Monday, April 28, 2014


On Friday, April 25th, our terrace wall was completed at Ned Wolf Park!  The community reaction has been an enthusiastic embrace of these changes.  Folks have been impressed by the hard work they witnessed as Morning Dew Stonework & Landscaping shaped each stone for a tight fit into this dry laid wall.  And the reclaimed bluestone seating cap has gotten raves both for it's monumental presence and sense of permanence, as well as it's "been here all along" vibe.  Several neighbors are quite sure the central terrace area is bigger now, despite the fact that technically we trimmed a few square feet of paving to ensure the tree roots were undisturbed.

Clockwise from upper left:
A.  The entrance to the park from McCallum Street has been enhance by the new stone wall that replaces severely tipping landscape ties.
B.  Brick pavers were redesigned in a new pattern to incorporate both donor bricks, as well as a "frame" of bluestone which was trimmed from the thick seating cap stones.
C.  Another piece of trimmed bluestone was incorporated to create a subtle triangular step for those who maintain the garden bed behind the wall.  Already, it's been embraced as a "child's chair".....a special place for toddlers to sit.
D.  Work was finishing up just as the weather finally warmed enough to create a burst of lush growing perennials:  variegated lily-of-the-valley, grape hyacinth, golden creeping jenny, & brunnera.

As soon as the orange construction fences came down, our neighbors rushed in to check out the changes to Ned Wolf Park.  And the very next day, the first small group took advantage of the new seating surround... a gardening class sponsored by the Mt. Airy Learning Tree.   Folks have begun checking out the donor bricks that were installed in square units of twelve bricks amid the older, reclaimed bricks that help create the new design.   We hope more members of the community will be inspired to contribute to Ned Wolf Park and leave their mark in this special oasis.  The fact is that we haven't fully raised all the funds for this stonework project, and so we hope we can quickly repay a loan which one generous neighbor had offered to allow the completion of the Terrace Wall this spring.  So, if you'd like to contribute by buying your own custom engraved brick, you can find a brochure/order form in the info boxes in the park.  You can also donate via this blogspot website by clicking the Donate button in the right-hand column.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hoisting Bluestone

Today's agenda for building the Terrace Walls at Ned Wolf Park was the bulk of the heavy lifting.  The reclaimed bluestone which averages approximately 4" thick required a tripod lift (top left photo) to hoist these weighty seating capstones into place. But since the schist below varies in height, flagstone slices were inserted as shims to create a level surface.   Lots of pre-planning was needed to determine how to best position each of these unique stones.  The photo at the right shows the detail at the steps, where a full-width stone was turned perpendicular to the seating surround to create a bold and monumental corner.   The photo at bottom left shows that a similar detail was chosen to terminate the other side of the seating wall, which then will continue without a bluestone cap down the sloping walkway to McCallum Street.  And the top center photo shows that a few plants are being inserted into the wall as it approaches that sunny McCallum St. sidewalk.  Here, we have two slightly different varieties of Campanula:  C. porscharskyana and C. portenschlagiana.....commonly known as Serbian and Dalmation Bellflower. 

To help fund this project, you can scroll down to earlier blog posts or click "Older Posts" to read about the Donor Bricks which will help complete the project funding.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pollen & Dust

Just 6 days and 25 degrees more warmth have elapsed since the last post!  This time, the air around Ned Wolf Park is full of sinus clogging particles.   They come from both Mother Nature as well as the steady progress of our contractors from Morning Dew Stonework as they continue with our Terrace Wall Project.  The cherry trees have burst into bloom as have the Pushkinia bulbs and Euphorbia myrsinites.  And as the perennials begin to emerge from their cover of mulch, so too our stone seating wall made of Wissahickon schist has risen around our central terrace.  Fran and Brandon have used this windy day to take a break from stacking the stone and starting the messy work of sawing through the reclaimed bluestone that will serve as a seating cap on top of the new walls.  They'll be shaping the pieces and getting them ready for the additional laborers that will be needed to hoist those mammoth cap stones into place.

Caution tape to safeguard the plants, and string lines to define the finished height of the wall help guide our team to a wall which should serve our community well.  And after the steady rains forecast for tomorrow, perhaps we'll see a bit more of that schist sparkling, once all the stone dust has washed away.   Along the sloping walkway down to McCallum street & wrapping along the sidewalk, the Friends of Ned Wolf Park will be inserting some plants into the wall as it's being constructed.  That's the best way to ensure that the roots will have a pathway into the soil behind the wall.

The bluestone cap stones, perhaps originally quarried in the 19th C., are being trimmed with a carbide blade circular saw, kicking up quite a dust storm.  Sorry to those neighbors who are listening to that noise, but I'm sure it will all be worth it.  These cap stones will surround the central terrace and create a new seating area.  And the trimmings will be incorporated into the brick design that includes our generous donors' engraved bricks.
Despite the progress of our contractors, we still need some help to fund this Terrrace Wall Project.  You can help with your donation of $100. or more.   There are brochures that include an order form located in the info boxes in the park.   Or you can pay via PayPal directly on this website.  See the Donate button in the righthand column!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rock Mess Mantra

 What's the mantra? 
"Build it & they will come!" 
We're hoping the creation of a smooth bluestone seating surface on the low stone wall in our park's central terrace will help more small groups come to think of Ned Wolf Park as the best outdoor meeting place in Northwest Philadelphia!
Less than one week into the Terrace Wall Project and the demolition of railroad ties and trimming of the concrete paving is complete.  Today, Fran (with a baseball cap) and Brendan (with a knit cap) from Morningdew Stonework & Landscaping were wading in a sea of stones to find the right shape and sizes pieces to lay the base course of the dry laid wall.   They are both very excited to be getting into the artisan work of interlocking stones to create a strong, stable, and handsome wall.  The result should be subtle but sumptuous.   Feel free to give them a shout out for their efforts if you pass by while they're hard at work!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Terrace Wall Construction Begins!

     Behold the 'Yellow Mammoth' Crocus that are blooming furiously at Ned Wolf Park as construction begins for the Terrace Wall Project.  Although still shy of our fund-raising goal for this project, we've found a way to forge ahead so the new construction is completed in April 2014.  The Fairmount Park Conservancy's $10K Physical Improvements Grant moved us closer to the finish line, but we need to raise $2,000 with help from our friends and neighbors.

     Here are Morning Dew Stonework & Landscaping owner, Fran Hammond, and his assistant Brendan beginning demolition of the old creosoted railroad ties.  For the next three weeks, the terrace area and walkway from McCallum Street will be closed to visitors so the work may proceed.  Orange hazard fencing will define the construction work zone, but you can still visit the park and sit on the benches and enjoy the spring plantings as they slowly emerge from a severe winter slumber.

  This morning, our contractor hauled in some of the reclaimed bluestone which will cap the schist walls to form a seating surround for the central paved terrace in Ned Wolf Park.  This handsome material, rescued from a railroad embankment that was demolished in 2013, will be trimmed and set in place atop a wall made of Wissahickon Schist.  Although a remarkable improvement which will offer all sorts of opportunities for groups to meet together in the center of the park, we suspect the character of the local stone materials selected will look though they have been in the park for many decades.

      Above is the plan showing Phase II of the Terrace Wall Project, now underway.  An additional sum of $7K is needed for Phase III which will remove the last of the hazardous creosoted timbers from the Park which serve to edge all the planting beds along the concrete sidewalks.   We hope that our generous neighbors, inspired by the new stonework and the soon-to-be-installed custom engraved donor bricks, will continue to make donations and purchase the rich red bricks for the rejuvenated Terrace insert shown below.   Each can be inscribed with up to three lines of text to commemorate or thank a friend or loved one, or just to signal your support of this park and its handsome gardens.

These donations will make it possible for the Friends of Ned Wolf Park to work with the Parks & Recreation Department to complete the Project.  Your gift in any amount can be made directly via this website by clicking the donate button in the column at the right of this page.  Custom engraved bricks can be still purchased for a $100. donation.