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Innovation & Growth Initiative: Montgomery County Benchmark
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Lovingly designed and created by J. Liddon Pennock, Jr. (1913-2003), Meadowbrook Farm remains his garden legacy. Meadowbrook Farm sits on 25 acres in the suburbs to the north of Philadelphia in Abington Township. Eighteen of those acres are lightly-managed second growth woods. The remaining seven acres contain the private house, display gardens, and garden center. The original parcel of 150 acres, the house, and its furnishings were given to Liddon and his wife, Alice Herkness (1915-1996), as a wedding gift by her parents in 1936. (It really was a farm back then). The house was designed in the English Cotswolds style by architect Robert McGoodwin. The house and private gardens can be toured by arrangement.
From his early entry into the florist business to the decades spent perfecting the gardens that surround his home, Liddon was a constant figure in floral and horticultural design in the Delaware Valley and beyond. Liddon and Alice were also a fixture of the Philadelphia social scene for decades.
Meadowbrook Farm allowed Liddon to hone his gift for garden design and he spent decades perfecting the gardens on the property. The resulting series of gardens has been featured in many books and magazines. After retiring from the florist business in the early 1970s, he turned his talents to creating the retail greenhouse at Meadowbrook Farm in order to share his love of horticulture and horticultural design with a new audience. On July 24, 2003, Liddon passed away peacefully at his home. At his bequest, Meadowbrook Farm became a non-profit affiliate of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in April, 2004.
Conveniently located on Washington Lane at Meadowbrook Road in Abington Township, Meadowbrook Farm is a grand estate featuring a retail nursery, gardens and more. Among its many offerings you'll find outstanding garden plants, flowering baskets, trees and shrubs, and one-of-a-kind specimen plants. There’s also a beautiful gift shop and greenhouse filled with traditional and exotic houseplants, glassware, jewelry, vases, statuary and seasonal adornments. The Farm is open year ’round Monday through Saturday (and Sundays in spring). Experienced staff. Free parking.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS)
In April 2004, the PHS Council opened a new chapter in PHS history when it voted unanimously to accept the bequest of J. Liddon Pennock, Jr., leaving part of his estate, including Meadowbrook Farm, to PHS. HHHHH Since then Meadowbrook Farm has operated as a separate nonprofit organization under the guidance of the PHS Meadowbrook Committee. As before, Meadowbrook continues to force plants for the Philadelphia Flower Show, in addition to running its retail nursery and gift shop.
Members of PHS enjoy 10 percent off non-sale plant purchases at Meadowbrook Farm, along with many other benefits, including free tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show and a subscription to the award-winning Green Scene gardening magazine.
If you visit Meadowbrook Farm in early January, it looks like a calm, relaxing place. The mad rush of the holidays is over, our gift shop is preparing for spring, and our outside areas are peacefully tucked in for the winter. In reality, winter is quite an active time at Meadowbrook, as we grow plants by the thousands for exhibition in the Flower Show known the world-over.
Philadelphia International Flower Show
In the greenhouses, away from the public eye, they are busy "forcing" plants for the Flower Show in March. They begin the summer before the Show by selecting and acquiring needed plant material for our display and those of nearly 40 other groups and garden club exhibitors.
Throughout fall, PHS sows seeds for annuals and place perennial plants in a cool room to induce an artificial winter. The forcing process depends on precise combinations of temperature, light, fertilizer, and hands-on care. The end result is thousands of summer plants blooming in winter.
Their exhibits at the Flower Show allow PHS to showcase some of the plants that Meadowbrook Farms offers for sale. When you see a plant you just "have to have" at the Show, look for it at Meadowbrook Farm in the spring and summer. Bring the beauty of the Flower Show home to your garden.
Sources and References:
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Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
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