Chimes Tower District

Aerial view of large grassy area with a small pond and stone tower surrounded by a forest

About This District

Originally designed as an arresting backdrop for the Main Fountain Garden, the Chimes Tower District is now a series of standout gardens and water features that warrant more than just a passing glance. The Hillside Garden features an enviable roster of rare and unique plants, thriving harmoniously throughout the sun-dappled slopes. At the crest of the hill, Oak and Conifer Knoll boasts an array of celebrated tree specimens, with some planted during founder Pierre S. du Pont’s time. The Eye of Water, Pear-Shaped Basin, and Waterfall—all originally part of the gravity-fed pump and reservoir system that once serviced the Main Fountain Garden—are three unique, and interconnected destinations for your exploration.

Gardens in this District

  • Hillside Garden
    A autumn sunset fills the sky with gold over a small wood of trees and a wooden bench on a walking path

    Hillside Garden

    Dappled sun flirts with open vistas and shady, intimate perspectives as you wander the paths past beds brimming with a who’s who of rare and unique plants from around the world, set to the occasional tones of the historic Chimes Tower.

  • Oak and Conifer Knoll
    A large red and yellow tree with twisting branches hangs over a small stream and wooden bridge

    Oak and Conifer Knoll

    Towering, century-old trees and sun-dappled vistas await in this living gallery of champion specimens with four seasons of stunning highlights. In the early spring, sweeps of colorful geophytes bloom to create a stunning tapestry.

What’s in Bloom

  • Beautyberry

    Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ′Profusion′

    Beautyberry is a deciduous shrub with tiny, lavender flowers in summer, which form into showy, bright purple fruit that cover the arching slender branches in autumn. This tall shrub makes a lovely impact in the Garden with its burst of autumn color, whether as a single specimen or when planted in mass.  The fruit also provides a food source for many birds.

  • White Snakeroot

    Ageratina altissima

    Growing to a height of three to four feet, white snakeroot is a fibrously rooted, native perennial that can be found in forests, thickets, and woodland margins. This plant can take full sun to part shade and prefers moist, rich conditions. The wonderful white flowers that occur late in the season, when flowers such as these are hard to come by, make it a wonderful addition to the garden.

  • Rough Goldenrod

    Solidago rugosa ′Fireworks′

    Solidago rugosa is a native perennial that forms loose spreading clumps of arching, hairy stems. Growing from creeping rhizomes, the general height of this plant is six feet tall and grows in wet soils, open woodlands, thickets, old fields, bogs, and along roadsides. The conditions best for this plant are full sun with average well drained soil. The golden yellow flower heads are held in loose panicle-like arrays. Its adaptability and the fact that it is not as aggressive as other goldenrods make it a great native plant for perennial borders and gardens. 'Fireworks' was selected for its shorter growth habit and heavier flowering. When in bloom the open flowers resemble fireworks. This cultivar reaches only about three feet in height.

  • Ivy Leaf Cyclamen; Baby Cyclamen

    Cyclamen hederifolium
  • Smooth Aster

    Symphyotrichum laeve ′Bluebird′

    Asters, from the Latin for stars, are late blooming perennials that attract pollinators and bring color to the autumn garden. ‘Bluebird’ is a native aster selection from Mt. Cuba Center and offers violet blue flowers in abundance on 3-foot stems.