United States of America, Pennsylvania, Erie, Erie
A Touch of Williamsburg (Erie, Pennsylvania)
In 1970 the owners built their house on two and one-quarter acres in a new subdivision on land that had been agricultural, and their growing family played sports in the yard. In the late 1980s the owners began changing the landscape and house to reflect their interests, especially after studying English gardens at Cambridge University, England, and many visits to the recreated colonial gardens in Williamsburg and Monticello in Virginia. The property was planned and planted as a whole, with formal gardens including a kitchen garden replicating the Taliaferro-Cole garden in Williamsburg with its multi-level picket fence. The garden inside the fence is rectilinear with an armillary sphere in the center watched over by the sculpture "The Dog" by Glenna Goodacre. The straight-edged beds are planted in flowers and vegetables, espaliered apple and pear trees and pollarded linden trees along the fence. This part of the property is conceived on a short axis that ends in an obelisk. The long axis of the plan starts at the street and traverses through an allée of crabapple trees towards a reproduction 18th century statue called "Taste." An outbuilding that is used for storage copies the design of a colonial kitchen. A tennis court is flanked by fruit orchards, and an alpine trough garden leads to the garage.
The paths in the fenced garden are comprised of silica and brick, which along with tall hedges, create a micro-climate in the courtyard that is ten degrees warmer than outside the fence. Thus the planting season starts earlier and last longer, and species such as southern magnolia can be grown. Although most of the construction and garden ornaments reflect the colonial style of this garden there are two Lutyens style benches inside the fenced garden from the Arts & Crafts period, and a brightly painted cottage Windsor chair for resting. Rose pots, painted red, are hoisted on top of poles add height and whimsy to the garden.
To keep the garden looking fresh big plants are replaced, especially with one that have sentimental value to the owners. The garden has been photographed, written about and studied by horticultural groups, and the owners are active in local gardening organizations.
Persons associated with the garden include: Tracy and Maryann Griswold (former owners, 1925-1967); Glenna Goodacre (sculptress, 1999).
The folder includes worksheets and photocopies of articles.
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: firstname.lastname@example.org