Wednesday, May 19, 2010

strawberry time

One of our stops this past weekend in Philadelphia was at Woodford Mansion. While we were treated to a tour of the house (more on that later), an army of volunteers (primarily children) were busy in the garden with shovels and spades. I was delighted to discover that they were part of the Philadelphia Orchard Project, which is dedicated to planting fruit trees in primarily low-income areas of the city. Upon closer investigation I was amazed to find the garden home to a bountiful patch of strawberries and a myriad of young fruit trees.

So why Woodford? Built 1756-1758 as the summer retreat of a wealthy Philadelphia merchant, William Coleman, the house was once surrounded by a substantial garden and orchard. In the late 19th century the house was incorporated into Fairmount Park, and its environs changed dramatically. Set on the fringe of the park, the house is now bordered by a pretty rough neighborhood. Working in conjunction with the Park Commission, which owns the house, the Orchard Project is bringing the gardens back to life ~ if not with strict historical accuracy, then at least in spirit.

I am so happy to see more and more green projects like this taking hold in the cities. Incidentally, some of these have been quietly growing for years!

UPDATE: And if you haven't already, you must read about this historic orchard reborn ~ congratulations Dilettante!


The Down East Dilettante said...


I love the Fairmount Park houses---all those relatively small pavilion like houses like Woodford, exquisite Solitude. I have orchards on the brain as we have started planting our orchard at the Fisher House (posted about it on sunday in case you missed it)---I wish I were wealthy--I'd give money for fruit trees everywhere. Love this story.

home before dark said...

It is wonderful to hear of greenings of America to counteract the hideous mess in the Gulf. Like many gardeners I first fell for flowers, then matured to find my true love: trees. I refer to my backyard as an oxygen farm.

I love the sweet sentiment of DED's comment. Perhaps we should ban together, an odd-lot of bloggers, to donate money for fruit trees. Maybe we readers of JCB should do this to celebrate a wedding...

Janet said...

Dilettante ~ I have been anxious to hear of the Fisher orchard since you first told me of the plans. Then I go away for a few days and miss the big announcement! Shesh. Well, I have added a link here to celebrate.

hbd ~ I too have had the oil spill in the back of my mind as I write about all of this. Perhaps that is why I am so eager to lend my had to green a small patch of roof. The gentleman and I have been trying to think of a way to give back a little of the joy we have received. Perhaps money for a scholarship to study houses (which was our first thought)...or a tree (which also came to mind as I read the Dilettents's post this morning).

Anne said...

These strawberries are so sweet! A scholarship or a tree both sound like wonderful ideas--be sure to let us know how we can make a contribution to help.

Style Court said...

Janet, I would have loved to have seen the kids in action in the garden :)