United States

Azalea Garden

Created in 1952, this thematic garden located between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Boathouse Row was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to honor its 125th anniversary. It was donated afterward to the Fairmount Park Commission, and now comprises a portion of the Schuylkill Recreation Path which parallels the Schuylkill River in the heart of downtown.

The four-acre, fan-shaped garden was designed by landscape architect Frederick W.G. Peck, and features over 150 species of azaleas and rhododendrons planted in kidney-shaped planting beds adorned with colorful annuals and perennials, including irises, daffodils, crocuses and tulips. Gently curving paths transect a lawn shaded by oaks, magnolias, and sycamores. The mall leading to the museum is dotted with statues of American Revolutionary War soldiers, with the marble Fountain of Sea Horses, donated to the city in 1926, at its center.

In 1989, the landscape architecture firm of Shusterman & Steiger renovated the garden with guidance from consulting horticulturalists, including Fred C. Galle. Aging azaleas and rhododendrons were replaced with newer specimens as well as hydrangeas, hollies, stewartia, and crepe myrtles. A new entrance, featuring a pergola with a stone-seat wall and brick terrace, was built at the same time.

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