Gardens of a Philadelphia Townhouse

I am Rich from Philadelphia. I am sharing some images from the gardens of our 1812 Federal-style townhouse. There is a front yard, which is located in the middle of a 10-plus block business district, and a “backyard,” most of which runs parallel to our home. I have endeavored to create a series of garden rooms that best match the light conditions of each area. The publicly viewable front yard includes a white-and-silver-themed perennial shade garden as well as a vibrant bed of rotating annuals. The backyard includes a formal courtyard with a triangular-shaped boxwood border, a perennial border, and a kitchen garden. Multiple water features and a diversity of shrubs, trees, and other plantings and accents contribute to a serene scene for birds, pollinators, and humans.

White and purple tulips mix with emerging shade perennialsWhite and purple tulips mix with emerging shade perennials in front of a Belgian fence of English ivy (Hedera helix, Zones 5–9).

silver and white-themed shade gardenThe white and purple tulips give way to a silver-and-white-themed shade garden that includes goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus, Zones 3–8), bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis, Zones 2–7), brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla, Zones 3–8), lambs’ ears (Stachys byzantina, Zones 4–8), geraniums (Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Zones 5–8), Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9), and hostas (Hosta hybrids, Zones 3–9).

garden bed with tropical plantsOnce the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths fade, I transition the other side of the front yard to tropicals, which thrive in Philadelphia’s hot, humid summers.

small boxwoods surrounding tulipsA highlight of the backyard courtyard is the triangular boxwood border, seen here with Greigii tulips.

a mourning dove at a garden fountainA mourning dove has a drink at the courtyard fountain.

flowering trees and shrubs in a courtyardStandard lilacs (Syringa pubescens, Zones 4–7), deciduous azalea (Rhododendron hybrid), and boxwood (Buxus sp.) topiaries in the courtyard garden.

Right outside of our kitchen are four raised beds that are laid out in front of the garden shed. The main vegetables I grow are tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, and the main herbs I grow are basil, parsley, rosemary, chives, and thyme. I have also grown carrots, radishes, lettuce, Swiss chard, pole and bush beans, garlic, and oregano.

raised beds next to a fenced garden bedTo the left of the raised beds is a full-sun flower bed that includes Coreopsis, liatris (Liatris spicata, Zones 3–9), yarrow (Achillea millifolium, Zones 3–9), Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia, Zones 5–9), daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids, Zones 4–9), Echinacea, and garden phlox (Phlox davidii, Zones 3–8). Four ‘Degroot’s Spire’ arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroot’s Spire’, Zones 3–8) separate the courtyard from the raised beds.

garden bench plantersAt the back of the house is a quiet, relaxing seating area with raised planters, a fountain, and apple trees.

You can view more images on my Instagram page at @phillygarden


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