An outing to New Castle is a gardener’s delight, with its historic Green, host of private and public gardens, and Battery Park along the Delaware River. Among these public gardens are the grounds of New Castle Historical Society’s historic sites.

Amstel House Gardens

Explore the charming Amstel House garden, with elements of a Colonial Revival garden designed in the 1930s by noted Mid-Atlantic landscape architect, Charles Gillette. Walk into this enclosed Georgian town garden, and wander through its boxwood garden planned with a unique butterfly pattern in brick. Discover the focal point of this boxwood garden, a Renaissance-era baluster, originally from London Bridge, topped with a 1789 English sundial. Step inside its delightful garden house, tucked into a back corner, to learn more about the history of gardening on this property. You'll also delight at the modern perennial bed created by the members of New Castle's Arasapha Garden Club

Learn more about the creation of the historic Amstel House Gardens over 80 years ago from Jean Kane Foulk du Pont - one of the women responsible for its creation! Click here to read more!

Dutch House Gardens

In the Dutch House garden, you'll enjoy exploring three distinct gardens that are a unique combination of gardens not found on other historic house properties:

Colonial Revival Garden

In the mid-20th century, when the New Castle Historical Society acquired the Dutch house and grounds, plans were made to make a Colonial Revival garden. A distinctive smoke house was built in 1939, a gift from the Colonial Dames of Delaware - the first step to addressing the interpretation of the garden space. A knot garden (parterres) and pear orchard were the first plantings. In 1952 the Homsey architects designed a country-formal space with walkways, fences, notable plants, herb pots and a perennial bed. 

Today, the Colonial Revival garden boasts a mature Magnolia grandiflora, Bull Boy, a Homestead elm, 17th century York and Lancaster roses, and a bed of yellow and red perennials and annuals. The site has numerous dwarf trees and berry shrubs and vines. Rest on the bench beneath a pergola dressed in fall clematis while you enjoy this special garden.  

Dutch Kitchen Garden

In 2011 a unique Dutch-inspired Kitchen Garden was installed in the Colonial Revival knot garden. The research of culinary author Peter Rose, author of The Sensible Cook, inspired our designer to create a kitchen garden appropriate to the era and space that had been defined by the original Homsey design. The new garden is woven into the knot garden, just inside of the garden gate. Nearby are two raised beds that exhibit root vegetables, colorful herbs and surprise plants. The Kitchen Garden plant materials are attractive and change throughout the year according to a planned schedule - so there's always something new to see!

For more information about the Kitchen Garden, visit our designer's Dutch House Kitchen Garden Blog.

Arasapha Native Plant Garden

Wonder at the year-round beauty of this self-contained oasis of North American native plants, mostly from the Mid-Atlantic region, in a colonial space. The Arasapha Native Plant Garden is a reflection of our evolving passion for knowledge and our awareness of the importance of our gardening methods impact on the health of our planet.

Share in the exploration of our historical relationships with the remarkable collection of trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers sited in diverse micro-climates. For a detailed look at this garden visit our designer's Arasapha's Native Plant Garden Blog.

Find inspiration for an infusion of native plants in your garden!

Enjoying The Gardens

The Gardens at the Amstel House and the Dutch House are open daily, from sunrise to sunset, to enjoy at your leisure. Benches are available in each garden and the public is invited to pick a favorite spot to read or perhaps enjoy a restful lunch. There are no trash receptacles to spoil the views so please take any trash with you when you leave. 

Tours

Individual Tours

Brief tours are included with regular admission to the Amstel  House and Dutch Houses, but guests are encouraged to spend more time in the gardens on their own after visiting the houses. Printed materials will be available in each of the gardens to assist you. 

Group Tours

Guided group tours are available of all three gardens. Guided tours of the gardens may be combined with guided tours of the houses for a complete and memorable experience. 

You may choose one of the following options: 

Historic Garden Tour - Ideal for all groups, this detailed tour is led by docents from the Arasapha Garden Club. About 60 minutes in length, the tour explores all the gardens at both the Amstel and Dutch Houses. $10.00 per person (Minimum of 10 people). 

Historic House & Garden Tour - Ideal for all groups, this tour explores the interiors of the Amstel & Dutch Houses in addition to the gardens described above. Allow 2 hours for this tour. $18 per person (Minimum of 10 people).

To make reservations for garden and house tours please contact the New Castle Historical Society at 302-322-2794. 


Click any of the pictures above for a larger view