The land west of Philadelphia is full of old estates and farms whose dynasties of owners sometimes go back hundreds of years. Many humans have deeply loved and responsibly cared for their land, making the nature spirits feel comfortable about coming forward to also work with the land. The presence of the nature beings can be seen very clearly in images they place in the grand old trees of these properties.
Stoneleigh in Villanova, PA is one such estate. Like a good number of similar land treasures, this property is now under the ownership and care of the non-profit Natural Lands and is open to the public free of charge.
Tended by the Best of Landscape Architects
Over its history, the trees on this property have been cared for by some of the most prominent landscape architects of their time, and the variety and health of the trees attest to that loving attention. So does the presence of the nature beings on the property. I found an abundance of trees occupied by life forms who have felt welcomed and comfortable inter-relating and working with the human occupants of the land. These humans may not have been consciously aware of their presence – but the beautiful grounds are solid evidence of compatible work by beings on both sides of the veil that separate our realms. So, too, are the images the nature beings have placed in the trees. Shown here are just a few of the many beings I photographed on my recent outing to this garden.
65 Acres of Trees and Plants
Stoneleigh dates back to 1877, when 65 acres were acquired by Edmund Smith. He hired landscape gardener Charles H. Miller, who trained at Kew Gardens in England and later served as chief gardener for Fairmount Park, to fashion the gardens. In the 1900s the property was owned by Samuel Bodine, who worked continually on land transformation with the Olmsted Brothers of Massachusetts—sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, and the most prestigious landscape architecture firm in the country. In 1932 Otto Haas purchased part of the property; his descendants John Haas and wife Chara occupied the property from 1964 on. In 1996, John and Chara Haas placed the property under conservation easement with Natural Lands.
Today Natural Lands owns the property, which is currently 45 acres, and makes the grounds open to the public free of charge. The mansion houses the Organ Historical Society as well as a variety of programs. It is well worth a visit!