Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden

Stoneleigh Garden in Villanova, Pennsylvania is one of my favorite weekend hangouts. Adjacent to Oakwell Estate, Stoneleigh is the perfect garden to spend a sunny, lazy afternoon with a blanket and a good book. I love walking around the grounds or simply being still and taking it all in. I go every season, and I especially like to walk through the gardens in the spring – there’s nothing like seeing new life again after the barrenness of winter.

Magnolia Tree, Stoneleigh, Spring 2023

Also, every year, things change. When you don’t visit your favorite gardens every year, you miss out on things. This used to be one of my favorite trees, right by the house. My sister took this picture of me last spring.

The London Planetree in front the Main House, Stoneleigh, Spring 2022

Now, the tree is a statue. Its branches sadly had to be chopped away.

Although spring fulfills her promise to return every year after winter, every year the season is a little different. You never know when you could be saying goodbye to your favorite tree. It’s so important to cherish each season every time it comes around.

If you’ve never been to Stoneleigh before, you are in for a treat. The picturesque grounds of this garden are tucked away behind iron-wrought gates. It is adjacent to Oakwell Estate, which I wrote about in my last blog post.

Gardens have personalities, like tops in your closet. You have your conservative blouse for days in the office, the sweetheart neckline top for dates, and your favorite everyday white tee that can go from day to night with the right accessories and bottoms. 

Stoneleigh Garden is that favorite everyday tee. I love this garden. First of all, there is no entrance fee. Their hours are predictable too – Stoneleigh is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM (currently – check the website for updates). There is a parking lot onsite and friendly hosts who greet you with maps at the Welcome Kiosk. 

Stoneleigh, Spring 2022

There are many gardens that require that you book a ticket or parking reservation in advance. Stoneleigh is not that garden. Coming to Stoneleigh is like receiving a warm hug from your favorite relative – comforting, without judgment, and freely given.

Stoneleigh, The Main House, Spring 2022

Stoneleigh has over a mile of walking paths, and I often see people who live nearby or college students from Villanova University walking or jogging around the track. When you first walk in, you might think that the paved loop around the grassy field in the photo above is the whole garden. But there’s so much more to explore.

I like to think of Stoneleigh as a collection of outdoor garden rooms. Of course, there’s the Great Lawn, which The Main House overlooks. But there are side paths that break off from the main path.

But there’s also the Circle Garden, which is my absolute favorite place to take outdoor naps. My sister and I will often bring a blanket, a couple of magazines, and just veg out on this lawn soaking in the rays of sun. 

If you plan to come to take a nap or picnic, I recommend coming on a day that’s partially cloudy so you don’t get totally burned by the sun. Wear lots of sunscreen and bring a hat.

This garden has a little pavilion where you can picnic, and they recently installed a new cascading-edge water feature – it’s a beautiful stone fountain with a lovely sound.

Click the image above to hear the Water Garden at Catalpa Court, Spring 2023, Stoneleigh

Stoneleigh is a great place for a day trip with your family, dates, or solo artist dates. Sometimes I come alone to wander the grounds and dream. 

There isn’t a vending machine or gift shop on-site with snacks at Stoneleigh. So I recommend that you bring your own water bottle and bites to eat. There are no trash bins on site either, so you will have to take your waste with you and throw it out at home. 

You can find more information about visiting, including accessibility and amenities here at their website. There are clean, indoor restrooms on site, which is always a plus.

I’d definitely recommend you take an in-person visit to Stoneleigh before summer, so you can catch the beautiful spring foliage and blooms before they fade to make way for June and July botanicals!

To hold you over before you visit in person, you can check out the Instagram Reel below to see a few more glimpses of this garden.

I also streamed a live video while at Stoneleigh Garden last year, but unfortunately Instagram seems to have removed that video. I stood below this beautiful, snowy dogwood tree and spent a few meditative underneath it.

Stoneleigh is featured in the America’s Garden Capital passport book. Here’s my passport. The greeters at the Stoneleigh entrance will write out the passcode for you. I’ve covered it so you can discover the pass phrase for yourself when you arrive, but I will give you a hint and say that the passcode starts with a “C” (at least as of 2019). 😉

Looking forward to bringing you along to the next garden! We will be heading to Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia. My email subscribers hear all about my garden adventures first. It normally takes me a lot longer to get the blog posts out. If you don’t like to wait, become an insider and sign up to my mailing list.


  1. I just discovered you and your lovely blogs through a Google search today and I am thrilled !!! I, too, am a garden aficionado and even though I am much older than you- 68 years old –
    you seem like a kindred spirit with me – a soul daughter !!! I just read this first blog, which was so lovely, and I cannot wait to read the rest !!! My goal is to visit every garden in the Garden Passport, also, even though I live 2 1/2 – 3 hours away from most of the gardens . As a breast cancer survivor I have discovered that visiting gardens and arboretums is very therapeutic for me and they have been the best therapy for me in staying positive, happy , and healthy . Thank you so much for your wonderful blogs – they will be my guides as I visit each garden !!!

    1. Sharon, thank you SO much for your lovely comment! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, The end of the year was very hectic for me. Thank you for your patience 🩷

      Many congratulations on being a breast cancer survivor! That’s phenomenal. I’m SO happy you found me & that you love visiting gardens too! I hope you will enjoy my upcoming blogs this year! Most of all, I hope you’ve been enjoying traveling from garden to garden 🥰🪴⛲️🪻🌼❄️☃️🍂🍁🍃

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