Step out of the hubbub of the city and step into the serenity of The Bower, a new native garden and sculpture park in Shermans Dale, Perry County.
bower (noun) 1. a pleasant shady place; 2. a retreat or sanctuary
Located in a 36 acres of meadow and woodland, The Bower is a sanctuary where art and native plants coexist and meet to live in harmony. The owners of The Bower envision the spot as a community-oriented, rural setting featuring woodlands, naturalized landscape, gardens, land art and large scale sculptures.
The owners have worked tirelessly to create this peaceful sanctuary.
The Bower team recently completed its first phase of development. The owners are excited to begin welcoming visitors, by appointment only, into the sanctuary beginning May 1st.
There is so much to see at The Bower:
Welcoming visitors through a stone arch, the lawn is one of the only open areas at The Bower. Planted and residential native gardens surround the lawn.
Over the course of 20 years, the 6 acre field constantly evolved into the native meadow seen today. The former hay field was only mown annually. As a result, native plants took over. The owners added in perennial grasses and forbs to enhance the meadow.
Near the fenced pool area, visitors will find a large, intensively planted native perennial garden. This garden surrounds the eastern and southern edge of the residence and transitions to the meadow. Raised bed vegetable gardens and berry patches share their space with native trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs.
Originally a forest, farmers cleared 6 acres to create a hay field. They had to remove large rocks from the cleared area which can now bee seen tumbled along the edge of the meadow and gathered into significant piles. Trees self-planted into these stones creating copses dotting the meadow.
Natural shrubs and mosses fill the eastern and southern woods edge. Diverse native evergreens, deciduous trees, and shrubs enhance the woods edge.
Trails allow visitors to walk through the 100-year-old forest filled with hardwoods and pines. The walk takes visitors through many micro-environments including a spring, shaded areas, and a dramatic talus area on the southern edge with vernal pools at its base. You’re likely to see a white tail deer roaming the area.
This area of the forest is new growth that developed in the past 20 years as trees encroached upon the un-mowed meadow. It is primarily fast growth forest “pioneer” trees, Scots Pine in one more disturbed area and Tulip Poplar and Aspen filling the area down the slope. Transitional trees, such as Sweet Birch and Oaks, are beginning their growth to create a more diverse long lasting forest mix.
Water runs throughout The Bower area including surface water which runs to the east and west from a “fall line.” There is a natural swale to the east while there is a series of pools in the northwest corner of the property.
As for the sculptures, ten artists contributed pieces to the 36 acre location. View sculptures and land art from various angles throughout the sanctuary.
To learn more about The Bower Native Garden and Sculpture Park, visit their website.
To view more content from Ashcombe, visit the Gardening Guides section of our website.