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

Twilight in Minder Woods at Chanticleer Garden


At the end of our opening-to-closing day at Chanticleer in early June, Diana and I packed up the wrappings of our picnic dinner (the garden stays open until 8 pm on summer Fridays) and wandered around taking last-minute photos. I meandered through Minder Woods, a small woodland garden adjacent to the Ruin.


On one edge of the woods, a sunny meadow garden shows off flowering perennials and grasses.


Blues and purples and chartreuse green


It makes a cheery welcome to a shady woodland trail.


A narrow, pine-needle-strewn path leads the way.


Hostas and ferns thrive in the dim light under the trees.


An even narrower stepping-stone path leads through leafy groundcovers.


The main path widens about halfway through the woods to make room for a handcrafted bench and another unique plant-list box…


…shaped like shelf fungus on a tree stump! The wooden lid lifts open to reveal the plant list. So clever!


That’s all I have from Minder Woods. But here are a few last images, mainly from the lawns…


…where pairs of chairs entice you to sit and just enjoy the view. Who could resist?


Diana gives one a try.


As I wandered around post-picnic, I also couldn’t resist capturing my fellow picnickers enjoying the garden. Some came with extended family and friends.


Others enjoyed a quiet dinner for two.


It was so peaceful in the soft light of evening, seeing people quietly enjoying the beauty of the place.


So long, Chanticleer. I hope to see you again soon!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these scenes from Chanticleer, a “pleasure garden” in the Philadelphia area. For a look back at the mysterious Ruin Garden, click here. From there you’ll find links, at the end of each post, to the previous posts I’ve written about Chanticleer in early June 2016 (nine in all).

Up next: A tour of lovely Linden Hill Gardens, the nursery and destination gardens where author Nan Ondra of Hayefield works. She gave us a personal tour while we were in the area.

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.

Chanticleer’s eerie, mysterious Ruin Garden


Just before our picnic on the comfy stone sofa (no, really!), Diana and I explored the Ruin Garden at Chanticleer, a “pleasure garden” in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

The Ruin is a folly resembling an old, crumbling house that’s being overtaken by sapling trees, vines, and shrubs — the triumph of nature. But of course it’s all an illusion (the structure was built in 1999), enhanced with clever allusions. A ruined library with stone books entitled Woods, Thank Flora, and Moss reminds us of nature’s ultimate dominance. A dining hall is anchored by a water feature that evokes a banquet table and, disquietingly, a sarcophagus. Marble faces float just underwater in a small fountain, like drowned ghosts. It’s all a bit eerie, but in a magical, fairy-tale-forest sort of way.


Here’s the description from the garden’s website:

“Minder House, built in 1925, is where Adolph Rosengarten, Jr. lived most of his life. In 1999, under the vision and direction of Chanticleer’s Director Chris Woods, the house was razed and construction of the Ruin Garden began. Originally the plan was to use the partially dismantled house as the ruin, but for safety reasons the only part left of the original house is the foundation and the tile ‘rug.'”


Stepping inside, I entered the dining hall. A stone-and-slate mosaic “rug” lies beneath a watery banquet table…or is it a coffin?


A fireplace mantel at one end drips with succulents.


All that’s needed is ‘Sticks on Fire’ euphorbia in the fireplace grate.


The long view across the reflective table


Turning around, you see a room being swallowed by encroaching oaks, vines, ferns, and other opportunists. I wonder how much pruning the staff does to keep the space looking like it’s never been pruned, while still keeping the room somewhat open. Are sapling trees removed when they grow too large? I have questions.


An open window overlooks a sunny meadow.


On the opposite wall, a window frames a visitor strolling by.


It’s impossible to resist these framed views.


But the close-up views are pretty too, like this clematis climbing a stone pillar.


In the next room, a cluster of upright boxwood shrubs fill an open spot in the paving.


Snakebark maples (Acer davidii) sprout from two more paving gaps. At their feet and scattered around what seems to be an old library are stone books and tablets. Berkeley artist Marcia Donahue sculpted the stone artifacts throughout the Ruin.


Reminder reads one. Ex Libris, the other.


Woods — yes, soon


Fossils, Moss…and a curious, leafy face…


…looking right back!


One open book appears to be the story of an oak tree, with stone “acorns” pressed into the pages.


Another leafy face, with purple clematis scampering along the wall


Some engravings are more of a mystery, like Partial Polishment. Huh?


A small fireplace is tucked into one wall of the library, where Agave attenuata and other plants spring from crevices like living art.


A stone arch…


…leads out to a patio with more wall agaves and a tiered box planter filled with succulents.


‘Sharkskin’ agave, bulbine, aeonium, and other succulents fill the boxes, which appear to be made of slate.


A wider view


An old broken pot and metal stand are still serviceable as a succulent planter — a lesson in not throwing anything away.


A third room contains a small fountain and pool (in the corner). On two wooden posts, salvaged chains with buckets are planted with small succulents.


I bet those chains are heavy. Good thing they have sturdy posts on which to hang them.


Rusty metal and succulents are like peanut butter and chocolate. They’re made for each other.


The fountain draws your attention next.


Looking into the water, an unnerving sight…


…marble faces in the water. Smiling, seemingly in repose, they still kind of creep me out.


These two little girls took a good long look.


Just outside the wall, are those shambling ghosts, coming to visit their old home?


No, just weeping Norway spruces (Picea abies ‘Pendula’), but I feel sure they were chosen for their eerie, humanesque appearance.


A mass planting of prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) softens one side of the Ruin.


At its edge, flame azalea, pond cypress, and ‘Dallas Blues’ switchgrass (I think) make a pretty combo.


A water fountain with a leaf-shaped basin continues the woodland theme of the Ruin.


On a pillow of prairie dropseed, a large sculpted head slumbers peacefully.


Zzzzzzzzzz


On the folly’s opposite side, a trio of straight-trunked pond cypresses (Taxodium distichum var. imbricatum) frames paving that breaks up into stepping stones as it leaves the Ruin. The path leads into Minder Woods, which I’ll show in my next and final post about this visit to Chanticleer.

Up Next: Chanticleer’s shady Minder Woods and a few parting scenes. For a look back at the gorgeous Gravel 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.

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