The property was part of William Penn's original land grant from James, Duke of York (later, King James II) in 1682. In 1906, Pierre du Pont bought the 1,100 acre property and spent decades and millions of dollars converting it to an arboretum of specimens. Pierre was extremely proud of the property, and opened it to the public - at first, just occasionally, then a few days a week, and then every day of the week. His will created a Foundation and an endowment to maintain the property and keep it open to the public. The property includes a breathtaking five acre conservatory, built at du Pont's own expense:
An orchid show was going on, and it featured some amazing specimens. Most surprising were the slightly less dazzling plants, as orchids go, that are apparently native to the Northeastern United States. While their colors were paler and the plants smaller than their tropical cousins, it was pretty wild to imagine those plants on the forest floor of a local bog or hardwood forest. Cool, indeed.
We capped off the trip by stopping by Terrain, a high end garden design shop in Kennett Square, PA. The displays were really amazing and attractive, but unfortunately I had a screaming 18 month old attached to my leg, so I didn't get to enjoy it too much. A lot of their stock comes from gardening suppliers in Great Britain and France. Very nice stuff! Lettuce knives anyone?
Terrain - where ladies in riding boots go to buy their gardening supplies
And what would any trip to Northern DE/Southeastern PA be without a stop at Capriotti's? We ordered two 12" Bobbies - the Bobby is a ridiculous sandwich made of pulled smoked turkey, delicious garlicky stuffing, and lumpy cranberry sauce. I was proud that we did not eat them on the 90 minute drive home. However, they did not make it through the evening. It was a fun trip and yup, we are still holding our breath for spring to truly break!