For the purposes of the survey the Township was divided into twenty-one sections of roughly equal size (refer to Map 1). The division between sections was made using roads as much as possible, with streams, utility lines, and property lines being used when necessary to keep the sections approximately the same size. Dividing the Township into separate survey sections provided a better picture of both the frequency and distribution of plant species. More importantly, it insured that the surveyors examined both superficially less interesting areas and higher-quality tracts, in order to better evaluate the relative quality and distribution of plants and their habitats.
The majority of surveying was performed by repeatedly walking the roads of the Township and recording all species encountered along them and in the adjacent habitats. Township-owned and other public lands were surveyed, and some landowners gave permission for a more thorough survey of their property, thus providing access to the interior of most sections. Surveying began in March and ended in late October, 2010.
Previous Survey Work and Additional Resources. Results of several earlier botanical surveys conducted by the authors were incorporated into this report. These include a 2006 survey of the New Garden airport property (See Map 1, Section 10), and a 2007 study of the Bucktoe Preserve (See Map 1, Section 6). Common species not observed in this 2010 survey but found during these earlier surveys are included herein, but uncommon or sensitive species that were not re-located in 2010 were excluded from this final report.
Similar township botanical inventories that were conducted in London Britain (2008-2009), Franklin (2007), London Grove (2006), Wallace (2006), Pocopson (2002), Pennsbury (2001), Chadds Ford (2000), East Bradford (2009),and Kennett (1999) Townships provided a broader perspective of New Garden‘s flora. Since the municipalities abutting New Garden to the east and west had previously been surveyed, a New Garden Botanical Survey fills the “missing link” of Chester County surveys along the arc of the Delaware border.
Stone‘s A Flora of Chester County (1945) mentions Landenberg frequently and the location New Garden, two miles southeast of Avondale. Earlier botanists frequently used the railroads to travel to collecting locales and most likely used Landenberg as a starting point for exploring the lower White Clay valley, so some Landenberg citations may not actually have been in New Garden Township. Besides the White Clay corridor, the broad valley underlain by Cockeysville marble and the dry ridge north of it would have drawn their interest.