Famous and Noteworthy Philadelphia Lawns and Gardens

Philadelphia Lawns, Gardens

Philadelphia lawns, gardens: Italian Water Garden in Longwood Gardens

Italian Water Garden in Longwood Gardens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Greater Philadelphia area is host to some of the oldest most beautiful lawns and gardens in the nation. They are spread out across the city in a way that makes them easily accessible from most areas within the city limits. They are places of majestic beauty and expert landscaping abilities.

Bartram’s Garden

This famous garden is among the very few to be able to boast of a prehistoric location. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Native Americans occupied this region as far back as 3,000 B.C.

Philadelphia lawns, gardens: East facade of John Bartram House, Ba...

English: East facade of John Bartram House, Bartram’s Garden, Philadelphia, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They have uncovered various stone artifacts, fire-cracked rock, and flakes involved with making tools. You can see these things on display when you visit but only if you make an appointment ahead of time. Our group was able to make an appointment without any hitches.

The picturesque landscape gives visitors an insight into 18th century life. The Bartrams were Quakers and established this home and garden that lays alongside the Schuylkill River in the year 1728. John Bartram was an enthusiastic and revered botanist. According to the American Revolution Center this is where he put together his famous North American Plant species collection.

Chanticleer Garden

The Chanticleer estate has its roots in the early 20th century. At the time, land located along the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Main Line was being developed to make summer homes for escaping the searing Philadelphia heat.

It belonged to the Rosengartens. It was Mr. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., along with his wife Christine, who decided they would build their own personal country retreat in the Wayne-St. Davids area. The family had a pharmaceutical firm that would soon become a part of the now-famous Merck & Company during the 1920s.

For passionate lovers of the art of gardening the Chanticleer Gardens are something special. It has been said that people could drive right past without ever realizing what beautiful delights awaited them behind the iron gates. It is adored for its

  • Spectacular Planting Beds
  • Containers and Garden Rooms
  • Borders
  • Ruin Garden with Unique Reflecting Table
  • Woodland Glade
  • Lush Texture & Flower Combinations
  • Streamside Plantings
  • Luxurious Flower Beds

and much more. It is an absolute delight described by many as being “too wonderful to put into words.”

The gardeners were each responsible for their own section. They were required to take leading roles in the selection and the placement of plants and for maintaining the lawn. This resulted in incredible beauty combined with practicality.

Longwood Gardens

As with Bartram Garden the history of Longwood Gardens is steeped in Quaker Heritage. Huge numbers of people who were drawn into the Quaker movement gathered in this region of Philadelphia.  Among the most famous people to embrace Quakerism in the Philadelphia area was William Penn.

William Penn converted to the beliefs held by the Society of Friends which came as a shock to his upper-class associates. He made use of his wealth and influence to help protect and promote his fellow believers at a time when they suffered persecution.

You cannot mention Longwood Gardens without mentioning the Orchid Extravaganza. This is a blend of both horticulture and artistry. It showcases as many as 5,000 orchids in a beautiful display of artistic forms. It is a sight to behold for passionate flower lovers.

According to, orchids were actually one of the very first flower collections of Pierre S. du Pontand his wife Alice, the founders of Longwood Gardens. They first began developing orchids to place in their garden spots and out on the lawn. This is now celebrated every year in the form of the Orchid Extravaganza. It has been heralded as “beyond amazing.” This is most definitely something you have to see and experience with your own eyes. Longwood Gardens is truly amazing among Philadelphia lawns, gardens and seasonal showcases as well.

Philadelphia lawns, gardens: Longwood Gardens in Chester County, P...

English: Longwood Gardens in Chester County, Pennsylvania. From the website of the Federal Highway Administration, where they declare that it is public domain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia Zoo

This zoo operates in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Aside from an excellent collection of animals it also contains a 42-acre Victorian-style garden that houses more than 30,000 species of interesting plant life.

One of the most famous horticultural features at the zoo is the English Elm tree planted by John Penn. He is the grandson of William Penn and the Elm tree is at least 216 years old. There is also a collection of endangered American Chestnut trees along with a very rare Chinese Wingnut tree. The landscape design is expertly done creating accessibility, beautiful scenery, and practicality of design into the grounds.

Landscape design is truly an art-form. Arranging flower beds and shrubbery takes artistic talent and flair. As the saying goes ‘you never get a second chance for making a first impression’. That makes curb appeal a number one priority for your landscaping plans.

Brandywine River Museum

There are wildflower gardens surrounding this 19th century gristmill. They give off a glorious color display throughout the fall season. You can find many bird watchers mixed with history buffs walking among the beautiful landscaped scenery.

The Native Plant Garden found at Brandywine is a living testament to the mission of the Conservancy to share, protect, and preserve these historical natural resources. Each of the multi-colored flower beds reflects the heart of what the founders intended.

The designer of such beauty is a horticulturist by the name of FM Mooberry who started the designing in 1974. There are indigenous plants along with some that have been naturalized all coming from the Brandywine region and place into natural settings.

Ladybird Johnson herself dedicated this garden spot to Henry A. Thouron and Ford B. Draper who both played instrumental roles in establishing the Brandywine Conservancy (a nonprofit water and land conservation organization dedicated to the protection of natural resources in the Northern Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania areas).

After visiting these places you come to realize, as many already have, just how important landscaping is in beautifying the world around us.

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