Touring Linden Hill Gardens with Nan Ondra


I’ve been reading author and plantswoman Nancy Ondra’s blog, Hayefield, for nearly a decade. Although we’d never met, we’ve been friendly online. After all, she donated one of her books as a door prize for the first Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin in 2008, I’ve written about one of her books, and she published some of my photos in her latest book, The Perennial Matchmaker.

So when my friend Diana and I were planning our Philadelphia-area garden-touring trip for early June, I asked Nan if we might stop by for a visit. She kindly gave us a tour of her beautiful, sunny garden, which wraps around her charming log home, and even introduced us to her pet alpacas (aloof yet so cute!).


Afterward, she treated us to a personal tour of Linden Hill Gardens, the gorgeous display garden and retail nursery owned by designer Jerry Fritz. Nan helps Jerry with the gardens, and she’s intimately familiar with the plants and design.


Being from a far different climate, I’m unfamiliar with many of the plants, so I won’t focus on IDs. But I hope you’ll enjoy the views and design as much as I did, starting with this elegant formal garden, where Nan told us a wedding had recently been held.


Linden Hill is located in bucolic Ottsville, Pennsylvania — farm country — and when you turn into the parking lot, a massive old stone barn and silo greet you. The barn is the central focal point of the gardens…


…and eye-catching from every angle, here with a jolt of chartreuse from painted picnic tables.


In back, lushly planted formal beds make a tapestry of color against a sweeping lawn…


…set off by a low stone wall.


An old farmhouse with blue trim stands closer to the road. A kitchen garden is planned for this space.


A long border facing the road advertises the nursery and design business and was lush in early June with purple iris and gold, green, and burgundy foliage.


Wine-colored smoke bush was in full “smoke” (fluffy hairs on the spent flowers).


One more look


Nearby, a dawn redwood allee offers a shady respite from the sun.


Along the back of the property, a winding path leads through a deer-resistant garden highlighted with clusters of golden-leaved shrubs.


Rustic stone pillars are used to mark transition points.


A large pond occupies a sunny spot.


I like this sculpted stone bench.


A black-painted, shed-like office sits in the central garden, a striking backdrop for green, gold, and purple-flowering plants in the surrounding cottage beds.


Delphiniums


Wine-red and orange look fabulous against that black paint too.


But chartreuse — ahhh!


That modern jolt of chartreuse is carried through on the door as well. A groundcover with sparkling blue flowers edges a flagstone path to the front steps.


Elsewhere, gold-flowering sedum traces flagstones in a patio.


In one corner, blue, lavender, and purple plants rule in the Blue Profusion Garden.


Golden foliage adds welcome contrast.


Here’s Nan (in the sunglasses and hat) talking to Diana and taking notes about what needs to be done in the gardens — a born multitasker!


This rustic shed caught my eye because of the tiny flowerpot edging by the front steps.


Behind the barn, the nursery tables and more display gardens vie for attention.


A massive slab of stone bridges the lawn and gravel paths, with flowering heuchera on either side.


With wine-red and silvery-pink leaves and flowers dotted with pink and cream, it’s a stunner.


Love!


Even the nursery tables are artfully arranged.


A raised planter made of old shutters and a rebar tuteur? Yes, please! The retail shed is lovely too.


A wooden arbor bridges shed and barn.


The beautiful old barn


A linden allee leads into the garden from the gravel patios behind the barn.


A side view of the linden allee


Behind the barn, a French-style gravel patio runs its length, with pairs of wrought-iron chairs and small tables inviting you to sit and enjoy the view.


What a beautiful place to work, eh?


A pretty vignette under an old window framing watering cans


Thank you, Nan, for sharing Linden Hill Gardens with us and your own special corner of Bucks County!

This concludes my series about Philadelphia-area gardens I visited in early June. For a look back at the amazing Chanticleer Garden, click here; you’ll find links to additional posts at the end.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Chanticleer’s Flower/Vegetable Garden and magical Bell’s Woodland


During our full day at Chanticleer Garden in the Philadelphia area last month, Diana and I left for lunch around 1:30 pm and returned two hours later with full bellies plus a picnic dinner stashed in our bags. On Friday nights in the summer, the garden stays open late — until 8 pm! — and allows visitors to picnic on the grounds. I wouldn’t have missed the chance to photograph the garden in the softer light of evening, and being able to bring in dinner was a bonus. (If you’re considering it too, arrive no later than 4 pm in order to get a parking spot. There are only 120 spots. Once those are filled, people are turned away.)


Re-entering the garden, we headed opposite the Teacup Garden in order to see the sections we hadn’t visited that morning. The Cut Flower Garden, with willowy arches and frothy flowerbeds, soon came into view.


I was more drawn to the Vegetable Garden, with its diagonal lines and lathe tuteurs resembling oversized carrots half-pulled from the soil.


Another view


As in other parts of the garden, Chanticleer provides a plant list in a charming, handcrafted box. (Plant lists are helpfully available online too, although only a few star plants are accompanied by photos, making it challenging at times to find the plant you’re looking for.)


The estate’s old stables now function as a garden shed. Bellflower (Campanula medium ‘Champion Pink’) shows off prettily in front.


A closer look


Pink sweet pea climbs a downspout.


We walked down this path…


…and I gasped in surprise. I missed this fallen-tree bridge — and Bell’s Woodland, which starts here — the last time I visited Chanticleer, back in 2008. (Maybe the bridge is new since then?) It would have been easy to miss this time, as the path is hidden in a back corner and on the quieter side of the garden. But we didn’t, and so began another exploration of delight.


Hanging realistically from a tree branch, a plant-list box in the shape of a hornet’s nest — complete with a few hornets! — sets an almost fairy-tale mood.


You can’t help using a cautious touch as you open it up.


The bridge is a marvel of verisimilitude as well. It’s made to resemble a fallen, partially decayed beech tree, and you enter through vine-draped roots.


The “decayed” portion is open to sunlight and, just as a real fallen tree does, supports the growth of colonizing plants.


Moss, rocks, and a mason bee house are tucked along one side of the “log.”


Delicate flowers spring out of a mossy bed.


More plants growing over the old fallen tree


A wider view shows the planted sides and jagged, “broken” end of the tree bridge.


And here’s how it looks from the outside. Isn’t it wonderful? You feel rabbit-sized as you walk through it.


Chairs are tucked into the woodland garden here and there, inviting you to sit and enjoy the peaceful scene.


I took a seat and discovered a stone representation of an old tree stump — like petrified wood — complete with moss and other colonizing plants inside.


Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) was showy in the shade.


Clematis too, its upper half reaching for the sun.


From the shady woods we emerged into a glade of curving green lawn bisected by a sunken, stone-walled stream: Bell’s Run Creek.


Bridges cross here and there, allowing you to explore both sides of the creek.


A dogwood was blooming at the edge of the woods.


An old waterwheel that once pumped water up to the swimming pool still turns, although it’s no longer in use.


A long view to the waterwheel and dogwood. In the foreground, the stream widens around a weir of stacked stone.


Carnivorous pitcher plants grow in the moist soil.


An oval reflecting pond offers a tranquil spot to pause and take in the view.


Along one side, a stone frog spits water into the pool.


Another beckoning bridge


Sticking to the edge of the garden, I rediscovered several wonderful slate paths and tiny patios.


This spiraling path of slate pieces laid on edge is one of my favorite artistic features at Chanticleer, and it was one of the inspirations for my own sunburst stone path around my stock-tank pond.


Pure magic, a surprise element that invites you into a secret-seeming space


Farther along the path, a stone-and-slate starburst suddenly appears at your feet, giving you a reason to slow down, not hurry on through.


Stars within stars. I love unique paving materials like this. Paths can be art too!


One more — a whorl of slate laid on edge for a tiny patio, with two small benches angled for conversation.


On a pine tree, a skull haloed with barbed wire is one of the few non-functional pieces of art I noticed in the garden, and it has an incongruously Southwestern vibe. Still, I liked it too. How could I not like anything at magical Chanticleer?

Up Next: The dry and hilly Gravel Garden, one of my favorite parts of Chanticleer. For a look back at the white and gold Tennis Court Garden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Coneflower frenzy at Wildflower Center


What better greeting than a plethora of purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)? The ballerina-skirted beauties are brightening the entry to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center right now. Like Dr. Seussian trees, several multi-trunked Yucca rostrata stand behind them, adding shimmery drama.


The long view


Needle-sharp gray agaves — Agave neomexicana, I think — and grasses add starburst forms but vastly different textures to this beautiful, early-summer scene.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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