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Excursion: Gardens and Steel Stacks of Bethlehem

June 28, 2017 @ 7:00 am - 9:00 am

Our first stop of the day will be the plant collector’s garden of Ron and Sharon Donchez. This circa 1920 home is surrounded by almost an acre of gardens. After living abroad for ten years, the homeowners returned and decided to give their garden a more European feel. So began a labor of love that continues today. Throughout the property you’ll find a number of different small gardens each with its own individual collection of perennials, herbs, succulents, and annuals.

Look for a hellebore garden, a hosta garden, a succulent garden (plants in hypertufa containers), a perennial garden, an array of unusual conifers, a collection of dwarf Japanese maples, and many shrubs and trees with some pruned in unique ways. The focal point of the backyard is a natural, uncut stone patio enhanced with potted plants and a small cherub fountain. The patio and pathways were paved by Ron with stones collected (some brought home in their suitcases) by the homeowners on their travels. Look closely as you stroll along the paths, both wide and narrow, and discover seven whimsical natural stone animal sculptures.

After the Donchez garden we will spend time in Historic Bethlehem, enjoying lunch on our own, and then have an informal walking tour of the charming town. We will end the day at the extraordinary remains of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, now known as Steel Stacks, and walk along the Hoover Mason Trestle (HMT). The HMT was once used as a narrow gauge railroad to carry the coke, limestone, and iron ore needed to make the iron, from the ore yards to the blast furnaces.

Opened in June 2015, the HMT is now a public walkway; the trestle stands 46 feet tall and 2,000 feet long. While there are hints of a garden reminiscent of the High Line, it is the looming structures themselves that will wow you. Travel by coach with Jeff Jabco and Julie Jenney. Limit 25.

Members: $78                   Non-members: $118


A terrific incentive to become a member! Excursions with the Scott Associates are member benefits; the non-member fee reflects the member cost of the trip plus a $40 one-year Individual Membership.

Cancellation Policy:

  • The Scott Arboretum retains the right to cancel any program due to lack of enrollment or unforeseen problems.
  • No refunds are available for day bus trips.


June 28, 2017
7:00 am - 9:00 am


Wister Center
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA United States
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(610) 328–8025