On the grounds of a former estate outside of Philadelphia, a cadre of master gardeners presides over an oasis of earthly delights. We've put together some ideas—paired with photos—from Chanticleer that any home gardener can use to design their own spaces.
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The sporobolus hillside is covered in prairie dropseed. Each spring, green tufts of fine grasses arise out of charred mounds, an annual resurrection prompted by the carefully managed controlled burn. By late summer, the entire area will give up the fragrance of cilantro. How easy it would have been to clutter this hill; instead, the hot, dry, sloping site has been used to sublime effect.
Left: Heavy clay soil besets the hillside below the ruin. In selecting a grass to form a meadow, the gardeners chose the handsome native prairie dropseed Sporobolus heterolepis. The grass is burned in late winter, regenerating into dense mounds that remain lush in the hottest weeks of summer. By October, the grasses turn tan-orange in harmony with the perimeter trees.