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Brookside Farm 2003

Landscape architect:
Sears, Thomas Warren 1880-1966
The Weeders Garden Club
Physical description:
1 folder+ 14 35 mm. slides
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, Pennsylvania, Chester County, Devon
Brookside Farm (Devon, Pennsylvania)
The ca. 1758 stone house was part of a dairy farm during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Former owners, Francis and Emily Kemble, hired Thomas Sears to terrace the hillside with stone walls and steps. English boxwood marked the corners, and narrow grass paths defined rectangular beds lined with hosta and centered with matching clusters of peonies and phlox. Sears planted masses of "Congo" lilacs and an American elm in order to provide a canopy for the garden. A small orchard of apple and pear trees were planted to screen the house from the road. A meadow area was set aside for a large vegetable garden, cold frames and a hot frame. Sears converted several out-buildings into garden "follies" for tea parties and relaxing. The foundation of one of the buildings became a rose garden with a stepping stone path down the center. When the present owners purchased the property, invasive weeds overtook the garden beds and vegetable garden. Most of the boxwood succumbed to disease and many of the fruit trees were dead. The owners wished to adapt an old high maintenance garden to contemporary interests and a reasonable budget. Azaleas became the foundation of the woody plantings. They revived the vegetable garden and offered plots to friends. The garden is currently used as a laboratory to learn more about growing and combining various plants while overcoming problems, such as deer.
Persons and firms associated with the garden include: William Wood (former owner, 1700s); Emily and Francis Kemble (former owners, 1920-1975); Thomas Sears (landscape architect, 1927-1930); and Brognard Okie (architect, 1928-1929).
The folder includes a work sheet, narrative description of the garden and its history, and an abbreviated garden plan.
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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