Yesterday we took a quick trip to nearby Wilming
ton to visit the Marian Coffin Gardens at Gibraltar. These gardens are restored as an exquisite example of the formal Italianate style of garden design, with marble terraces, a grand staircase, a reflecting pool, sculpture and a variety of annuals, perennials,and shrubs. They are true to the 1916-23 designs of Marian Coffin.
After purchasing Gibraltar in 1909, Hugh Rodney Sharp and his wife Isabella du Pont Sharp built the du Pont mansion of today. It features the formal garden with a pavilion, statuary, and plants collected from trips abroad. Marion Cruger Coffin was one of America's best known female landscape architects and designers.
As we entered the garden area we were greeted by a real, live groundhog. He looked at us. We looked at him. He looked back at us. We looked back at him. Then he resumed his grazing and we went along our way through the gardens. Of all the parts of the property that we viewed we were most taken with the lily pond/reflecting pool. The statuary, the water, the reflections and the delicate water plants and shimmering koi fish combined to produce a perfect summer treasure.
We highly recommend a trip to the gardens and the nearby Delaware Art Museum.
The Marian Coffin Gardens at Gibraltar are located at the corner of Greenhill and Pennsylvania avenues in Wilmington, just off exit 7 of I-95. The garden entrance is on Greenhill Avenue. Self-guided tours are free.