Thursday, July 17

Grumblethorpe Garden: Photographs Through the Years


In my most recent research into the garden at Grumblethorpe House 
in Germantown, I found more images, including the one at top of a woman
in Victorian dress walking in the side yard.  Closest to her is the Overcup Oak,
 described by a visitor to the garden in 1904, that was taken down 
in the late 1990's due to poor tree health.  Behind the fence stands the 
gingko to the left and the beech to the right, both which you can come 
visit today in the garden.  The chicken wire surrounding the new tree 
in the foreground may be the dogwood which is also still in the garden.

In my online searching I found a collection of photographs taken by 
Alfred Hand in 1920-21 that is part of the Library Company of Philadelphia's
 collection They show the garden and the house  including the old porch 
overhang (now removed), the carpenter's shop, the observatory
and smokehouse (before they were destroyed) and
the property wall before much of it collapsed. 

You can also see some of the trees and the grape vine and
wisteria vine over the arbor that are still there.

I'm putting together an exhibit of images of the garden and
the stories of the Wister Family characters and their
gardening and farming 
experiences from their journals and sketches.  

These are some designs in progress for posters to be displayed
in the garden to share some of the history with visitors today.
There will be a few more including some focusing on
the farm and the bee keeping activities that include funny
comments from the Wister family, which included
multi-talented poets, musicians, botanists, artists, winemakers,
merchants, astronomers, farmers, scientists and gardeners.

Sunday, December 15

Latest Project: Delaware Ave along the River, Berks Park

 Visions include work by OLIN on Master Plan for the Delaware, 
the Winn Casino proposal and Interface's Master Plan for Northern Liberties

Thursday, May 23

Grumblethorpe Mysteries: Historic Home and Garden in Germantown


Historic Grumblethorpe on Germantown Ave. built in 1744 (photo source:

Herb Garden (in April) off of the kitchen with sundial 

I began my internship with Grumblethorpe in April with the task of bringing some order to the herb garden, designing a pollinator garden for the students who come to learn about caterpillars and butterflies, 
and to add signs and design a brochure for visitors.  

It has evolved into a mystery solving expedition for me: 

What plants were grown here by the Wister family historically? 
and how to exemplify the fantastic exploration and scientific  
curiosity with weather, rare plants, minerals, bees, forests, and astronomy 
that was a part of the Wister homestead?

 A vegetable and formal bed beyond, with the ancient Ginko tree on the left

 Formal bed with boxwood-border bed and pergola gates

 The observatory Charles Wister built

After reading Suzanne Wister Eastwick's compilation of the family garden records, 
the mystery only deepened with descriptions of family ties to Academy of 
Natural Sciences collections, the first person recollections of the wild garden filled 
with collected orchid and fern species from the Wissahickon, 
the "Beemaster" with 25 hives who brought a swarm 9 miles to the house in a wheelbarrow, 
the amateur astronomer who built an observatory to watch eclipses and the transit of Mercury, 
as well as the interest in meteorology, designing of iron rain gauges and clock-making.

Chickens looking for a bite to eat

 Side path around original stone wall

Sunday, March 31

Public Gardens Public Horticulture Year Two

It's been a very busy semester, and I added a new Saturday class to my roster: Public Horticulture 
which has brought me to some of the most beautiful gardens in the Philadelphia area.

We visited Jenkins Arboretum, a quick drive up the road
from Chesterbrook in Berwyn, PA to tour the grounds and
listen to Doug Tallamy discuss insects and their plants:

Sunday, November 18

Earth Heroes You Never Heard Of

I just stumbled upon this website with little bios of not-so-famous folks who are making a difference in the world and books I have missed that sound like amazing reads!
I was searching for and Andy Goldsworthy book called A Collaboration with Nature and found Whole Earth Provision Co.'s post about his birthday, the paintings of Church and several ecologist/writers/activists I haven't heard of before, but who I want to learn more about.

Monday, October 22

Resources for Eco Designs

Doing some research for a wetland/woodland design and I found these great websites with fun designs for waterways, stormwater management, and creative reuse of materials:

Friday, September 28

Come Out Tomorrow Fall Arts Fest

Getting packed up for the Art Fest! It's going to be HUGE!
Chili Cook Off, Live Bands, 200 art vendors, dancing,
lounges, ETSY, it's going to be amazing!

And no rain!

Thursday, September 20

Woodbury Fall Arts Fest

I'm so excited to be participating in the Woodbury, NJ Fall Arts Fest on September 29th from 11-6 pm.  The location looks beautiful and the music and vendors will be amazing.
I've been busy getting prints made and framing new images taken at Bartram's Farm, the Spring Gardens Community Garden and the Ambler Arboretum.  As a grad student at Ambler, I get to walk the grounds in every season so I began photographing the woodlands and formal gardens with my square format camera during breaks in classes.  It's a beautiful setting to study in.
 Philadelphia, Bridge

 Spring Gardens Community Garden, Lamb's Ear
Dingman's Ferry, Fern Forest Floor

 Bordentown, NJ
 Smithville, NJ
 New Garden, Cucumbers
Burlington County Farm Show
 One of my new clay pieces                          New terrarium creations
Lots of local trips to farms and small towns, as well as camping and hiking will influence my booth, as well as the terrarium making we are engaged in for my Forest Ecology class. I also worked in a clay studio again this summer and some of my newest pieces may make an appearance at my table as well. 
And as halloween is getting closer, I'll be selling photo cards I made using pictures I took in Charleston and here in my neighborhood near Girard Ave.

Monday, August 13

Garden Pesto on Crostini

Pesto Time!  This is the second batch from the basil in the garden.  I have 4 plants of different sizes and I've been picking off all of the top leaves every other week for more pesto.  I use the basic recipe I learned years ago and guestimate the amounts.

Basil Leaves (large handful)
Fresh Grated Parmesean/Romano Cheese
Pine nuts (bout a quarter cup)
Olive Oil (enough to help the blade turn freely)
Garlic (2-4 cloves)
Salt and Pepper

Monday, July 9

New Biking Challenges

I recently joined the Bike Philly Challenge on with the Temple Ambler team and it has been a huge motivator to do more biking, even in the heat and when my schedule seems to busy to get out there.  You can log your biking trips under transport or exercise, draw exactly where you rode and it tallies your mileage and you can chart your progress on graphs and with other members.
India Point Park, Providence, RI

The ramp to the path, behind steps
It inspired me to plan a trip to Providence, Rhode Island just for biking and I found some beautiful trails, but getting to those trails proved to be a bit dicey and confusing.  Each person we asked had different directions on how to get to the trailhead and they all said, "It's a little confusing, but then you follow the signs and you'll eventually find it" It ended up taking us over an hour of following bike path signs that led us in the wrong direction, calling the bike shop, and finally we happened to be in a spot where we saw a biker taking the path up an over the bridge to get to the trail.  There were kiosks with nothing posted on them and trails that led nowhere and we decided ultimately, the bike path was designed for drivers who parked in the adjoining lots, not for bicyclists who were traveling from town out to the paths.
Wrong way path away from East Bay
Not very informative kiosk
When we finally made it to the East Bay path, it was so beautiful!  Great views of the water, rocky islands, lighthouses, marshes, railroad tracks, smooth paved paths, great people, varied terrain and ice cream!
East Bay Path
Beautiful Views

Ice cream pitstop

Headed back to Providence