The Andorra Garden of Mr. and Mrs. George Q. Nichols (Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania)
United States of America -- Pennsylvania -- Montgomery County -- Lafayette Hill
Scope and Contents:
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles, plant lists, and other information.
Set in a tree-filled valley The Andorra Garden of Mr. and Mrs. George Q Nichols was inspired by English cottage gardens, with an antique stone barn and stone walls as well a formal courtyard created by landscape designer Frederick Peck in the 1950s. The property comprises five acres that once were part of a tree farm and benefits from the remaining mature trees. The recent owners concentrated on growing flowering shrubs, perennials and annuals including New Dawn and Madam Alfred Carriere climbing roses, tree peonies, clematis, climbing and bush hydrangea, Oriental poppies, delphinium, acanthus, hollyhocks, columbines, and foxgloves. Flower arrangements filled the house and were entered into competition at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The design of the garden included flowering borders along axial gravel paths that led between the barn and the house with large swaths of lawn. Borders with roses, clematis and honeysuckle growing up trellises were planted on either side of the eight-foot high stucco walls that enclose the garden. Three arched entries into the old barn are echoed in an antique arch over a doorway in the walls, and in an enormous mirror mounted on the house. The formal courtyard near the house includes a restored octagonal garden bed with a fountain in the center. The stone fireplace from the original kitchen outbuilding is nearby.
Flowers in darker shades of maroon, brown and black were featured in the garden to provide contrast and definition to the spaces. Antique stone benches and wrought iron pieces were featured. A sculpture created from a hoe, rakes, a shovel, watering can, bucket, scythe and other tools mounted on the side of the barn commemorates all the work that went into this garden, and the ones that preceded it.
The area was settled in 1700s by Swiss German farmers and the original farmhouse and barn were built circa 1750. In 1850 Richard Wistar bought the property and named it Andorra Farm. He planted many trees and intended to build a mansion on his estate but died in 1863. In 1882 the property was purchased for further development by Henry Howard Houston and a tree farm was established, later owned and run by the nurseryman William Warner Harper. Although much of the surrounded acreage was sold and developed for housing the Houston family retained ownership of part of the original property. A granddaughter of Henry Houston, Eleanor Houston Smith and her husband Lawrence Smith, donated 100 acres in the 1970s to Fairmount Park. It is now the Wissahickon Environmental Center, and its visitors' center is in a nurseryman's cottage that was built around a sycamore tree although that tree is no longer standing.
Persons associated with the garden include Richard Wistar (former owner, 1850-1863); Henry Howard Houston and family (former owners, beginning in 1882); William Warner Harper (nurseryman and former owner of Andorra Tree Farm, 1920-1934); Lukens family (former owners, beginning in 1929); George and Audrey Nichols (former owners, 1976-2008); Frederick Peck (landscape designer, 1950's).
The Andorra Garden of Mr. and Mrs. George Q. Nichols related holdings consist of 1 folder (16 35mm slides (photographs))
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