Jessica Allen
Jessica Allen
Cattails + Cobwebs
The very nature of the garden is such that it encourages observation, invites contemplation. At its best, the garden is a celebration of human community, of place, and of the interrelationship of all living things. It is one of the simplest paths to daily satisfaction, and one of the steadiest for achieving a true harmony with nature.
— Rick Darke, In Harmony with Nature : Lessons from the Arts & Crafts Garden (2000)

Two Gates is our family's private property in the Lebanon Valley of South-Central Pennsylvania. The house, built in 1929, is a brick double-walled, slate-roofed traditional foursquare design (popular during the mid-1890s to the late-1930s). Influenced by Prairie School and Craftsman styles of the time, our two-story home was constructed using local materials and features built-ins and other historic amenities.     

We are responsible for considerable changes to the 6,686 square foot property since we purchased it in 2003.  The home now appears to spring from the flower beds surrounding it, seamlessly blending house and garden. Consisting of layered-beds filled with North American native species and cottage-style plants and flowers, the present-day design pays homage to the time period during which the home was constructed.

Large or small, [the garden] should look both orderly and rich. It should be well fenced from the outside world. It should by no means imitate either the wilfulness or wildness of Nature, but should in fact look like part of a house.
— William Morris, Making the Best of It (1879)

Our property has been carefully designed in sympathy with its setting: a highly traveled, commercially developed spur route. Surrounded by a mix of private residences and commercial businesses, we have taken care to create privacy. Planting shrubs and trees to create the "walls," we have separated our garden into "rooms" connected by grass paths. Trellises supporting scrambling vines reduce the ambient light created by lampposts plus, fencing and gates affirm permanent boundaries.    

When photographing our property I pay special attention to
relationships between the flora, fauna & fungi
with whom I share my habitat…celebrating every season.

Recognized as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat as well as a Penn State Extension Master Gardener Certified Pollinator Friendly Garden, and a Manada Conservancy-certified Habitat for All, our garden is home to a variety of plant & animal species.