Tyler Formal Gardens Layout

The courtyard terrace is framed by a stone wall with a central fountain, the orangery and the balustrade. It contains white oaks as well as espaliered pear trees consisting of four old-time varieties: ‘Bartlett’, ‘Comice’, ‘Moonglow’, and ‘Delicious’. Also in the courtyard are two Acer palmatum dissectum cultivars. 

A dramatic double staircase leads to the first terrace, which contains symmetrical “rooms” outlined with boxwood hedges. This terrace also features water fountains, bronze sculptures by Stella Tyler, and a marble bench, which was replaced in 2009 based on the original. Against the staircase wall, closest to the mansion, from left to right, are:

  • Hybrid Magnolia, Magnolia x loebneri ’Leonard Messel’
  • Southern Magnolia, Magolia grandiflora

On the other side of the staircase, left to right, are:

  • Holly tree with yellow fruit, Ilex opaca
  • Acer palmatum ‘Bonnie Berman’
  • Lilac tree

The small vine bed against the retaining wall on this side includes Passiflora incarnata, the Maypop passionflower, and Clematis. On both sides of this terrace, against the side walls are:

  • Tree peonies, Paeonia suffriticosa
  • Iris sibirica ‘Caesar’s Brother’
  • Native dogwoods (left) and Cornus kousa (right)

Hybrid yes, Taxus x media densiformis, line the sodded lawn and pathways. And the four “rooms” are framed by hybrid boxwoods, Buxus microphylla ‘Sunnyside’. The rectangular beds framed by boxwoods contain:

  • Coreopsis ‘Baby Sun’
  • Teucrium ‘Summer Sunshine’
  • Penstemon ‘Husker Red’
  • Eupatorium coelistinum ‘Cory’
  • Physotegia ‘Summer Snow’
  • Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantil ‘Goldsturm’
  • Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’
  • Perovskia atriplicofolia ‘Superba’

The planting beds inside the four “rooms” each contain:

  • Coreopsis ‘Crème Brulee’ and ‘Early Sunrise’
  • Salvia sylvestris ‘May Night’
  • Liatris spicata
  • Geranium ‘Roxanne’

The back of the first terrace is lined with holly, Ilex aquipernyi ‘Dragon Lady’.

Originally, the second terrace featured a swimming pool surrounded by lawn, gravel paths, and trees. In 1963, after the County of Bucks purchased 200 acres of the Tyler estate to establish a community college, the pool was filled in. In 2006, the lawn area was sodded. The raised beds on each side of the central staircase contain:  Holly, Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Prince’ and cherry laurel, Prunus x laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’. The side beds leading to the bathhouses include hydrangea and various perennial and annual plantings. 

The bed along the end retaining wall contain:

  • Sedums
  • Salvia sylvestris ‘Snow Hill’
  • Geranium ‘Rozanne Cranesbill’

The gazebo on this second terrace was added in 1998. Originally a gazebo stood outside the garden walls at the top of the hill overlooking Neshaminy Creek. Finally, the third terrace, now a grassy area, was the site of a clay tennis court enclosed by a stone wall and fencing. An additional grass court was also once part of the Tyler estate.

Image of Tyler Gardens Layout
Garden Layout Key

1 Pear espalier 6 Dogwood tree with Siberian Iris
2 Cedar planters: cherry and apricot trees 7 Tree peonies
3 Yew hedging 8 Statuary by Stella Elkins Tyler
4 Boxwood hedging with flower beds: 9 Memorial statue to Stella Elkins Tyler
  Daffodils and Salvia 10 Cherub fountain
  followed by Coreopsis and Grape Hyacinth 11 Arborvitae
5 Boxwood hedging with flower beds:
Daffodils followed by Daylilies