Capitol Hill Garden Club In Washington, D.C., Since 1952

High Glen Gardens

May 20, 2016 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

High Glen Gardens Visit




Peter Couchman, Executive Director at High Glen Gardens, led a group of garden club members on a tour of this beautiful private property near Frederick at the base of the Catoctin mountain on May 20. 


The 64 acre parcel was purchased by the owners initially for development into a residential and commercial property, but a fateful picnic on the grounds one afternoon their plans and they decided to build a home there. In 2005 the home, inspired by their European travels, was completed. Four acres of formal gardens, designed by McHale Landscape Design of Annapolis, were installed in 2008. Then, in 2013, the owners hired Rodney Anderson Summers, Inc. Landscape Architects, a Delaware firm that had worked on Longwood, the Nemours Mansion and Hillwood, to create a master plan for eventual conversion into a public garden. 


We toured the early planting of 5 acres around the house and pool and saw the division of the property into garden rooms with the clever pruning of trees – European birch and American Hornbeam -- by pleaching to encourage them to grow into hedges. 


Around the back of the home is a beautiful perennial boarder inspired by Hampton Court in England and an Ellipse Garden, inspired by Dumbarton Oaks. One of the most unusual features is a bocce ball court with a raked Japanese stone garden. We all loved the Summer House, which is the “nerve center” for entertaining at High Glen Garden. The structure is made from recycled materials from two demolished barns in Frederick County, and is designed to look like an old Italian villa. The surrounding gardens are Mediterranean in feel, but also include materials from the American southwest and scented plants – thyme lavender, and agastache. The color scheme is silver and white that “pop” in early summer evenings. 


Approximately 25 acres of new gardens are under development (a Grand Allee entrance, a Woodland, and an Earth Sculpture), and about 30 acres of fields are awaiting future garden development. Because the property had been a dairy farm, lots of work is required. Peter told us about the poor condition of the soil and their use of cover crops to add needed nitrogen. Trees are being planted at a rapid rate and other outdoor structures are in the process of construction to provide architectural interest. Still to come is a belvedere. Currently, tours are limited to garden clubs and other kindred spirits. But, eventually, High Glen Garden will be open to the public and will give us a local rival to Chanticleer. 


Progress on the garden and pictures can be found at www.facebook.com/HighGlenGardens. 


After eating our picnic lunches in the barn, we stopped by Surreybrooke Gardens and Nursery. This property was also a dairy farm. The owners still live there and farm part of it, but the main feature is a nursery which started as an herb farm in the 1970s. Now, a pavilion, which can be rented for weddings and other events, and a much larger garden center greet visitors. A number of demonstration garden showcase plants that are offered for sale. Of course we took advantage of the wide variety of plants, unique pottery and garden ornaments for sale. 


What a joy to have had the opportunity to visit these gardens on a sunny day during a week of almost constant rain.


Submitted By:  Lorraine Fishback



















Peter Couchman, Executive Director at High Glen Gardens, led a group of garden club members on a tour of this beautiful private property near Frederick at the base of the Catoctin mountain on May 20. 


The 64 acre parcel was purchased by the owners initially for development into a residential and commercial property, but a fateful picnic on the grounds one afternoon their plans and they decided to build a home there. In 2005 the home, inspired by their European travels, was completed. Four acres of formal gardens, designed by McHale Landscape Design of Annapolis, were installed in 2008. Then, in 2013, the owners hired Rodney Anderson Summers, Inc. Landscape Architects, a Delaware firm that had worked on Longwood, the Nemours Mansion and Hillwood, to create a master plan for eventual conversion into a public garden. 


We toured the early planting of 5 acres around the house and pool and saw the division of the property into garden rooms with the clever pruning of trees – European birch and American Hornbeam -- by pleaching to encourage them to grow into hedges. 


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