My Trip to Mount Cuba Center

Mount Cuba Center, in Hockessin, Delaware (near Wilmington), has long been on my garden visit bucket list.  It is a paradise of native Piedmont plants, and an inspiration for all of us living in “suburban woodlands” here in the mid-Atlantic.

What I learned: the key to a great Woodland Garden is open shade.  They had almost all of their big shade trees limbed way up, plus there were a lot of tulip poplars, which don’t have low limbs anyway.  There was plenty of bright filtered light for the wildflowers to bloom in abundance.

Enjoy the photos!

azalea

You wish the woods in your neighborhood looked like this, instead of being smothered in invasive vines.

 

dogwoodpath5

Redbud, Fothergilla, Tulip Tree

 

dogwoodpath-(2)

Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea), Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

 

clematis

a native herbaceous clematis with adorable little nodding white flowers

 

amethystshootingstar

Amethyst Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon amethystinum) with Quaker Ladies (Houstonia caerulea)

 

alleghenypachysandra

Allegheny Pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens)

 

dwarfiris2

Dwarf Iris

 

dwarfiris

A patch of dwarf Iris in blue — so cute

 

flameazalea

Flame Azalea bloom about to open.

fern

Unfurling fern

ferns

Ferns emerging from Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) plus some Wood Poppies and Bottlebrush Buckeye in the back.

frog1

They also had fauna.

 

goldenalexanderphlox

Great combo! Golden Alexanders and Woodland Phlox (I think Phlox divaricata)

interruptedfern

I overheard a very intelligent looking lady say this was Interrupted Fern

 

lilackaren

They have a lilac allee there, left over from the orginial duPont garden plan. Here is my sister taking a whiff. Mmmmm.

 

primrose

I love these raspberry colored primroses by the stream.

 

quakerladies

A view toward the meadow with Quaker Ladies in the foreground. I want to come back in the late summer to see the meadow in its glory.

 

samarasculpture

Sculpture of a maple samara that actually moves in the wind — neat!

 

southerntrillium2

I believe this is a Southern Red Trillium (Trillium sulcatum) floating over a sea of Rue Anenome (Thalictrum thalictroides?)

 

trilliumdoubleloop

Trillium grandiflorum Double Loop form

 

trilliumwhite

Trillium grandiflorum

 

trilliumunderwoods

Underwood’s Trillium (Trillium underwoodii)

 

trilliumtwisted

Twisted Trillium (Trillium stamineum)

 

trilliumpink

Trillium grandiflorum – pink form

 

trilliumpatch

A patch of trillium, I can’t remember which kind.

tulipdelphinium2

The circular formal garden (another remnant from the original duPont house) was planted out with electric blue delphiniums and the most fabulous array of peach, pink, and yellow tulips of different heights. Awesome!

 

Looking down at the tulips

Looking down at the tulips

yellowmandarin

Yellow Mandarin (Disporum lanuginosum). A unique perennial with delicate little yellowish flowers that hang down….hard to see with the green background.

DSC_1127

Phlox stolonifera with Yellow Lady’s Slipper orchids

 

woodspath2

Woodland path with Purple Pharecia

 

Woodpath

Ferns, woodland phlox, trillium

 

violet

Viola walteri ‘Silver Gem’ — a Mt. Cuba introduction

 

bluebellsferns

Virginia Bluebells, Wood Poppies, unfurling ferns

 

dogwoodpath6

Dogwood path

Comments

  1. absolutely loving this!!! the woodland pictures remind me of oregon…..beautiful….thank you for sharing!!!

  2. Oregon is one of the few states I’ve yet to visit. And I hear it’s a gardener’s paradise! I must get there!

  3. Awesome pictures!! And yes I do wish our local woodland forest looked like that 😊

  4. MorrisCtyNJ says:

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. We’re lucky in that the previous owner of our house was an arborist and took excellent care of all the trees for a good 29-30 years, so they’ve all been limbed up. That means I’m at least a quarter of the way to having a beautiful woodland garden. I’m still fighting the good fight against the multi flora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and garlic mustard which I’m removing by hand. I still have about half an acre to go. If only the Norway Maples would croak! I’m not going to go as far as to kill a tree. My trilliums finally bloomed this year and every year I see more and more jack-in-the pulpits appearing in isolated spots. Starting to feel a sense of hope! Thanks again for the beautiful photos and plant IDs. Gives me ideas!

    • That’s great! I am jealous of your huge woodland to play in. Have you visited the blog Carolyn’s Shade Gardens? Lots of inspiration and great advice there. Thanks for visiting!

  5. I’m also thinking that, in addition to expert care, Mt. Cuba has a good deer fence.

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.

    • Good point! The only fence I saw was one around their trial gardens to keep out rabbits. Maybe they have a crack team of sharpshooters…?

  6. Thank you for the tour. Now I have yet another place to add to my must-see list.

    • Definitely. It is pretty easy to get to…only about 2 hrs from DC. I just visited your blog, too, and I love your recent azalea pics and the little video of the shore with the bald cypress. Heavenly!

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