sheets of green and white, as it is covered in snowdrops, to yellow, as the Amur Adonis and winter aconites begin to bloom. Strand spotted a few winter aconites and tommies pushing through last week as he walked the garden. From year to year, it’s difficult to predict exactly when the different phases of the March Bank will occur, but the most spectacular phase is the end when the bank turns a bright, electric blue as the glory-of-the-snow come into full bloom.
This Saturday, March 8, Winterthur welcomes famous plantsman and author Matt Bishop to the annual Bank to Bend event. Bishop, an English snowdrop enthusiast and author of Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, will lecture at 11:00 am in Copeland Lecture Hall. A little fact about Bishop’s book: it has become the bible for any serious collector of snowdrops; now out of print, a copy will set you back $250 or more—if you can find one. Bishop’s lecture should not be missed on Saturday!
Winterthur is pleased to have Carolyn’s Shade Gardens and Black Hog Horticulture onsite at Bank to Bend selling snowdrops and other winter interest plants. Black Hog Horticulture is owned by Winterthur’s former curator of horticulture, John Feliciani, and his wife Helen Waite. Feliciani, who retired in 2010, was the fourth generation of his family to work at Winterthur. His father, Albert, was the former supervisor of the cut-flower garden for 43 years, and before him Feliciani’s grandfather oversaw the cutting garden for 40 years.
In addition, internationally known artist Adrian Martinez will display selections of his botanical art inspired by the winter garden of noted horticulurist and former Winterthur guest speaker David Culp. Martinez’s work combines a rigorously classical technique with an intensely emotional vision. The selection of oil paintings on display will be available for purchase in the Winterthur Bookstore.
Don’t miss your opportunity to tour the March Bank during Bank to Bend beginning at 1:00 pm. You can start your own hunt to find the blooming bulbs of the March Bank. With any luck, the warm weather predicted this weekend will put all of these tough little garden treasures back on track.
For more information and registration, please call 800.448.3883. Space available.
Visit our garden blog to find out what’s in bloom!
Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing & Communication Department