"Appleford is an excellent example of early Pennsylvania farmhouse architecture situated on 22 beautifully landscaped acres in Villanova, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. During the late [1800s], the property was known as Prospect Hill but later became known as Appleford because of the then existing apple orchard. Today, the landscaping and first known gardens on the property consists of a boxwood maze, a walled boxwood garden, a rose garden and fountain, a walled flower garden, and an allée of Cornus kousa trees. Scattered among ponds and streams can be found gorgeous copper beeches, rhododendrons, tropical hibiscus and lantana standards."
"Appleford was originally a land grant by William Penn in 1682 to James Moore and over the years it increased in size to seven hundred and twenty-three acres. In 1926, the house and twenty-two acres were purchased by Annabel and Lewis Parsons at which time the architect, Richardson Brognard Oakie, was engaged to restore the house which gave coherence to the existing structure without compromising its historic integrity. Oakie added the service wing behind the formal boxwood maze and modernized the house with heat and plumbing. He also connected to the main house the tannery, the oldest building on the property, which is now called the puppy house."
"Thomas Sears was hired to draw up landscape plans. At the time there was only a small pond and Sears is responsible for enlarging the pond and adding a pond, the waterfalls, garden and greenhouse. Surrounded by hedges the rose garden also contains a lily pond with a fetching fountain. A few steps up from the rose garden is the walled flower garden which has in it a handsome purple martin house. Steps lead up to the terrace by the house and another set of rounded steps at the opposite end of the garden lead down to a grassy walk near the stream. Looking to the future, a nature walk through the grounds is planned."
"In 1973, Appleford was left by Annabel Parsons' will to Lower Merion Township in trust for the citizens of Lower Merion. Today, the Township works with The Appleford Committee in maintaining the property where wedding receptions and parties are frequently held on weekends. The terrace is now completely tented for these events. The house is open to the public one or two days a year while the grounds are open daily for the Township residents to enjoy."
Persons and firms associated with the property include: James Moore (former owner, received a land grant from William Penn in 1682); Elizabeth and Philip Krickbaum (former owners, 1780); Peter Pechin (former owner, 1794); Moro Phillips (former owner, 1877); Frederick Phillips (former owner, 1893); Villanova Land Co. (former owner); Annabel and Lewis Parsons (former owners, 1926-1973); Thomas Sears (landscape architect, 1926); Richard Brognard Oakie (architect, 1926).
The folders include a brief description of the garden, a plan that locates different garden features, a slide list, a brochure, and photocopies of images of the garden.
Garden has been featured in Architecture and Design. Vol. 5, No. 21 (September 1941)