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.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Community Yard Sale

As the summer winds down - and cools down, too - activity at Ned Wolf Park is heating up.

Next Saturday, Sept. 16th, 
we will be hosting our first
Community Yard Sale
8:30 am to 2 pm

although the changes are subtle, we have been 
upgrading some plantings in the gardens.
Most noticeable perhaps is the new rock garden at the corner of McCallum and W. Ellet Streets.
Initated by a neighbor to honor his late wife
(more on this when it is dedicated later)
we have taken a fresh look at this prominent corner to provide a more intimate collection of small scale plants along with bold schist boulders which tie to the stonework we have added to the park in recent years.
The project is only about 50% completed and lots more plants and gravel will be added this fall. Photos to follow.
We sincerely hope the frequent dog walkers will respect our efforts by keeping their pets from "watering" these plants which will surely be killed by a streaming parade of peeing pooches.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Surprising Summer

So far, the summer has brought us regular rain and few heat waves.  So the gardens at Ned Wolf Park are showing off, despite having few annuals to supply vivid all season bloom. Last year, in late summer we added two perennials to our sunny island planting bed. A purple coneflower variety called 'Pica Bella' (far right) and blue globe thistle (center). This season, we are seeing how well these plants have complimented all the other plantings. Those include a shrub rose 'Peach drift' and dwarf butterfly bush 'Blue Chip' (far left). The dusky pink backdrop is provided by a short Joe Pye Weed cultivar called 'Baby Joe.' 
These should provide color few more weeks in August so please drop by.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Potluck in the Park

It took far too long for the Friends of Ned Wolf Park to host its first potluck dinner party in the park.
Initially hatched in the aftermath of our May 6th Plant Sale, we wanted to take time to celebrate our successes in the handsome space we have been nuturing for ten years.
Sedgwick neighbor Marcia lent us a canopy, Weavers Way provided folding tables, park neighbors offered us electricity and water access. The park gave us flowers!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Most asked about plant?

Hands down, it's Allium Ambassador!
These late-spring blooming purple orbs demand attention and folks wonder aloud,
 "What are THOSE?"
Purchased from the Van Engelen bulb catalog in 2013, we planted just 10 and they have been multiplying without diminishing in size, nearly 7" in diameter and about 54" tall.

Memorial Maple

 We have just planted a specimen Japanese Maple
[Acer palmatum 'Pung kil']
which was funded in memory of
Sarah O'Doherty
who lived across McCallum street
before her passing in 2016.

The deep burgundy leaves and purple stems offer a dramatic contrast to the corrugated foliage of Hosta 'Deep Blue Sea.' And in the fall, the delicate Maple leaves should turn a vivid eye-catching red!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bloom du jour

The hot pink flowers located at bottom right in this photo are Bletilla striata. It's an uncommon but locally hardy plant sometimes called Chinese Ground Orchid. Its most notable feature is the elegant little orchid flowers that bloom from May into June. This woodland edge plant (part sun/part shade) also has elegant wide foliage blades which are attractive through the growing season and take on a golden color in the fall.  Here, we have paired this plant with the large umbrella-like leaves of local native May Apple (Podophyllum peltatum).

Monday, May 22, 2017


A book reading on Kids Literacy Day drew a healthy crowd along with celebrity guests, Frog and Toad to our very own neighborhood park!

A comfortably cool May 20th saw a day of fun with a parade from co-sponsor Big Blue Marble Bookstore to Ned Wolf Park.  After a reading and some tasty snacks, there were more readings by a group of children's book authors back at the store.

Thanks also to Mt. Airy USA which is actively trying to raise awareness of our community's Little Free Libraries and sposor book drives to support them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Drive and Readings

Celebrating the Little Free Library in Ned Wolf Park, bring your children to this 11th Annual Kids' Literacy Festival event.   The event kicks off at the Big Blue Marble Bookstore starting at 10 am.  At 11 am, join a parade with storybook characters Frog & Toad over to Ned Wolf Park.  If you have books, especially children's books, to donate to keep our Little Free Library stocked, please bring them.  For more information, visit

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pots, Plants 4 Sale

We are excited to offer at the upcoming May 6th Plant Sale a collection of outdoor pots donated by Campania International, inc.

These pots will be offered for sale at super bargain prices along with hundreds of perennial plants for sun and shade, shrubs, garden tools, tomato seedlings, etc.  And all proceeds go to maintain and improve this public park.

The sale will be held on Saturday, May 6th
from 10 am to 1 pm. 
Fair warning: On the morning of the sale, we close the park to set up and allow no browsing until 10 am sharp.  By then, we usually have crowds waiting for the rarest plants or best bargains.

Come join us for a fun sale!

Heavy rain date is Sunday, May 7th, same hours

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Squirrel Corn & Bloodroot

Two ephemeral native wildflowers are thriving under the cherry trees near the McCallum Street entrance walk into the park. No one is sure where they came from, since they were not intentionally planted. We suspect they may have been dormant tag-alongs with other plants donated to the park.

The upper photo shows a spreading patch of Dicentra canadensis. Its deep green, finely cut foliage, accented by clean white flowers, grows from yellow tubers that give it its quirky common name, Squirrel Corn. It is spreading more quickly each year into an area planted by chartreuse Japanese Forest Grass which will lengthen to fully conceal it as it goes dormant by summer.

The lower photo shows the unusual leaves of Sanguineria canadensis, which has delicate white flowers that last only a few days in early April. Curiously, it too gets its common name, Bloodroot, from its underground structure, a rhizome that bleeds red (toxic) juice.

2017 Plant Sale

The Friends of Ned Wolf Park
will host our annual fund-raising
Saturday, May 6th
10am to 1pm

If anyone would like to donate plants
please bring them to the park on Friday evening or as early on Saturday morning as you can 
so plants can be priced and organized
before the 10 am start

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


For the second year in a row,
Spring has come with a new patch of tulips that has sprouted unbeknownst to the Friends of Ned Wolf Park Design Group that has planted the gardens since 2007.

This patch appeared in the island bed in an area where low-growing Sedum and Pennisetum are planted.

Last year, a group of tulips appeared near McCallum Street, planted amongst the June-blooming Astilbe.
Our gardeners are happy to include anyone interested in contributing to the plantings, but we do think it best to work together.

Will the real Tulip Fairy please stand up and introduce yourself to the team?