The Bower

The Mountains

The Design

The Wildlife

The Landscape

Our landscape consists of a six acre long-lived open meadow embraced by a 30 acre woodland untouched since early in the twentieth century. Our vision is to sensitively renew, enhance and diversify the meadow with persistent stewardship and new plantings. Sculptures provide structure, contrast and focal points within the landscape and helps start conversations about our place in the Appalachians and the processes that occur within the landscape.

In 2019, landscape architecture firm Oehme, Van Sweden (OvS) of Washington D.C. created a conceptual master plan for The Bower saturated with a strong sense of place and natural history and processes. Design work in 2020 by Larry Weaner Landscape Associates developed our horticulture plan focused on creating a seamless horticultural gradient from curated native plant gardens to diversified open meadow spaces and wild forest lands.

Each landscaped area is planned to complement the whole and is designed to enhance, but not replace, the long-lived native meadow and woodland. Paths throughout the open areas and tall stand forest provide our visitors with the opportunity to encounter flora, fauna and unique geologic features of the Pennsylvania Appalachian Mountain region.



The Bower

The Plantings

Starting in 2020, we partnered with Larry Weaner Landscape Associates of Glenside, PA to implement the landscape horticultural design.  The planting plan is depicted in the image above. Planting lists can be referenced here and via the link below. The resulting gardens, meadow drifts, and accents will mature and continue to develop over the next 3-5 years. Over 200 species of native trees, shrubs, forbs, and grasses are on display at The Bower, placed by wind, birds, animals, and humans.  While the recently introduced plants are native to North America, they are in some cases indigenous to other regions of the east coast. For general information on native plants and how they support biodiversity, click here  or on the RESOURCES link below.

Garden spaces and meadows display plantings which delight bees, birds, butterflies, praying mantis, and people.  Native plantings have been selected that thrive without extra care, are generally deer resistant, and provide food and habitat for local insects and wildlife. Mowed lawn is kept to a minimum.  Organic fertilizers and pest control methods are used exclusively. Grass clippings, leaves, and other biomass from the property are composted on site or left to provide habitat for wildlife.




The Landscape Features

The Lawn

Through the arched stone wall entry is the lawn area where groups can gather, surrounded by native plantings and meadows, woods edge, and the forest.

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The Meadow

A large native meadow encompasses the six acre open area of The Bower, providing habitat for pollinators, birds, and other creatures. Drifts of native perennials have been added to enhance the naturally existing meadow forbs and grasses.

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The Gardens

Garden beds throughout the landscape are planted with native species of flowering trees and shrubs, forbs, and grasses demonstrating native plant landscaping opportunities and allowing visitors to witness close up pollinator activities.

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The Copses

Copses of trees dot the meadow forming shady "bowers", with varied tree species and unique features.

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The Woods Edge

The transition from meadow to woods or savanna is a partially shaded plant community of small trees, shrubs, forbs, ferns, and mosses.

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The Forest

Trails throughout the thirty acres of forest take visitors through a diversity of forest species and settings.

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The Pioneer Forest

When a meadow is left undisturbed for many years, it will return to its natural state, the forest, with fast growth species as the "pioneers".

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The Wetlands

Dotted within The Bower are a variety of small natural and constructed wetland habitats that can be found as one traverses The Pools and the base of the escarpment in the forest.

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bower (noun) 1. a pleasant shady place; 2. a retreat or sanctuary