Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden in Villanova Will Open Mother’s Day Weekend
MEDIA, Pa., February 28, 2018 – After two years of planning and planting, the Philadelphia region’s newest public garden is about to bloom! Natural Lands, the non-profit land conservation organization and owner of the property, announced today that Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden will open its gates Mother’s Day weekend, May 12 and 13, 2018.
“For two years, Stoneleigh has been undergoing a transformation from a beloved family home to a public garden with an emphasis on native plants,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands. “We are eager to share the results with the region and to add Stoneleigh to the rich tapestry of gardens in what is rightfully known as America’s Garden Capital.”
For nearly 80 years, Stoneleigh was the home of the Haas family, who donated the property to Natural Lands in 2016 so that it would remain preserved forever. Today, Stoneleigh—which bears the imprint of a number of notable landscape architects including the Olmsted Brothers, sons of the famed Frederick Law Olmsted—is a stunning reflection of more than a century of horticultural stewardship. It features extraordinary trees, sweeping vistas, and intimate garden spaces, which offer opportunities to explore, learn, relax, and be inspired.
“Since my first visit about 20 years ago, I have always loved Stoneleigh,” said Jane Pepper, a member of Natural Lands’ Board of Trustees and former president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. “The stately trees, the wide expanses of lawn, and the elegant architectural features make this a special place, and I’m so grateful to the Haas family for making it available for future generations to enjoy.”
Natural Lands, which has a 65-year history of caring for natural areas, will use Stoneleigh as a place to highlight the beauty and benefits of native plants. “Stoneleigh blends the aesthetic appeal of designed gardens with the wild beauty of the native plants that are essential to the health of our planet,” said Ethan Kauffman, director of Stoneleigh.
Opening weekend will feature a series of celebratory events. On May 12th, members of Natural Lands are invited to a Members-Only First Look from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. Members will enjoy a BYO picnic (with boxed picnics for pre-sale), stroll the gardens, and tour the Main House—a Tudor Revival mansion that was the Haas family home for three generations. This First Look event is free and exclusive to Natural Lands members. Registration is required.
On May 13th, Stoneleigh’s gates open to everyone for Stroll About: A Public Opening, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. During this Stroll About—a longtime tradition of the Haas family—guests can explore winding garden paths, absorb the beauty of spring, and be among the very first to enjoy Philadelphia’s newest public garden. The Stroll About is free and open to the public. Registration for timed entry is required.
Natural Lands members may purchase tickets to Afternoon Tea in the Main House on May 13th prepared and served by Birchtree Catering. Advance reservations are required for one of four seatings: 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, and 3:00 PM. Seats are limited and only open to Natural Lands members.
Natural Lands is dedicated to preserving and nurturing nature’s wonders while creating opportunities for joy and discovery in the outdoors for everyone. As the Greater Philadelphia region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization, Natural Lands has preserved more than 125,000 acres, including 44 nature preserves totaling more than 23,000 acres. Some 2.5 million people live within five miles of land under the organization’s protection. Land for life, nature for all. natlands.org.
For media inquiries and press tours prior to opening contact:
Mae Axelrod, Media Relations Manager
610-353-5587 ext. 400