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!

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


Redbud, Fothergilla, Tulip Tree


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


a native herbaceous clematis with adorable little nodding white flowers


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


Allegheny Pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens)


Dwarf Iris


A patch of dwarf Iris in blue — so cute


Flame Azalea bloom about to open.
Unfurling fern
Ferns emerging from Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) plus some Wood Poppies and Bottlebrush Buckeye in the back.
They also had fauna.


Great combo! Golden Alexanders and Woodland Phlox (I think Phlox divaricata)
I overheard a very intelligent looking lady say this was Interrupted Fern


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


I love these raspberry colored primroses by the stream.


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.


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


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


Trillium grandiflorum Double Loop form


Trillium grandiflorum


Underwood’s Trillium (Trillium underwoodii)


Twisted Trillium (Trillium stamineum)


Trillium grandiflorum – pink form


A patch of trillium, I can’t remember which kind.
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
Yellow Mandarin (Disporum lanuginosum). A unique perennial with delicate little yellowish flowers that hang down….hard to see with the green background.
Phlox stolonifera with Yellow Lady’s Slipper orchids


Woodland path with Purple Pharecia


Ferns, woodland phlox, trillium


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


Virginia Bluebells, Wood Poppies, unfurling ferns


Dogwood path

9 thoughts on “My Trip to Mount Cuba Center

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  1. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. 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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