Natural Lands, the Media-based nonprofit, has opened its latest acquisition, Stoneleigh Gardens in Villanova, to the public, writes Kimberly Haas for WHYY.
Natural Lands, which has worked on preserving open space in the region for more than six decades, recently welcomed visitors to the former estate of the Haas family.
The property “has a long history of being the palette of some famous landscape architects,” said Kirsten Werner, Natural Lands’ director of communications.
Instead of creating a formal garden with exotic plants, as was the custom at that time, the Olmsted brothers chose to go with a more natural feel and allow the gardens to evolve over time.
In addition to opening the gardens to the public, the nonprofit has also started an awareness and education campaign. This aims to avoid development of parts of the Stoneleigh property for Lower Merion School District use.
District officials have expressed interest in condemning a nearly seven-acre portion of the property to construct ball fields. They also indicated they will inspect the rest of Stoneleigh Gardens “in anticipation of a potential condemnation of all or part of the property.”
Natural Lands has informed the district it will fight any such attempt.
Read more about Stoneleigh Gardens at WHYY by clicking here.