New Castle 2013

A big thanks to Sandy Beale who arranged a tour for our club to discover Old New Castle, Delaware with the help of docents and Sandy leading the way around her town. According to the internet, New Castle is the oldest, continuously occupied town in the Delaware Valley. We not only visited a few of the historic homes and the Old Court House—all interesting– but we also saw some terrific gardens—a real treat.


We especially enjoyed being led through the ARASAPHA Garden Club Native Plant Garden. We were struck by the careful planning, planting and maintenance that went into this 3-year-old retreat. We were led through the garden by the designer, Ann, who was trained at the University of Delaware, Longwood Gardens and Mt. Cuba. She planned the garden around the 4 climate zones this garden enjoys–hot dry, hot moist, shady dry, shady moist.  From that beginning she created the combination of plant color, texture and variety—spiranthas orchid, wood aster, iron butterfly, bear berry, to name a few of the plants.


Sandy reminded me of the “fall stars” in the garden coming into bloom–the deep violet bottle gentian; gentiana clause luminating the shade of the black gum; nyssa sylvatica; several goldenrods, solidago, in full mustard-yellow attire–golden fleece and fireworks; lobelias–brilliant red cardinal lobelia, lobelia cardinalis and the great blue lobelia and lobelia siphilitica; Asters at their best–purple dome –a royal hue; aster novae-angliae; wood aster creeping through the shade; aster divaricatus and a gorgeous airy ‘Pink Beauty’–boltonia asteroids; and, lest we forget–the long-awaited  American Beauty Berry, callicarpa americana begins its crawl!


The ARASAPHA Garden Club, which means “bend in the river” as named by the Lenape native Americans. The club is 80-years old and was founded and fostered by the Garden Club of Wilmington. Sandy Beale is head of the garden committee. She has the big job of overseeing the maintenance, promotion and education of the native plant garden. We were so impressed with all Sandra Beale’s garden club has accomplished. Each season is celebrated in the 4 climate zones with the blossoming of many new species in communities of integrated plants.


We did take time out for a late lunch at Jessups Tavern and Colonial Restaurant. I took a picture of Michele Spence’s lunch—a delicious cheese board.


Also notice the photo of an early advertisement promoting Ivory Soap on the side of a building that was at one time a general store. The graffiti was supersized so that ships going up the Delaware could read the ad.


The day was hot, but no rain, which was predicted. What a lovely life folks have in New Castle along the Delaware River.



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