United States of America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, Philadelphia
Casamura (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Casamura, meaning house within walls, was created by noted Philadelphia architect John Sabatino. Sabatino acquired the site which contained the walled ruins of a nineteenth century Tudor mansion to design and build his residence. The ruins consist of large stone walls, stone columns, limestone lintels and a multistory arch, an intriguing template for the construction of a contemporary residence and garden.
The residence was constructed within the walls in a manner which bifurcate the site, thereby creating two garden opportunities. The highest walls and arch were preserved on the north and east perspective. A large courtyard, the piazza, was created and a hemispheric pond incorporated at the entrance to the residence. The piazza space landscape is highlighted by towering Cryptomeria japonica and Larix deciduas. Groves of Magnolia virginiana were incorporated with an under story planting of Buxus and Hydrangea. Arborvitae and specimen Acer japonica were used to apportion a smaller piazza space outside the master bedroom pavilion. A triad of century old Cedrus Atlantica were preserved outside the walled garden. The palate of this garden incorporated blue and purple hardscape paths highlighted by seasonal planting material.
The southern and western perspective was largely undeveloped until 1995. A plan was conceptualized to create a large pergola enclosed space reflecting the classic plan of the north and eastern perspective while introducing less formal plantings and an entirely different texture and palate. Inside the pergola space, three garden sections were created for kitchen, herbal and aroma gardens with Fig trees planted in each to unify texture. Climbing roses wrap around the interior columns then cross the cover of the pergola to meet Wisteria floribunda.
Other plantings include: Buddleia davidii (ensuring butterfly visitations), Lavender edging, yellow suffused with pink broom and generous use of terra cotta planters planted with pink, coral and white geraniums that provide architectural transition to the house. The landscape provides views from every room in the house and invites one into the garden.
Persons and firms associated with the garden include Georgia Doyle (landscape designer, 2000 to present), Joyce de Quantomora (sculptor, 2005).
The folder includes worksheets, site plans, and additional information about the house and garden.