United States of America, Pennsylvania, Montgomery, Villanova
Gardens of Red Rose (Villanova, Pennsylvania)
1911, 1985, 1998, 2010-2013
Native stone walls and sandstone steps from circa 1900 can be seen in some of the twelve distinct garden areas on this three and one-third acre property. The plant selections, sculptures and ornaments in each garden room provide four seasons of interest. Contoured paths and views connect the different rooms. At the entrance to the property there is a custom made hand-forged iron gate and hollies intended to keep deer away from the gardens. A substantial gravel court with a Vermont granite millstone in its center at the front of the house opens to a four-season garden with tulips, phlox and dianthus in the spring, blooming rock garden plants and pink azaleas in summer, asters and chrysanthemums in fall, and winter interest from yellow and red twig dogwoods and witch hazels. Across the courtyard the sandstone steps lead to the woodland garden that has a stepping stone path, rhododendrons, redbud, hosta, forget-me-nots, columbine and other shade perennials. The woodlands overlook the kidney-shaped swimming pool and its plantings including shrub roses, peonies, crepe myrtles, perennials and annuals along the surrounding rail fence. A red painted concrete giant pomegranate gives the name to the pomegranate garden which has Japanese maples, willow and gold spirea.
A sunken brick patio that was original to the property has child-sized wrought iron furniture, shaped cherry trees and a bronze fox sculpture. A fish pond has been added to another sunken area with an original fieldstone wall, with plantings that include hydrangea, skimmia and witch hazel. Nearby there is a fountain garden with a painted concrete mushroom tree with skimmia, mountain laurel and daffodils planted around this water source for birds. Next to the house there is the colorful inner view garden planted with hundreds of tulips and summer annuals in colors that complement the furnishings inside. A blue atlas cedar is espaliered on the house next to the rear patio; the bed across the patio includes smoke bush, viburnum, southern magnolia, hosta and ferns. A steeply sloping bank, known as the Red Rose Inn overlook garden, has a switchback path, native trees, daffodils and other native plants to encourage wildlife and birds. The garage and greenhouse outbuilding is used for orchids and over-wintering plants, with a perennial and annuals cutting garden that includes tree peonies, calla lilies and day lilies, shasta daisies, freesia and plumbago. A butterfly garden with a custom butterfly-shaped bench includes hosta, milkweed, allium, asters and catmint.
The Gardens of Red Rose has been designated a bird habitat by Audubon at Home, with many bird feeders, the watering fountain, native plants in the hillside overlook garden, and deer fencing that encourage visiting birds and small wildlife. The Garden Conservancy, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the centennial celebration of the Garden Club of America have toured this garden.
Persons associated with the garden include Mr. and Mrs. J. Kearsley Mitchell (former owners, 1911-1959); Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wheeler (former owners, 1955-1966); Mr. and Mrs. Chiswell Perkins (former owners, 1966-1978); Walter K. Durham (1886-1978)(architect, 1955); Philip Lederach (architect, 1988-1999); Tara Kolff Shehab (architect, 2006); Andrea Hallmark (landscape designer); Holly Days Nursery.
The folder includes worksheets, plant lists, list of pieces and sculptures with names of sculptors and historical information.