Twenty first century Philadelphia straddles its historical past and the future in a way that could only happen in America’s horticultural heart. William Penn originally envisioned the city as a utopian ‘Greene Country Towne’ and the legacy of that spirit exists today. For the casual garden traveler there is still much to be found, both old and new, in the city, as well as its outlying areas. The oldest parts of Philadelphia are architecturally interesting with glimpses of private gardens and its 18th century past.
Their beauty and eternal promise of growth and rejuvenation have made gardens natural spots for healing and reflection. For this special garden, healing became the primary focus. It was created for a couple who were mourning over the loss of their son, and needed a place where they could heal and meditate.
"Of the nearly 500 colonists living at Jamestown in the fall of 1609, only 60 remained by the spring of 1610. This period is remembered as "the starving time". The following year remaining colonists redoubled their efforts to grow enough food. They had only the seeds of English plants that were not well adapted to the heat of the Virginia summer.
Mural at Olive and Brown streets.Mural at Callowhill and 19th streets.
One of Philadelphia’s most unique characteristics has been created over the past thirty years via the Mural Arts. In every neighborhood, there are monumental and dramatic murals painted on sides of buildings that make the city an open air art festival free to all.
A view of Philip Johnson's Glass House, in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Persian walled gardens contain water features signature to the style, including two channels that intersect at a central basin. The four water elements symbolize the four rivers of paradise.
The first topiary sculptures were trimmed in 1st century Roman villas. By the 16th century, topiary had become an emblem of European landscape design, and it was embraced by colonial American gardens of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of these Victorian-era menageries still grows today at an historic country estate in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. With its century-old living sculptures, Green Animals Garden is the oldest topiary in the United States.
A few gardens go beyond mere beauty, with groundbreaking innovation that educates and delights us with the possibilities inherent in putting plants together. Wave Hill in Bronx, New York, is just such a garden.