An added bonus was they were all clustered in Bryn Mawr, Villanova and Haverford so travel time was at a minimum. The properties showcased included a vast old estate in Villanova with a baseball diamond and paddocks; a contemporary mansion on a couple of acres of land with an infinity pool and stone logia; and a wonderful and a truly secret garden in the center of Bryn Mawr - once the 18th century carriage house of the Humphrey's estate the owner fit a "petenque" court, a formal boxwood garden with a fish pond centerpiece, a potagery with raised vegetable beds and fruit trees as well as an outdoor dining area under four espaliered plane trees and an outdoor kitchen into a relatively tiny space. Although the smallest garden on the tour it was one of the most horticulturally interesting ones.
Other gardens included a historic Tudor home designed by famed local architect William Price for Louis Clarke, a brilliant innovator who co-founded the Autocar company in Ardmore with fabulous mature red and white azaleas lining the driveway and an interesting rain garden that spilled into the neighbors gardens and was maintained without regard to property lines in the interest of water management.
One of the few properties actually designed and tended by the owners was created from the ruins of Cheswold (the Alexander Cassatt Mansion). The front terrace wall was created with stones salvaged from the ruined mansion, a succulent wreath I could only dream of creating graced the front door and a series of seamlessly flowing garden rooms surrounded the cottage-style house with drifts of tulips on their way out, and a clematis montana framing a bench at the bottom of the garden.
The final house on the tour was a traditional 1920s stone colonial on Golf House Rd in Haverford. The preserved mature landscaping blended well with a variety of more recently planted hydrangeas and roses and a pool with formal lines and manicured lawn that contrasted fantastically with stone paths that were informally inter-planted with sedum, thyme and ajuga. There was a fabulous poolhouse, spacious terraces for entertaining and a recently installed herb and vegetable garden with grass steps leading to a BBQ area.