In the season of cherry blossom festivals, I want to celebrate a few very handsome old cherries and other spring flowering trees at Winterthur in Delaware. There’s a scene that’s so magnificent that it needs revisiting every year. I toured the former du Pont estate for the first time last April on a rainy day, and I was breathless after coming upon a pair of Sargent cherries. It could have just been the hill leading up the them, but I had to slow myself to catch my breath. The rain had stained the thick, stout trunks dark, and they looked menacing against the clusters of white petals with soft pink centers. Such a stunning scene - the weighty masses and the delicacy hovering above them.
And thus when spring came early this year, I felt the pull to see those trees again. Three weeks earlier, but a similar day - cold, wet, and overcast - and the cherries were in full bloom and had begun to carpet the road below them. It was breathtaking all over again.
But, it wasn’t only the cherries that drew me to Winterthur. I was looking forward to the magnolias, winterhazels, Korean rhododendrons, and flowering quince in all their spring exuberance.