One of the more unique events of the summer in Chester County is right around the corner, as the Brandywine Valley Water Garden Weekend Tour is slated for July 29-30.
The origins of the event can be traced back to 2005, when a group of approximately 30 pond enthusiasts gathered to use their interest in the elaborate water gardens built by Coatesville-based Turpin Landscaping as a vehicle for philanthropy. The Tour Committee has raised more than $145,000 for the Food Bank.
“It started as a small group who wanted to give something back to the community,” said Sarah Turpin, who co-owns Turpin Landscaping with her husband Jason, whom customers often refer to as an aquatic artist. “This year, we expect to have about 400 people.”
Self-guided tours are $45, while bus-guided tours are $75. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
The tour includes 40 different ponds, all of which Turpin Landscaping has worked on, and a country barbecue, live music, and auction.
In 2009, upon the suggestion of Sen. Andy Dinniman, the Tour directed its efforts to supporting a newly created organization, the Chester County Food Bank.
“The Food Bank’s mission of providing food to those in need right here in our community blended well with the Brandywine Valley Water Garden Tour Committee’s desire to give back to the local community,” said Sarah Turpin.
“The Water Garden Tour and Turpin Landscaping were one of the first contributors to the Food Bank when we started in November 2009,” said Larry Welsch, Executive Director of the Chester County Food Bank. “From the team at Turpin, to the Tour Committee members, to all of the garden hosts, this event is truly a community coming together to help those struggling with food insecurity in Chester County.”
One $45 ticket to the Tour will provide 17 meals through the Food Bank.
“We are so very grateful and honored to be the beneficiary,” said Welsch.
The Tour offers the opportunity to visit the homes of local residents who have created beautiful waterscapes in their backyards. Included in the Tour are self-contained ponds with streams and water features ranging in size from small to expansive, as well as waterfalls without visible ponds. Beautiful landscaping, colorful flowers, arrays of dazzling waterfalls, and friendly fish of all colors, shapes, and sizes await those who visit just a few of the many homes featured on the Tour.
On Saturday evening, all the tour participants, along with all the homeowners who have opened their yards and water features in support of the event, are invited to gather at Turpin Landscaping on Martins Corner Road for the barbecue and silent auction.
From sun to shade, from flat to hilly terrains, ponds can be situated practically anywhere. The Turpins certainly love a challenge, as evidenced by some of the properties highlighted on the Tour.
“We do everything for the outdoor lifestyle,” said Sarah Turpin. “Everything from ponds to outdoor kitchens, patios, decks, and pizza ovens. But ponds are certainly a big part of our business.”
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.