February 15, 2022
My detour to Paxson Hill Farm‘s beautiful and imaginative gardens in New Hope, Pennsylvania, proved to be a highlight of my big road trip last October. Here’s Part 3 of my tour. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.
Railroad tie path
Leaving the hobbit house (see Part 2), I followed the path past grasses and a Japanese maple that was just turning orangey red with the changing seasons.
The juncture of two paths provided an opportunity for creative paving, with railroad ties adding a beachy boardwalk feel.
Looking left I saw the crossroads again (first shown in Part 1) — a circular lawn from which 6 or 7 garden paths branch like spokes on a wheel.
The kinetic sculpture by Jeff Kahn is called Naked Alien. But I’m here for those gorgeous phormium planters.
Each one is jam-packed with a sunset-hued phormium, ‘Sticks on Fire’ euphorbia, yellow bulbine, silver ponyfoot, fishhooks senecio maybe, and pink pelargonium. And maybe a pink kangaroo paws sticking out on the left side?
From the crossroads, here’s how the path entrance looks, with the planters serving as a gateway. This was the path I found most enticing in Part 1, and now we’re going to explore it.
Angels are singing, right? Let’s go!
Aaaaand let’s stop and look.
…and chocolate cosmos and orange lantana, oh my.
Gleaming blackberry lily seed clusters
Which way to go? Also, are these the tidiest paths ever, or what? This was near the end of the day, mind you, and there’s not one fallen leaf on the paths. How??
Now we’re back to the railroad tie path that I showed at the top of this post. Another phormium combo in a red pot echoes the rich hue of Japanese blood grass tracing the curving walk.
It’s a gorgeous container, and it marks a gap in the path that allows water to pass through.
Water plays a big role in the Bridge Garden, named for a black, arching, Asian-style bridge that spans a cascading waterfall.
Blood grass lapping at the boardwalk path reminds me of a flowing stream as well.
But this clumping grass is my favorite: ‘Moudry’ black pennisetum, especially paired with the bigger bottlebrush foliage of pines.
Isn’t it wonderful? Now I’m googling if ‘Moudry’ grows well in Austin…
The railroad tie path steps up to a small deck…
…with black motel chairs overlooking a pond and the black bridge.
A beautiful scene
Back to those pennisetums though
I can’t get enough of these fuzzy, charcoal-mauve bottlebrush plumes. Paired with chocolate-pink phormiums and a burgundy shrub, plus forest-green yews, they’re moody perfection.
And I mean, look at this: fastigiate plum yews, blue-potted phormiums, and black pennisetum. I don’t know the small, dark-green plant in the foreground, but it adds wonderful texture and hits the right color notes too.
Black sweet potato vine makes the perfect spiller for the turquoise pot. And no, my fellow Central Texans, I don’t think we can have phormium. Blame our Gulf Coast humidity and steamy summer nights, which also melt away our kangaroo paws dreams.
Let’s admire this entire combo — with giant miscanthus grass flowering in the background — one last time.
The garden is alive with the movement of grasses in autumn finery.
More pennisetum bottlebrushes
Alternating patches of dark- and light-flowering grasses, with the dark, sinuous trunks of a weepy tree
In the back corner of the garden, I found a hedge maze. I wandered for a minute or two, but, worried I was running out of time before the garden closed, and fearing I’d get lost in there, I turned back. Completionist that I am, I wish I’d had time to fully explore it.
A small rock garden lies between the maze and a shade garden.
Shade-loving hostas crowd the gravel path, immersing you in lushness. A stream cuts the path, crossed by a stone plank bridge.
The stream originates from a small pool with a low, bubbling fountain that creates the illusion of a rocky spring.
The water flows into the pond with the black bridge.
A closer view
Koi meander in the pond, which is overhung by the red skirt of a sprawling Japanese maple.
The fall color was just getting going in mid-October. I imagine late October or early November must be when it peaks.
The wandering paths invite you to lose yourself in the garden.
Notice how the perimeter is screened with dense foliage, hiding what must be open fields or houses beyond.
A contemplative space
Another beautiful view, with some real fall color
Same scene, different angle
Japanese forest grass flows along the path’s edge.
Being a shade garden, the woodland is less showy than sunnier spaces. But its peaceful greenery accented with Asian garden sculpture feels tranquil and lovely.
Pale pink Japanese anemones host a tiny crab spider lying in wait.
And one final vignette from the lovely gardens of Paxson Hill Farm.
Up next: Chanticleer Garden, one of the most exciting and creative public gardens anywhere. For a look back at Part 2 of Paxson Hill Farm click here, and for Part 1 click here.
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