Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Brandywine Cottage: a place to celebrate this day

This is one small piece of the 2-acre garden in Downingtown created by David Culp and Michael Alderfer. Now there are two old Pennsylvania names! And I can't think of a better place to spend such a beautiful day than in this inspired and interesting place. David has just written his first book; he is so wellknown, I thought he'd written several already. It's called The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage, from Timber Press, and once you see his garden, you understand the layered bit.

Brandywine Cottage: a place to celebrate this day

This is one small piece of the 2-acre garden in Downingtown created by David Culp and Michael Alderfer. Now there are two old Pennsylvania names! And I can't think of a better place to spend such a beautiful day than in this inspired and interesting place.  David has just written his first book; he is so wellknown, I thought he'd written several already. It's called The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage, from Timber Press, and once you see his garden, you understand the layered bit.

The concept is more nuanced than succession gardening, though that's hard enough for most gardeners. Here are his words: "More than just making sure one blooming plant follows another, layering is the art of creating a series of peak garden moments, the anticipation of which gets me out of bed in the morning."

David is an exuberant gardener and guide. You'll not find a more knowledgeable plantsman. It was a treat to spend three hours with him today. And guess what? As I got in the car to head back to the city (do I have to?), I said, "Are you going to work in the garden now?" He said no ... he would do other things first and save the garden work till the end of the day. "It's my reward," he said.

I need an attitude adjustment!

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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