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1916–1923, Marian Cruger Coffin

H. Rodney Sharp worked for industrialist Pierre S. du Pont and was married to his sister, so the development of the six-acre Gibraltar gardens can be compared to Pierre's contemporaneous Longwood Gardens a few miles north. (Pierre often visited the Sharp's garden at lunchtime and, in 1915, proposed to his wife amid the roses.) Coffin created a series of “rooms” (1916) and designed a curving marble stair that sweeps down from the house. Photographs of the 200-foot bald cypress allee (designed 1919) appeared in garden magazines. The twenty-four cypresses, planted in spring 1921, were cut into formal specimens to answer the same purpose as a hedge, though today they are towering. A one-foot-high ivy-covered wall, smoketrees, and statuary lined the path, which terminated at a three-arched Italian-style tea house with imported rosso verona columns. Garden restoration was undertaken in 1998–1999 by Rodney Robinson.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Garden", [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, 145-145.

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