Tyler Formal Gardens Layout
The courtyard terrace is framed by a stone wall with a central fountain, the orangery, mansion, and balustrade. It contains a white oak 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 Elkins 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 yews, Taxus x media densiformis, line the sodded lawn and gravel pathways. And the four “rooms” are framed by hybrid boxwoods, Buxus microphylla ‘Sunnyside’. The rectangular beds framed by boxwoods contain:
- Buddleia davidii 'Adokeep'
- Coreopsis ‘Baby Sun’
- Perovskia atriplicifolia
- Penstemon ‘Husker Red’
- Eupatorium coelistinum ‘Cory’
- Physotegia ‘Summer Snow’
- Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’
- Perovskia atriplicofolia ‘Superba’
The planting beds inside the four “rooms” each contain:
- Coreopsis ‘Baby Sun’
- Salvia sylvestris ‘May Night’
- Liatris spicata 'Kobold'
The back of the first terrace is lined with holly, Ilex aquipernyi ‘Dragon Lady’. And each corner features a Hydrangea paniculata 'Phantom'.
Originally, the second terrace featured a swimming pool. In 1963, after the County of Bucks purchased 200 acres of the Tyler estate to establish a community college, the pool was filled in.
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’
The replica gazebo on the second terrace was added in 1998. Originally a gazebo stood outside the garden walls at the top of the hill overlooking Neshaminy Creek.
The third terrace 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.