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SIG Native Plant- New American Garden Tours
Donald Pell Gardens
104 Ridge Rd
Phoenixville, PA 19460
610-917-1385

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Friday, October 04, 2019, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST
Category: Events

Join us in visiting the private gardens of eminent landscape designer Donald Pell and two of his clients.  We will meet up at the Pell Studio site at 9 AM to carpool to two gardens, then return to the Studio Garden for its tour and a brown bag lunch .  If there is interest, we can then arrange to tour the Wharton Esherick Studio museum 15 minutes away, and make a stop at Yellow Springs Farm native plant nursery and artisanal cheese dairy.

Donald Pell is a rising star in landscape architecture.   Having grown up propagating plants in his parents’ nursery and hiking through remnant prairies, spontaneous hedgerows, and an abandoned nursery in his youth, Don became fascinated with all things horticulture. After working under landscape designer Susan Jones of Peter Zimmerman Architects, a journey into the world of design emerge.  The work of Roberto Burle Marx and Wolfgang Oehme led to his endless exploration of the artful garden. 

Don’s work consists of research into soils, plant communities, and planting design.  He is supported by his staff of horticulturalists and landscape architects. He has lectured for numerous associations including being a featured speaker for the Perennial Plant Association throughout the Eastern US, and a distinguished lecturer at Longwood Gardens.  His work has been featured by APLD designer of the year Carrie Preston of the Netherlands and Don’s own design studio’s gardens have been featured by the website Houzz, and more recently, won awards from PPA and APLD.  

The Pell studio garden surrounds the architecture of a 100 year old stone farmhouse with dramatic block plantings of perennials in a stylized evocation of the local natural landscape.  Plantings are selected for individual textures and color of flower and foliage in four seasons.

The Malvern garden
This colonial home was cut into an east facing slope, with its rear garden protected from the elevated topography to the west. This pleasant place surrounded by hillside was left unrealized with its woodland edge wild and untamed, linear shrubbery foundation plantings and views out of prominent windows with nothing to gaze upon but the ubiquitous suburban lawn.  The declining edge of the woodland above was unable to heal given the cut caused by a neighborhood sized storm water basin that had exposed surrounding trees to severe winds causing several of them too fail. 

To that effect the edge of the remaining woodland was planted with flowering understory trees to add layers of color to the spring landscape. The birds that frequent them bring color and movement to the garden all year long.  Plantings were sculpted into the hillside with grand blocks of cool and warm season grasses and vigorous perennials creating a sinuous edge to the upper perimeter of the garden. The lower slopes adjacent to the residence were planted with fine textured Carex divulsa, compact Monarda braduriana and drifts of emergent perennials and the sub shrub Perovskia ‘Little Spires’. Architectural Thalictrum roechbruneanum ‘Lavender Mist’  emerge through the radiant Molinia ‘Cordoba’. The lower and upper plantings leave a sinuous pathway of lawn between the plantings to entice exploration of the evolving textures and colors. The changes in light and the movement of herbaceous plants and their continual seasonal evolution make this a beautiful garden to explore and beloved by the staff of our design group.

 Royersford Garden
This 1800’s colonial home had been completely restored over 30 years but without a garden. A new garage was sited to help create a courtyard within close proximity to the guest entrance of the home. Hand cut salvaged fieldstone was used for the edging and paving in keeping with the vernacular of the period. A new upper retaining wall was built to mimic the original walls and to support a terrace with access from the kitchen and with borrowed views of a stream to the south. 
Native plants and cosmopolitan plants alike were used to evoke the regional landscape. Plantings were established to define and entice circulation of the garden, manage rain water, and immerse guests in artfully defined compositions of plantings that have been described by the owner as “walking through a symphony”.  Two species of native Symphytum and two species of native Liatris were added to the compositions in anticipation of generating some hybridization on site, adding to the excitement and long term viability of the garden.  

To register for this event, click here Registration is required.  No charge for the tour but carpooling is encourage.

Questions, contact:  [email protected]