On either side of the River of Grasses, the extensive Perennial Gardens will feature a diverse plant palette of bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs in a variety of sunny and shady environments. Mowed paths will allow visitors to explore the flower beds and enjoy the seasonal changes in color and texture.
This garden will feature a “river” of ornamental grasses that billow and intertwine down the slope. Weaving through the grasses will be a dry stream, a carefully designed ribbon of gravel that “flows” around sculptural boulders. At intervals on the slope, rock slabs will bridge the stream.
The Meadow Garden will fill the slope that provides a view towards the distant Bald Eagle Ridge. Specimen shade trees will help to frame the vista. The upper part of this garden will feature naturalized bulbs and non-native perennials while the lower portion will display native perennials that grow in association with grasses.
The Shade and Woodland Garden will thematically explore the floristic similarity between temperate east Asia and the northeastern United States in a three-part progression from the Asian woods, through the Transition Woods, and into Penn’s Woods next to Big Hollow.
The Asian woods will feature the woodland plants of Japan, China, and Korea that are popular in ornamental landscapes in central Pennsylvania. Displays may include groves of Japanese maples, a carpet of wild flowers, hosta, and ferns, and shrub massings of hydrangeas and rhododendrons. Because of its use of rock and sculptural treatment of plants, the Asian Woods will offer year-round interest.
The Transitions Woods will enable visitors to compare American native plants with their Asian counterparts, such as trilliums, ferns, snakeroots, rhododendrons, and azaleas, hollies, and maples. Two small streams will work their way through this area, creating environments for moisture-loving plants.
Penn’s Woods will feature a forest floor filled with wildflowers and native ferns and icons of Pennsylvania woodlands such as the rosebay rhododendron and mountain-laurel. In one corner, a wet meadow will contain the sedges first identified by Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg, a renowned early Pennsylvania botanist. This meadow will be surrounded by pinxterbloom and sweet azaleas in the spring and winterberry fruit in the fall and winter.