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Eleutherian Mills Gardens

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1803. 1972 recreated, William H. Frederick Jr. 1924–1938 Italian classical garden, Francis B. and Louise du Pont Crowninshield
  • Eleutherian Mills Gardens (Hagley Museum and Library)

Having declared his profession as “botaniste” on his traveling papers, E. I. du Pont lost no time in having seeds and plants sent from France, including fruit trees and grape vines. His garden (uphill from the house) later vanished, but garden archaeology, one of the first such endeavors in the United States, was begun in 1968. A sketch (c. 1870) by architect Theophilus P. Chandler allowed reconstruction of the pump of 1817. Visitors can study recreated eighteenth-century French garden treatments, including espalier. Near the garden stand several fine trees, including the second-largest Osage orange in the United States and a buckeye thought to have been hybridized by E. I. himself. The Crowninshields established a garden of their own downhill from the house, of entirely different character, an Italian ruin garden on the steep slope. They razed the upper stories of an abandoned saltpeter refinery there and built whimsical brick ruins, designed by Francis, with plantings by Louise. Huge saltpeter kettles of iron served as urns. This ruin garden has been partly razed.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Eleutherian Mills Gardens", [Wilmington, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 69-69.

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