United States of America, Pennsylvania, Montgomery, Haverford
Thomas Country Garden (Haverford, Pennsylvania)
Built in 1950 by Philadelphia architect Walter K. Durham the cottage style stucco house with dormer windows and multiple roof lines blends in very well with the romantic, profusely flowering and fragrant garden rooms created by the current owners beginning in 1987. Large window pane trellises on the house support climbing hydrangea, schizopraghma, clematis and roses. White picket fences, stone walls and arbors on the slightly more than one acre property are loaded with more roses, with more than one type of vine that will bloom in succession climbing up or over some of the supports. Perennials, especially those that bloom more than once and those with variegated leaves that add light to the garden are planted strategically to disguise any spent foliage or sparse vines. There is no spraying in this garden, and the rose varieties that are grown including hybrid musk and old-fashioned thrive where hybrid tea rose varieties would not. The eight garden rooms are planted primarily with shrubs and also perennials, spring bulbs and ornamental grasses. Mature trees from the earlier 19th century estate, Cheswold, still grow around the perimeter.
Other than the trees there were no surviving gardens so the current owners started with a blank slate that had some hidden surprises: ruins from the earlier mansion that on occasion interfered with their plants. The stone walls on the property re-used these buried materials salvaged from underground. The secluded entrance terrace was the first garden room that was designed on the steep slope that descends to the house. The back terrace needed to be stabilized and slips of hydrangea petiolaris planted along the walls have grown into a living wall. As the property continues to slope downward grass and stone steps to the flatland were added, which led to creating another garden room at the rear of the property, with a trellis for climbing vines and a bench for sitting and looking up at the house, tall trees and sky. A swimming pool was built on the previous service area off to one side and surrounded by upper and lower gardens with tulips, roses, clematis, hydrangeas, grasses, perennials, evergreens, dawn redwoods and katsuras. Various hedges have been planted and re-planted either because they grew too tall or succumbed to weather. Currently there are hedges of holly, lilac, Annabelle hydrangea and germander.
Persons associated with the garden include: Russell and Shelby Thayer (former owners, 1950-1956); Marguerite Wood MacCoy (former owner, 1956-1985); Walter K. Durham (1896-1978) (architect, 1950); Sally Ann Wood (ASLD)(landscape designer, 1987, 1990); Julie Wood DeVuono (ASLD) (landscape architect, 2007).
The folder includes worksheets and photocopies of articles.
This property is featured in "A House in Bloom" by Doug Hall published in Better Homes & Gardens, March 2003 pp. 122-128; "Seven Months of Roses: Extending Rose Magic Throughout the Season" by Reggie and Frank Thomas published in Green Scene, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, April 2002, pp. 28-35; "Plants, Shrubs That Can Redeem August" by Jane G. Pepper published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 31, 2001; "Winning the War of the Roses: Growing this Garden Favorite Doesn't Have to be a Battle" by Mike McGrath published in Philadelphia Daily News, May 26, 2000; "More Roses that Aren't too Needy" by Jane G. Pepper published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1997