Join Garden Writers for an exclusive peek at some of historic Pittsburgh.
The Newington Estate, home of Jay and Ellen Brooks, is one of the oldest
homes in the region, dating back to 1785. The original property, situated on
the Ohio River just west of Pittsburgh, was acquired by the current owner’s
ancestors as payment for serving in the American Revolution with Gen. George
Washington. Now housed on 10 sprawling acres, this two-story brick mansion
is framed by a guesthouse, a barn, a springhouse and the family’s original
Colossal trees such as Katsuras, Beeches, Dawn Redwoods, Apples and
Sycamores are amongst the largest specimens of their kind. Newington’s
manicured gardens and rhododendron and azalea collection are spectacular.
Wander through the Yew maze, rest on a bench beneath arched arborvitae, and
browse the boxwood-framed rose garden. Teardrop-shaped Callery pears line
the perennial border while statuary and topiaries are scattered throughout
these formal gardens.
When asked why he maintains such a long and historic gardening tradition,
Jay Brooks speaks of his love for all of the varieties of plant material
that adorn his property. “That tree was probably here before 1812. My father
talked of the tradition of planting that Franklinia tree at the end of the
great lawn. I love pruning the pear tree allee and all of the boxwood
hedges. There is a great seasonality here.” And then he walked us to the
PawPaw grove. They should be lush during the visit on our day of touring.
Take the Sewickley Valley tour of gardens on Saturday August 9. There are
five outstanding properties of beautiful gardening art.