Daytripping from Ohio to Edinboro, PA :Goodell Gardens and Scotland Yard

I had never been to Goodell Gardens in Edinboro, Pennsylvania and knew nothing of the place except what information I had recently stumbled upon online. My husband and I both enjoy walking through botanical gardens. Wherever we travel we seek out the nearest gardens to explore. So we were both interested in checking out an established garden so near our home. The garden is not in Ohio but being just over the Pennsylvania line, it still makes a nice daytrip from Northeast Ohio.

Photo of Goodell Gardens by Pamela Hammond

Goodell Gardens is located at 221 Waterford Street, Route 6N, Edinboro, PA 16412. The 78 acre homestead was purchased by the Goodells in 1876. The last two Goodell sisters lived in the home through most of the 20th century. They requested that upon their deaths, the homestead be turned into a public garden and they arranged for a small endowment. A non-profit organization was established in 2001. Employees and volunteers have been working on preserving and slowly expanding the garden ever since. Classes and other programs are also offered.

Photo of Goodell Gardens by Pamela Hammond

Goodell Garden was easy to find. There were just a few cars in the parking lot belonging to employees. It was a weekday morning and John and I were the only garden visitors.

The old Goodell house has been turned into a visitor center where we found a small gift shop, restrooms, and a museum (which is temporarily closed). A well informed attendant pointed us to a trail map.

It turned out to be a small garden. The actual “garden” really isn’t much bigger than a large back yard. It is a beautiful space however, and the garden is old and well established. Much of the plantings were made by the Goodell sisters in the first half of the 20th century, making the trees today some of the largest examples I have seen. Rhododendrons and Azaleas, in full bloom this week, tower above the garden paths. Shade loving perennials and other spreading groundcovers thrive.

As we walked along the garden path, we stopped to read numbered descriptions of the history and plantings which are described in the trail brochure. You could probably walk through these numbered stops in half an hour. Being gardeners, we lingered, backtracked, and walked the garden path a couple of times. We chatted with an employee and spent about 1 1/2 hours enjoying this place.

We had lunch in Edinboro and after an impromptu stop for ice cream, we visited a new-to-us Garden Center called Scotland Yard at 12555 Fry Rd, Edinboro, PA 16412.

There we found a wide variety of vegetable plants, flowering perennials, hostas, ferns, bonsai miniatures, succulents, trees all the things a gardener needs, as well as a shop selling garden decor. Prices were average and in some cases better than expected for plants that were larger than those I usually find for sale.

We had an enjoyable chat with a man whom I assume was the owner, or else a very knowledgeable employee. The garden center cat was another friendly diversion. As I browsed, I found some unusual plants – things not commonly found in garden centers. I was excited to bring home some new finds for the perennial garden including a white bleeding heart, a Japanese Iris in an unusual peach and blue color, and a large Ligularia with deep purple leaves.

John purchased an unusual white “Fringe” tree (Chionanthus virginicus) which is rarely used in gardens today. We will have to do some research before planting it as we were both unfamiliar with the tree until seeing several in full bloom at both Goodell and in the display garden of the garden center. It is bound to make a lovely conversation piece in our yard.

Photo of Goodell Gardens “Fringe Tree” by Pamela Hammond

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