Kiftsgate Court Gardens: Three Generations of Women Gardeners

Kiftsgate Court Gardens: Three Generations of Women Gardeners

Photo: Sabina Rüber

Union League of Philadelphia

Mon, Oct 28, 2019
6:00 PM

In this illustrated talk, current owners Anne and Johnny Chambers will tell their personal tale of Kiftsgate Court's history and share their plans for the garden's future.

Kiftsgate Court is a family home and garden that has been loved and cultivated by the same family for over 100 years. Three generations of women gardeners have left their mark, each building on the family legacy.

When Jack and Heather Muir bought Kiftsgate in 1919, Heather laid out the garden without any horticultural training. Instead of a lawn, she planted semi-formal beds of roses and other flowers, a tapestry hedge with a mix of beech, yew, and plain and variegated holly, and a rose border full of unusual varieties. Heather’s aesthetic favored the Arts & Crafts Movement, emphasizing perennials and Mediterranean plants chosen for their adaptability, including drought tolerant cistus, spiky agaves, and other Mediterranean style plantings. She was encouraged by her friend and next-door neighbor at Hidcote, Lawrence Johnston, as well as Vita Sackville-West, who planted the famous Kiftsgate Rose at Sissinghurst.

Heather’s daughter, Diany Binny, continued the family gardening tradition during the 1950s. She designed paths, replanted borders with herbaceous plants, and re-fashioned the White Sunk Garden with a pool. Since the late 1980s, her daughter, Anne Chambers, and Anne's husband, Johnny, have cultivated Kiftsgate. They introduced plants that flower year-round and added a water garden, a woodland, a tulip tree avenue, and an orchard. 

Monday, October 28
6 p.m. Reception and book signing, followed by illustrated talk

The Union League of Philadelphia
140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

Reception and lecture only
$30 Royal Oak Foundation and Garden Conservancy members (use code GARDEN19 when registering)
$40 General admission
Reception, lecture, and dinner
$90 Members and non-members

To register, visit the Royal Oak website, or call Kayla Smith, 212.480.2889, ext. 201.