Monday, February 26, 2018

Late Winter Blooming

Just ready to burst into yellow flowers this is a shrub called Mahonia.  This rangy shrub has evergreen foliage that is reminiscent of Holly. It is around 6 feet tall and nearly as wide, located to the left of our tool shed. Each spoke of its radial flower clusters has dozens of buds that will soon turn lemon yellow. Most surprising is their sublime spicy-sweet fragrance.  Because it's such an early bloomer, it draws the attention of any pollinator that has emerged from winter hibernation.  And that will lead its pollinated flowers to become small ovoid fruits, colored like blueberries, which will form by late spring.  This season, there looks to be an enormous number of clusters so on a breezy day this March don't be surprised at the heady aroma wafting through the park.

Snowdrops are already in bloom, but until the gray skies turn sunny they won't open their trio of petals to appear more like flowers than buds. The tiny bulbs in these clumps are multiplying fast. Perhaps we should divide a few clumps to creat a broader carpet of SNOWdrops?

Here come our fancy Hellebore blooms. As buds emerge from the soil, they appear blush-colored, but they will open to a blend of pink, cream, and ivory. Then in a few weeks, they will turn pale celery green.  The marbled foliage and dusky pink stems are last year's leaves which will soon be trimmed away to make room for a fresh new set.
Look for these behind the wall of our central paved terrace.  This exceptional cultivar of Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Sun Marble' is no longer available in the trade nor from our mail order source 10 years ago.

Lastly, ephemeral Winter Aconite is finally starting to spread from seed dispersed as this plant disappears - both foliage and flowers by mid Spring.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Winter Library Hours

The Little Free Library movement is strong here in Mt. Airy.  And it is such a satisfying and easy way to give, receive and feel good about your neighborhood. So when this handsomely made box on its cedar post was offered to NWP in 2015, accepting it was a no brainer. But, since the offer did not include a commitment to maintain and stock it, we did wonder if we might have bit off more than our volunteer ranks were willing to chew
Those fears proved baseless. The box has been used with increasing frequency for over two full years. Folks are often seen coming to drop off or select books at all hours. Kids often make a B-line to see what might be worth going home with as their parents catch up and help survey the pickin's.
Given all that community love our LFL has gotten, we thought it best not let seasonal darkness reduce what has become an important draw to the park.

Enter the LFL's own holiday lighting scheme! Just 'cauz we gussied up the park with showy sparkly lights doesn't mean we want to diminish our beloved literacy enhancing device.


Inside the box, a motion activated light will make it effortless to read the book titles even in a blackout thanks to a few AA batteries. Walk away and the light will shut off in 30 seconds

So, next time you are in the park, see if there's a book you might like to take with you!!!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

2017 holiday deLIGHTS

The addition of a dedicated electrical source in October, gave the Friends of Ned Wolf Park our first opportunity to add holiday lighting.
We chose a design strategy that was easy to install & to dismantle. It offers big impact for both motorists
& pedestrians. There's very little to store, and it is cost effective.

The first component of our concept uses borrowed tomato cages which are inverted and strung with mini-light strings. Our grove of ten conical trees creates a landscape statement in the ornamental gardens that give Ned Wolf Park its distinctive character. Just as the traditional growing season has come to an end, this new "planting" should remind our community that our park is a worthwhile destination year-round
 (especially with our very active Little Free Library that continues to stay well stocked by our neighbors!)

The other element that is especially effective for pedestrians is the constellation of laser light stars in green and blue. Projected onto the party wall at the back of the park as well as on the walk and tree branches, these slow moving points of light evoke fireflies or snowflakes. The photo barely begins to capture the effect.
The lighting operates on an eight hour daily cycle that starts with a daylight sensor.  Already we have received rave reviews from children and adults who are excited by the magical celebration of light in winter, event though that season has yet to begin.

Our "evergreen trees" are surprisingly innocuous during daylight hours.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Yoga in the Park

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, a group of breast cancer survivors and supporters gathered to do some yoga in Ned Wolf Park.  Led by instructor and near neighbor Megan Do Nasciento , the participants enjoyed unusually warm weather and one another's company for a morning workout at this unique venue.  Coordinated not to conflict with the regular Tai Chi sessions held later in the morning, we are excited that our park has become a place where rejuvenating and strengthening activities for individuals coincide with social connections.  We hope everyone enjoyed the event where funds were raised to support Breast Cancer research.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What's in there!?

Our new rock garden located where the sidewalks meet was recently planted with around twenty different plant varieties.  Depending on how these fare, we will either add or subtract to the mix - perhaps rearrange.
Seven varieties of Sempervivens (commonly called Hens & Chicks) and three varieties of matt-forming Sedum (stonecrop) will provide the familiar look that succulents bring to classic rock garden design. We look forward to seeing their winter and spring foliage color which can often be distinct from that during the growing season.
Another plant with evergreen character includes the perennial Iberis sempervivens, commonly called Evergreen Candytuft. This is the one plant that was saved from the 2007 planting scheme at this triangular plot. It's rich dark green leaves are overshadowed by white blossoms in late spring.
We have planted several diminutive varities of plants familiar at a larger scale. These include Phlox, Thalictrim, Aquilegia, Campanula, Hypericum, and Viola, amongst others offering a variety of short-lived but colorful blooms through the season.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Rock Garden!

Although the wood sign has been there for ten years, this fall we have redesigned this prominect corner that has prime visibility from vehicles stopped at the intersection of McCallum and W. Ellet Streets.
With some sun and lots of bright light, the site should support this rock garden featuring schist boulders which tie back to the stone wall we installed in 2014 and which give a settled character unique to our Wissahickon neighborhood.
We also carved out a visual, but not literal pathway into the garden. We've expanded the drift of creeping Phlox, inviting the early May carpet of vivid purple to spill down into the rock garden.
We look forward to watch as the collection of sedums and sempervivums as well as the diminutive perennial varieties we have just installed will add sparkle and richness for pedestrians while the local stone anchors our gardens at Ned Wolf Park.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Yard Sale Success!

 We could not have conjured more perfect weather for Ned Wolf Park's first Community Yard Sale on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
The evening before, we swept the sophora and oak leaves off 27 vendor spaces marked with sidewalk chalk. Then, grateful for clear streets, we set out orange hazard cones to reserve the spaces for early morning unloading. And starting as early as 7 am, the Subarus and CRV's began to arrive with boxloads of items someone else needed to own.  Folding tables were unfolded, merchandise was merchandised, and neighbors stayed neighborly as we prepared for a fun day together.
Shoppers arrived in waves and seemed to enjoy both the sale and the shady gardens of this park known for its quiet beauty. Along with a cornucopia of used "stuff" of every vintage, an exquisite array of artisan baked goods were offered from a South Philadelphia wholesale baker called Machine Shop Boulangerie. Thriftiness met an urge to splurge at the corner of McCallum and W. Ellet Streets.