Private Garden Paradises Open to the Public Saturday, July 12th

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Three Privately-Owned Buck's County Gardens Open Their Doors to the Public through The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program

On Saturday, July 12, 2008, Philadelphia garden enthusiasts will have a rare chance to tour four of Bucks County's most exquisite private gardens. Through the Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program, the gardens will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fordhook Farm (105 New Britain Road, Doylestown), the original estate of W. Atlee Burpee and now the trial gardens for Burpee and Heronswood Nursery plant introductions, is open only for the second time this year. The theme at Forhook in July is hydrangeas and the first 250 visitors will receive a rare hydrangea free to celebrate the season.

While at the farm, visitors can enjoy guided tours offered by Heronswood and Burpee's insightful staff horticulturists and gardeners. Visitors can also shop for rare Heronswood hydrangea varieties via an on-site plant sale or they can explore Fordhook's sun, shade and kitchen gardens at their own pace.

There are three additional extraordinary private gardens on tour that day including the van Dyke/Reynolds Garden (330 Linden Avenue, Doylestown) designed by local landscape architect Carter van Dyke. This all-season garden is divided into several distinct rooms dictated by the unusual shape of the yard. Two formal axes give structure to the design, a kitchen garden contains raised beds, a warm hue garden surrounds a small pond, and spring flowering perennials highlight the space between the library and side yard.

At Hortulus Farm (60 Thompson Mill Road, Wrightstown), the owners have shaped their 100 acres to respect the integrity of the farm's historical significance and the natural landscape. The occasional whimsical or formal statement can also be seen. Highlights include woods and pasture, shrubs and naturalized perennial plantings in the stream and woodland gardens, formal borders, follies, gazebos, and sizeable herb and vegetable gardens.

Jon Carloftis' garden (105 Geigel Hill Road, Erwinna) has been featured in Cottage Living and Garden Design and is a wonderful example of how gardeners can make the most of a small space. The garden includes an allée of pear trees flanking an English-style border, and a raw cedar treehouse.

Admission to each private garden is $5, Open Days are rain or shine, and no reservations are required. Call 1-888-842-2442, or visit http://www.opendaysprogram.org for more information.

Burpee is the National Presenting Sponsor of the Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program. Through their support, the Garden Conservancy opens hundreds of private gardens across America. All visitors to Fordhook Farm will also receive a copy of The Open Days Directory, a 300-page soft-covered book that includes detailed driving directions and vivid descriptions written by their owners, compliments of Burpee.

W. Atlee Burpee & Co. is America's most trusted name in gardening for 125 years, providing seeds, plants, gardening supplies, and accessories for the home gardener. The Open Days Program is also pleased to have Fine Gardening Magazine as its National Media Sponsor. Fine Gardening is published bimonthly by The Taunton Press, a trusted source of information and inspiration on house and home.

The Garden Conservancy launched the Open Days Program in 1995 to introduce the public to gardening, provide easy access to outstanding examples of design and horticultural practice, and prove that exceptional American gardens are still being created. The Open Days Program is America's only national private garden-visiting program, and is made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers nationwide. Visit the Garden Conservancy and its Open Days Program online at http://www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays.

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Kristin Grilli