Vol. 19, No. 29
May 4, 2000
|An art exhibition and garden party will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 24, at the Goodstay Gardens on UD's Wilmington Campus, 2600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tickets are $65 per person and include a tax-deductible contribution of $25. Proceeds from the event will be used to continue the restoration of the gardens.
The art show, cosponsored by the Delaware Art Museum and five prominent local galleries, will feature the works of 17 area artists, including works inspired by the gardens. More than 50 original works of art will be for sale during the garden party, and the works will remain on view from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, May 25.
Two cash prizes will be awarded for winning entries depicting the Goodstay Gardens. Works will be judged by Steve Bruni of the Delaware Art Museum; Martha Carothers, chairperson of the UD Department of Art; and Peggy Amsterdam, from the Delaware Division of the Arts.
Participating artists include Carolyn Anderson, Judy Antonelli, Ginger Garrett Arthur, Carolyn Blish, David Coolidge, Susan Detjens, Jean E. Diver, Marjorie Egee, Mary Page Evans, Carol Gray, Laura Hickman, Jack Kaiser, Susan Mackey, Anna B. McCoy, Susan Myers, Bob Nickle and Paul Scarborough.
The Carspecken-Scott Gallery, Hardcastle Gallery, the Gallery at Centreville, the Somerville-Manning Gallery and the Station Gallery are participating cosponsors of the event.
For more information, call (302) 654-1806.
History of the gardens
The formal garden, with its gravel walks and boxwood hedges, is maintained by an organization of volunteers known as the Friends of Goodstay Garden.
Dating from about 1740, the house and garden were given to UD by artist Ellen du Pont (Meeds) Wheelwright in 1968.
Mrs. Wheelwright and her landscape architect husband, Robert, spent 13 years transforming their American Tudor-style kitchen gardena rectangular space made up of six squares known as "knots"into a horticultural gem.
Instead of vegetables and strawberry patches, they planted it with irises, roses, peonies, daffodils, daylilies and azaleas.
In its prime, the flower beds were replanted five times a year and occupied the time of four gardeners and four assistants. As a crowning touch, in 1937, the couple added an avenue of 30 pink-blossoming magnolia trees leading to a circular reflecting pool.
Even in its earlier days, the garden was memorable. Local artist Howard Pyle, who spent some boyhood years there in the 1850s, once wrote, "It was such a garden as you will hardly find outside of a story book."
In addition to the wisteria gate, which dates to 1901, most of the six original gardens have extensive planting records, backed up by Mrs. Wheelwright's diaries and those of her mother, Mrs. T. Coleman du Pont. The iris garden, for example, was first devoted to dahlias before being converted to irises in 1955.
Originally a colonial vegetable garden, Goodstay's rose garden has been in place since the 1920s. Because many of the roses were in poor shape, a decision was made to replant with modern roses similar to those in Mrs. Wheelwright's records.
The Knot Garden, so named because of the "knot" design of its flagstone path, was initially planted in tulips and iris. Today, an herb collection has been established there.
Goodstay's Turkey Rock Garden, named after a large rock on which turkeys once roosted, is bordered by lilacs.
Also planted with daffodils and daylilies, this garden features a statue by the sculptor William Zorach, restored by local artist Joanna Roundtree.
Dating from the 1930s, Goodstay's peony garden features herbaceous varieties ranging in color from cerise to white.
Pink tree peonies, a variety that does not die back in winter, are found in the Knot Garden and in the central border.
Beyond the formal garden is a natural woodland garden with a spring-fed stream. In this park, which is currently being restored, visitors will find wild yellow tulips, may apples, johnny jump-ups, dog-toothed violets, trilliums, wild azaleas and winter hazels.
For more information, write to Friends of Goodstay Gardens, in care of the Goodstay Center, 2600 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, DE 19806.