While reading the December, 1885 issue of Gardeners’ Monthly, I came across a story and illustration about the home of George W. Childs, publisher of the Philadelphia newspaper Public Ledger. He called his estate Wootton.
The estate included a two-story home high on a grassy hill. Childs named the property after one of the seats of the Duke of Buckingham in England.
The Duke had entertained Childs and his wife on a visit.
Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan, editor of GM, wrote in that issue: “The landscape beauties of the spot made a great impression on the honored guests, and it was a nice tribute to the hospitality of the entertainers that Mr. Childs should buy and name a country place in memory of the good time enjoyed in the old world.”
Notice the elements of the English style garden in Wootton. You see the lawn, of course, but also a curved road and groupings of trees and shrubs. Two urns sit at the bottom of the entrance stairway to the front door, and two more urns also at the top. The urns are filled with tropical plants which was a garden element loved by Victorian gardeners.
Meehan made the point in his article that this landscape was installed in 1880 so the plants, at the front of the house, had not filled in yet.
He did however include the story and illustration as an example of American landscape gardening at its best.