Samuel C. Durham Gardens

An Owsley descendant Samuel C. Durham, of Lancaster, California, donated his heirloom bearded Iris & peonies, which has resulted in the formation of

The Samuel C. Durham Gardens of Heirloom Plants.

Today the gardens are under renovation by local garden clubs

and is open to the public from the Spring to Fall


Don’t forget to drop by for the annual Spring garden sale:

* Dorothea Poyntz Dahlias, a Cultivar from Sea-Tac Gardens and sure to please Owsley descendants & plant collectors alike

Holtzclaw & Simpson Apple Orchard


Jerome Layton Arboretum


Samuel C. Durham Gardens

Holtzclaw & Simpson Apple Orchard

In 2000, Pleasant Retreat was the recipient of an unique collection of apple trees to form an orchard that would be found on a typical 19th cent. working farm. 

This generous gift is from Owsley house saviors, Rose Holtzclaw & Margaret Simpson, and

these specimen trees were were planted in memory of their late husbands:

Emmit Holtzclaw & Frederick Simpson Jr.

The recreation of 19th century style orchard includes the following apple cultivars:

“Smoke House”, First developed in Lancaster Pa in 1837

“Newtown Pippen” A colonial favorite and major export to Europe.

“Tompkins County King”, The staple of a home orchard.

“Spitzenberg” found along with “Newtown Pippen” in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Soon to be a photo of Newtown Pippen apple trees

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Sample picture of Samuel C. Durham Gardens

Jerome Layton Arboretum

Sample picture of Jerome Layton Arboretum

A sample of some of the late Samuel C. Durham’s heirloom Iris beds

which used to dot the grounds of Pleasant Retreat and are currently undergoing a redesign to reflect 19th cent taste.

The proposed redesign of Pleasant Retreat’s historic grounds to include

The Holtzclaw & Simpson Apple Orchard, The Jerome Layton Arboretum

and Samuel C. Durham Gardens

Please click on the picture for access to the full article on our new arboretum.

Thanks to the Lexington Advocate-Messenger Online for their most gracious courtesies.