Charles Cresson Gardens – Part 1

CCGardens-7 Let’s look at a garden that embraces a bit of the Pennsylvania wilderness, smack dab in a big city’s suburb of Swarthmore. I am starting back to front, following the last garden I have posted in the woods of Pennsylvania.

Charles-CressonI visited the garden of plantsman Charles Cresson (shown above) with Carolyn from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens last May. I was very taken with his knowledge of plants, but more enamored by the clever design of his property, especially of the many garden rooms that embrace Hedgleigh Spring. The water source gave the two acre gardens its name.


The back of the property is a nature lover’s paradise with the water of the creek heard falling, but not immediately seen until discovery. This is a design technique, executed perfectly here.

Cardinal-in-ConifersThere are lots of lush shade plants and an absolutely stunning pond garden (shown next post), all surrounded by large trees separating it from neighboring properties. Stone walls are throughout the gardens, creating grade changes throughout.

Have a look…you will be hooked.

Next on GWGT, that fantastic pond garden in May. I will follow with more of his ten garden rooms as we tour the property.

On Nature and Wildlife Pics, a photography post on Isolating the Subject in Photos – Insects. Take a look… The background is key, but there is one more tip that many don’t think to do.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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16 Responses to Charles Cresson Gardens – Part 1

  1. diggingher says:

    How do you make those little wigets?

  2. What a wonderful garden. A shade garden done well can be so supremely peaceful and beautiful, and this looks like it is done very well. What is that tall blue flower behind the Allium in picture 19?

  3. Great timing with the cardinal in the conifers. I see what you mean with the layers of grade changes. This is one of those gardens that looks so natural but is actually quite complicated and carefully planned. The stonework steps down to the stream are lovely.

  4. Gorgeous photos and fun to be back there in the warm weather. It really is an amazing garden.

  5. Bret Palmer says:

    Wow! Incredible garden and landscape. That’s a garden I could only dream of having.

  6. johnvic8 says:

    How inspirational. If I were younger I might even consider starting a new garden in such a place.

  7. Wow! Just amazing, and I can’t believe that there are 10 more garden areas at this place that you are going to share with us!

  8. An amazing garden. 😀

  9. bittster says:

    The shady wild section looks so restful, you did a nice job capturing that feel. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the pictures!
    Back in the 90’s I read an article in Horticulture magazine about this garden and I still remember it to this day, it seemed like an amazing work that carried through generations and made a big impression on me. Someone offered to take me there a few years ago and I could never work it into my schedule, so thanks for taking me there today!

  10. I agree; the designer has broken this garden into some very interesting and very gorgeous spaces…This should be on list to visit when I am in the area.

  11. debsgarden says:

    This is the type of garden that I admire the most and the kind from which I get inspiration for my own garden. I love the juxtaposition of water, stone, and beautiful plants. I am looking forward to your next post!

  12. Oh Donna what a special place and how lucky to have visited this garden(s)….can’t wait to see more.

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