Monday, December 26, 2016

Celebrating 2016

This year was a challenging one for many of us in Mt. Airy, including garden-makers dealing with a season that denied us our typical annual rainfall.  But the gardens at Ned Wolf Park were designed with an eye toward sustainability without intensive pampering. And they have matured so that even a bit of neglect does not take away the Park's aura as a special oasis of beauty and calm in our verdant neighborhood.

We can celebrate in 2016 the completion of a four year effort and capital campaign to replace creosoted timber with natural stone, much of it reclaimed.  
Of course, the work was done incrementally and in such a subtle way that it feels NOT like a transformation.  Instead, the park feels as if it has always been thus - an emblem of our community pride. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Late bloomers

November is here and there are still some special sights to see in the gardens if you take your time and look past the waning deciduous foliage. 
In the shade, you'll see two purple-speckled varieties of Tricyrtis, aka Toad Lilies. Look behind the benches nearest McCallum Street and near the big tree trunk at the central terrace.
In the sun, you'll find:
Peach Drift shrub roses
airy pink seedheads of Muhlenbergia capillaris, aka Pink Muhly Grass
subtle blue flowers on a chartreuse-leafed Caryopteris shrub 
Chrysanthemum 'Rhumba'

Monday, September 26, 2016

Autumn Crocus

We have finally put our too hot and too dry summer behind us. And although the plantings at the park have suffered, today's visit offered a cheerful surprise of beauty in the form of the blooms of Autumn Crocus, a.k.a. Colchicum.  These look similar to early spring flowering crocus bulbs, but the blooms are a bit larger. Unlike crocus grassy foliage, Colchicum puts up broad strappy leaves in spring which go dormant by summer. And, the naked flower buds reemerge in September. They won't last too long but enjoy them if you visit soon. There are two patches: one along the McCallum St sidewalk, the other left of the shed below the Beautyberry shrub. Be sure to notice the handsome purple berries on that shrub, another early fall highlight!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pokemon anyone?

Is Ned Wolf Park a Pokemon Go Gym site? We need some players to let us know if the rumors are true.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Finally, all the old creosoted railroad ties have been eliminated from Ned Wolf Park. With oversight by the City of Philadelphia, the third and final phase of the Friends of Ned Wolf Park's efforts to replace rotting wood with stone is underway. This time we're using reclaimed granite cobblestones to harmonize with the schist and bluestone terrace seating wall  (Phase 2) and bluestone steps (Phase 1).
The aesthetic impact is a subtle one but it reflects a durable community commitment. Funds for Phase 3 were raised entirely by the Friends by the sale of engraved bricks and from annual spring plant sales

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Plant Sale

Each year, the Friends of Ned Wolf Park hosts a plant sale to raise funds to maintain the gardens and to build reserve funds for capital projects.  This year, the sale was held on May 14th.  About one third of the plants we sell were harvested from the park itself, another third of the plants were donated by members or neighbors, and a selection of plants were purchased from local wholesalers to round out the mix.
This year, our net profits were 30% above last year.  THANKS to the eager buyers who enjoy supporting the park and getting bargain prices to boot!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Allium Ambassador

What started out as eight mail ordered bulbs from the VanEngelen catalog is now one of our gardens most beloved features. When this later-blooming variety of onion family bulbs blooms, visitors slow down, take pictures, ask "What are THOSE?" Happily, they have multiplied and the dense purple orbs on sturdy stems create a real party in the park, -  like helium balloons!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Japanese Roof Iris

At Ned Wolf Park, we have an usual species of Iris called Iris tectorum 'Alba', also known as white Japansee roof iris. It likes shade and its blooms, though short-lived, are like elegant fluttering butterflies. This Iris tolerates dry conditions and has thrived under a Sophora tree in a raised bed against the wall. Despite digging up and selling several divisions for our plant sale, the stand looks magnificent.  The wide blades of foliage will grow a bit longer after blooming finishes. And unlike its cousins that prefer sun, this Iris foliage arches handsomely to create a fountain effect for the remainder of the growing season and tolerating some winter months, too.

May Marvels

On May 14th, we staged another successful Plant Sale.h The Friends of Ned Wolf Park earned it's operating budget plus additional funds for our capital campaign to replace old railroad ties with reclaimed belgian blocks. In fact our net income was up 40% by adding more plants. Both donated plants harvested from the park and wholesale purchased perennials and herbs account for uptick in sales.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1st...Hot and rainy

After just enough rain to darken a new layer of mulch, this showy drift of Chionodoxa welcomes spring on this April Fools Day.
On the sunny side of the garden, Donkeytail spurge aka Euphorbia myrsinites, mixes with Grape hyacinth. In the next weeks, most of the perennials will awaken from winter dormancy.  Come visit and see the progress!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ned Wolf Park 2016 Plant Sale

It's time to think about spring planting... and the annual Ned Wolf Park Plant Sale!

The 2016 Plant Sale will be held on Saturday May 14, from 10 AM to 1 PM in Ned Wolf Park, corner of Ellet & McCallum in Mt. Airy. Rain date is Sunday May 15, 10 AM - 1 PM. Hundreds of plants for sun and shade, including perennials, shrubs and some annuals, will be on sale. Proceeds support the work of the Friends of Ned Wolf Park.

We are accepting donations of plants for the sale. For more info, contact Eric Sternfels at