This past May, as we debuted our Main Fountain Garden, I was filled with awe and anticipation. Watching the revitalization over these last few years has been humbling, to say the least. Fast track 158 days later and the reception the garden received in its summer-into-fall revival surpassed all our expectations.
My gratitude runs deep. Thank you—our amazing Members and guests. For experiencing this splendor with us. For welcoming back an old friend. For sending us love letters. For bringing friends who’ve never been. For giving us critical feedback (it’s a gift you know). For trying us out for the very first time. And for sharing in the realization that this was all made possible through the vision and generosity of one man, our visionary founder, Pierre S. du Pont.
Someone asked me this summer what I’m most proud of and I have to say I’m proud that we were bold enough to take on this revitalization together, and do it in the spirit of our founder with innovation at the forefront. I’m also incredibly proud of the team we assembled—from our Board of Trustees guiding us, to the dream team of planners, architects, conservationists, horticulturists, engineers, plumbers, craftsmen and women of all trades, to the dedicated staff, students, and volunteers who continue to showcase their skills and talents day in and day out. We’ve created a space that’s welcoming, that changes with each encounter, that’s tactile, beautiful, that’s exquisite by day, fantastical by night.
What we envisioned is happening. More than 600,000 guests visited and used this new garden/old friend in ways we always hoped. The new paths and improved accessibility brought you into the heart of the garden—up close to touch the fountains and view the exquisite details of the restored Italian limestone carvings. New seating invited you to linger. The Fountain Terrace, inoperable and closed-off for more than two decades, opened up and welcomed you from multiple points. Then came the evening fountain shows with thrilling colors, displays, music, and dance that wowed all ages. I was especially thrilled watching the silhouettes of guests against the towering jets of the Rectangular Basin during our Illuminated Fountain Performances.
As this true “Summer of Spectacle” season comes to a close and we prepare to winterize our fountains, my heart is full knowing what we all accomplished together and why we chose to do it… in this way… at this time. We look forward to what lies ahead as we watch this garden and all of our gardens grow.