For over twenty years historians, landscape architects, horticulturists, and gardeners have worked to restore the grounds of the historic Centre Furnace Mansion to its 19th century splendor. In 2000 this effort expanded to include volunteers from the Penn State Master Gardener Program who made a long-term commitment to continue caring for the gardens. They joined community volunteers to form the basis of the Centre France Mansion Garden Committee whose mission includes the creation of a tranquil sense of being in a Victorian Era garden.

They also foster the education aspect of the gardens through programming, interpretive elements such as garden markers, and corresponding information on the Centre County Historical Society website. This is possible in part through their fundraising activities which culminate in an annual plant celebration held on site each spring. This sale, which includes plants cultivated from the grounds, makes it possible for the committee to continue enhancing the gardens by purchasing Victorian benches, urns, and statuary. This project is for the benefit of everyone in our community and could not be done without the continued hard work and enthusiasm of volunteer gardeners working and planting on a weekly basis nearly year round.

Located above the brick walkway, this garden was first established with a gift from Paul Harner in honor of the McLaughlin family and is dedicated in recognition of all of the gardeners, past and present, whose caring hands have made this site continue to thrive.

Plant List

  • Aster
  • Bayberry
  • Bearded Iris (Iris germanica)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
  • Daylilies, various hybrids (Hemerocallis
  • Ladybells (Adenophora confusa
  • Rose “Father Hugo’s Rose” – also known as “Golden Rose of China” (Rosa hugonis)
  • Sedum x “Autumn Joy”
  • Sweet Briar Rose (Eglantine rose)