Spring is Garden Tour Time

Bob McConkey
Adams County Master Gardener

The Adams County Master Gardeners are again planning for their annual Spring Garden Tour which is being held on Tuesday, April 29. This year’s garden tour highlights two outstanding gardens in the Washington DC area.

The garden tour begins with a visit to Hillwood Museum and Gardens. The estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood is set on 25 acres of luscious formal gardens including a Japanese garden, a French parterre, and natural woodlands. The Museum itself houses the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial fine art outside of Russia. Hillwood also features an extensive collection of 18th century French furnishings displayed in the same grand setting as when Mrs. Post welcomed guests to her estate.

The garden tour continues with a visit to Brookside Gardens, Montgomery County’s award-winning 50-acre public garden located within Wheaton Regional Park. Included in the gardens are several distinct areas, including an azalea garden, rose garden, yew garden, formal garden, fragrance garden, Japanese garden and trial garden. The garden also features two conservatories and a horticulture reference library.

The tour bus will leave Gettysburg around 7 a.m. and return about 5 p.m. The cost of the garden tour is $39.00 and includes bus fare, tour fees and lunch. For a reservation form, call the Adams County Cooperative Extension Office at 334-6271 ext 319 before April 11 to register for this exciting tour.

Some Great Pennsylvania Gardens

If you are unable to attend this year’s Master Gardeners’ Spring Garden Tour, keep in mind that Pennsylvania has other wonderful gardens located within easy driving distance of our area for touring on your own. Some prime ones are located in the Brandywine River Valley, Delaware and Bucks Counties and in and around Philadelphia. Besides Longwood Gardens and Winterhur Museum and Gardens--the two most famous gardens in these areas--there are numerous others. The following is a sampling of some of them.

Historic Bartram’s Garden, located in downtown Philadelphia, is the oldest living botanic garden in America. In existence for nearly 300 years, it was the home of plant explorers and botanists John and William Bartram and the focal point for Colonial horticulture and a source of native plants for Europe. The 45-acre National Historic Landmark is located at 54th Street and Lindbergh Blvd.

Chanticleer is a 31-acre pleasure garden featuring lush courtyards of tropicals, perennials and containers; a colorful cut flower and vegetable garden; exotic woodlands; a pond and water garden teeming with life; and a new spectacular ruin garden. It is located at 786 Church Street in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Its web address is www.chanticleergarden.org.

The Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania covers 110 acres of the Swarthmore College campus making it what some have called the most beautiful campus in America. The 110 acres is home to over 4000 kinds of ornamental plants. The Arboretum is open year round so gardeners may visit every season to view the many plant highlights including the first crocus of spring, roses in summer and snow covered hollies in winter.

Another outstanding garden site is the Tyler Arboretum located in Media, Pennsylvania. An aura of tranquillity still surrounds the 650-acre property much as it did when first established by its original Quaker owners. Dating to a 1681 Land Grant, the property remained in the same family for over 250 years. A manor house built in 1738 holds the furnishings of eight generations. While breathtaking displays of rhododendrons, magnolias, maples, cherries, crab apples and lilacs greet visitors throughout the seasons, much of the site remains a secret to be slowly discovered. Extensive trails abound.

Finally, there is Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve located in New Hope. Pennsylvania’s first wildflower preserve, its 100 acres of woods, meadows, pond and Pidcock Creek provide picturesque habitats for an astonishing diversity of Pennsylvania native plants, including nearly 1000 species of wildflowers, ferns, trees, shrubs and vines. The Preserve offers educational programs, guided walks, native plant sales, birdwatching and other activities for all ages. Admission is free. Log on to www.bhwp.org for additional details.