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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)
Other title:
Kemble/Wood Garden
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).
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
The folder includes a work sheet, narrative description of the garden and its history, and an abbreviated garden plan.
Repository Loc.:
Smithsonian Gardens, PO Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506, Washington, DC 20013-7012
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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