Friday, March 24, 2023
HomeHouseplantsGardens galore at Paxson Hill Farm, half 1

Gardens galore at Paxson Hill Farm, half 1

February 09, 2022

Paxson Hill Farm’s crossroads, the place inviting paths department in each path

A pal requested me how I discover gardens to see when touring. Except for on-line analysis so much comes right down to asking gardeners who reside within the space. And it pays to construct in time for last-minute additions to your itinerary. Such was the case with Paxson Hill Farm, a New Hope, Pennsylvania, nursery with a fabulous, expansive backyard that’s open to the general public for a small charge.

I solely discovered about Paxson Hill whereas visiting James Golden’s backyard throughout my October street journey from Maine to Virginia. James recommended I go to, and I used to be in a position to double again someday whereas staying within the Brandywine Valley and spent a few hours exploring this excellent place. That is Half 1 of my 3-post protection of it. Sure, it’s that good!


Backyard designer Bruce Gangawer owns 30-acre Paxson Hill Farm, the place he’s let his gardening creativeness run wild — and by some means discovered the time to construct and keep intensive gardens. Out entrance, nursery tables overflow with a lush show of crops.

I laughed over this Halloween-ready show of carnivorous crops: Meat eaters! Little Pot of Horrors!

Goth, dark-leaved crops and fall-flowering perennials stood prepared for fall containers. I used to be captivated by a black urn holding stacked pumpkins (the underside one could also be upside-down) with a spooky tree silhouette painted on them.

How very Haunted Mansion.

I glanced on the nursery yard however didn’t cease. Crops from different components of the nation seldom thrive in my Texas backyard, and apart from, I had a backyard to tour. I paid my admission within the reward store and headed down the drive…

…which circles round an island mattress chock-full of glowing yellow discs on bobbing wire stakes…

…and previous a towering tree trunk that had been carved right into a story-telling totem pole.

Shade Backyard

I entered the plush and leafy Shade Backyard first.

I had firm, a white peacock who scrounged about for bugs as I explored.

I hoped to get a photograph of him in a white backyard surrounding a round garden, however he wasn’t having any of it.

A standing stone marks the trail, and forward a lantern leads you on.

That path results in a broad round garden, a crossroads the place a number of paths department off like spokes from a central hub. The shade backyard path is only one of them.

The crossroads

The crossroads! Engaging paths department off in all instructions. Which method to go first? Effectively, first let’s try the kinetic Jeff Kahn sculpture that anchors the area.

It’s known as Bare Alien, though it jogs my memory of paper airplanes. Probably the most engaging path lay straight forward, however I saved it for later.

Two different paths that beg to be explored. Let’s take the brief one on the correct and see it rapidly earlier than plunging into the principle gardens.

Double border

A double border of perennials and small timber flanks a large garden path, which clearly sees car visitors. A gate marked the far facet as personal, so I turned again to the crossroads.

Katsura Backyard

Subsequent I explored the Katsura Backyard, led on by the white peacock, who deftly managed to keep away from my lens in picturesque spots. Simpler to seize a garden-art heron.

Aha, gotcha.

Clematis gone to seed on an iron tuteur, wanting like troll hairdos.

And right here’s the katsura tree, turning orange. It have to be wonderful at peak fall colour.

A parting take a look at the heron, pond, and Shade Backyard within the distance.

Returning to the crossroads and Bare Alien sculpture, I debated which path to take subsequent. Actually, all of the choices appeared fairly good.

Temple Backyard

I headed towards an open, sunny area — a proper backyard with an event-space garden bordered by boxwood and decorative timber.

Off to 1 facet, a tall fence and gate shut off a small personal backyard that appears to belong to a guesthouse. Fortunate guests!

On the left, a protracted berm — all of the elevation modifications at Paxson Hill are artifical, I learn — hides the backyard on the opposite facet with a burgundy-and-lavender border.

On the correct, a large-scale wood sculpture attracts the attention. This factor is huge. Sadly I didn’t get the identify of the artist.

Try the element concerned in all these cuts and angles and different-sized boards.

It’s clear that not solely a gifted designer however critical artwork collector lives right here. And all of the works appear to be by Philadelphia artists. Right here on the finish of the garden, a sequence of framing gadgets attracts your eye by way of a protracted axis. Symmetrical planters on pedestals, a figurative sculpture that’s additionally an arbor, tall hedges, and a moon gate body a view of a effervescent fountain.

Adam & Eve by Miguel Antonio Horn consists of two nude figures whose damaged our bodies are held along with wire, which additionally kinds their decrease legs and toes. They solemnly face one another, certain throughout the arbor that connects them.



Should cease to admire the planter with flowering echeveria too.

On this similar area, one other massive twin sculpture provides to the framing of the lengthy view: Michael Grothusen‘s Life’s Joys – Life’s Disappointments.

The 2 basket-like constructions are an identical. One known as Life’s Joys.

The opposite, Life’s Disappointments. Equal measures of every in most lives?

Stepping by way of the Adam & Eve arbor, you’re in a bosque of timber set in frothy inexperienced squares. This hedged backyard room funnels you towards a powerful stone moon gate. However carved plaques and different objects invite you to poke round a bit earlier than passing by way of. So let’s poke.

Are these steeples?

Right here’s Keats in bas-relief.

And one other dedicated to William Blake

The limestone moon gate is one other Philadelphia murals. Based on the plaque, it was the outer ring of a rose window from a Philly church. And take a look at these spiky yucca planters.

Toto, we’re not in Philadelphia anymore!

Having stepped by way of, I can’t resist a glance again the way in which I got here — framed all the way in which to Bare Alien.

And right here’s the fountain vacation spot. From this level, paths exit at each facet.

Staying on the straight path, a pair of pedestals marks the exit from the Temple Backyard, together with a wonky little bit of stone paving.

Possibly the stone blocks are a piece in progress? I get the sensation Paxson Hill Farm is being added to usually. It has a recent, imaginative really feel.

Up subsequent: Half 2 of my tour of Paxson Hill Farm, together with a lavatory backyard, amphitheater, By no means-By no means Land island, and Hobbit home! For a glance again at pumpkin florals at Terrain backyard store, click on right here.

I welcome your feedback. Please scroll to the tip of this submit to go away one. When you’re studying in an e mail, click on right here to go to Digging and discover the remark field on the finish of every submit. And hey, did somebody ahead this e mail to you, and also you need to subscribe? Click on right here to get Digging delivered on to your inbox!


Digging Deeper

Want design assist together with your yard? Rent me as your private backyard coach! Possibly you want substitute plant concepts after the large freeze. Or possibly your landscaping has grown drained, and also you need recent curb attraction. Or maybe you’re able to do away with some garden and create a pollinator backyard, hen habitat, or hangout area for you and your pals. I’m right here to assist! Contact me to let me know what’s occurring, and let’s determine it out collectively. My vary is Austin and suburbs inside a 25-min. drive of NW Austin, however I’m versatile and might journey farther with a surcharge, so let me know the place you’re. Weekday morning appts. solely.

Attend the John Fairey Backyard’s annual Budding Out Plant Sale & Competition on Saturday, March 19 in Hempstead. Uncommon and distinctive crops from the backyard’s nursery and different distributors might be obtainable, plus artwork, ceramics, jewellery, meals, music, and leisure for the entire household. Open 10 am to 4 pm. Members get first dibs on the plant sale with 9 am entry (memberships obtainable on the gate). Test the webpage for a regularly up to date vendor listing.

Be a part of the mailing listing for Backyard Spark! Hungry to find out about backyard design from the consultants? I’m internet hosting a sequence of talks by inspiring backyard designers, panorama architects, and authors a couple of occasions a 12 months in Austin. Try the 2021-22 schedule. These are limited-attendance occasions that promote out rapidly, so be part of the Backyard Spark e mail listing to be notified prematurely. Merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added.

All materials © 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized replica prohibited.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments