Popular Grave Gardeners program accepting applications for Spring 2018

Posted on 11 January 2018

The Woodlands’ Grave Gardeners program, which launched in 2016 and quickly became popular, is seeking a new group of volunteers to tend to cradle graves at the cemetery beginning this spring. These cradle graves were designed to be planters in the Victorian era, and volunteers will be tending to their assigned graves throughout the entire growing season (March – November).

Volunteers will receive guidance from the Woodlands through workshops, demonstrations and other events, as well as a wide variety of plant material. They’re also welcome to plant their own additional plants. Workshops will held in February and March to give gardeners a knowledge base for their work and more historical context for the program.  Continue Reading

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Update: Redevelopment Authority saves Wiota Street Community Garden

Posted on 13 April 2017

The Wiota Street Community Garden (from Google Street View).

The Redevelopment Authority voted to save the Wiota Street Community Garden yesterday, rejecting a sale of the land to a developer who planned to build residences on the property on the 4000 block of Powelton Avenue.

The land has been owned for decades by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, which heard a proposal yesterday to sell the land to AJR Endeavors LLC. Several residents attended the monthly authority meeting on Wednesday to speak in favor of the garden. Despite Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s support of the sale, the Authority unanimously voted against it, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Community members have been lobbying for years to keep the property a garden. A community meeting in December 2014 drew a pledge from Blackwell, who was present at the meeting, to help preserve the garden when developers expressed interest in the property.  Continue Reading

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Grave Gardeners sought for 2017 growing season at The Woodlands

Posted on 09 January 2017


The Woodlands Grave Gardener program is returning this spring for the second year and volunteers are needed. Here’s how it works:

rc2016007_490Each volunteer (75 are needed) will be assigned to adopt a “cradle” grave at The Woodlands during the 2017 growing season. These graves were originally designed to be planters, so the volunteers are expected to plant and tend to their assigned “cradle” grave throughout the growing season (March-October). All gardens will be designed with the Victorian Garden aesthetic in mind. An approved planting list has been created by The Woodlands to help guide the gardeners.

A series of gardening workshops will also be offered to the program participants. The first workshop, on Gardening for Beginners with Sally McCabe of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), will be held on February 1.

Those interested to participate in the program are asked to submit an application. The deadline is January 20.

For more information and to apply, click here.

(Photos courtesy of The Woodlands).

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Rally to save Wiota Street Garden planned for Sunday, Sept. 18

Posted on 13 September 2016


Photo from the Wiota St. Garden’s Facebook page.

Community members are invited to attend a rally in West Powelton on Sunday, Sept. 18 in another attempt to save the Wiota Street Community Garden from development. The garden was established in 1984 on a vacant lot at the corner of Wiota St. and Powelton Ave. and has been providing area residents with fresh produce for eight months of the year since then. Plans were revealed in 2014 to build housing on the site of the garden, but tenuous community consensus to preserve the garden was reached at a December 2014 public meeting with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. However, the garden has again come under threat as reported recently by Hidden City.

The rally will be held at the garden (4022 Powelton Ave.), beginning at 4 p.m., and the organizers are asking the participants to bring a picnic.  Continue Reading

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New Greensgrow West location to open Friday, Aug. 12; Grand Opening next month

Posted on 11 August 2016

Greensgrow 1

Greensgrow’s new, larger and more permanent location at 5123 Baltimore Avenue is ready to welcome its first customers. The soft opening is this Friday, so stop by and check it out. Grand Opening is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8. The former temporary Greensgrow West location at 4912 Baltimore Ave. closed on August 7.

Greensgrow signed a long-term lease with the city for 5123-29 Baltimore Ave. in Spring 2015 and began developing the new lot late last year. Previously empty and overgrown with bamboo, the new site was reimagined by student architects from Drexel University who gathered input from local residents with an eye towards green building practices.

The site features a high tunnel, demonstration green roofs and rain gardens, repurposed shipping containers, and even a tiny house. An outdoor classroom is being built by students from the Workshop School for Greensgrow’s educational workshops and will be open for neighborhood schools and organizations to use. Several West Philadelphia partners and organizations such as Cedar Park Neighbors, the Baltimore Avenue Business Association and the Philadelphia Water Department, contributed critical support to getting the site cleared for reuse. The new fence was built with the support of an Indiegogo campaign started by a neighbor.  Continue Reading

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Developer eyes Holly Street Community Garden for 6-unit building; meeting Thursday (updated)

Posted on 12 July 2016


UPDATE (July 15, 2016): The meeting turned out to be anticlimactic as the developer did not show up. The developer is seeking a zoning variance to build the apartment building. The land is zoned for single-family homes only. Those present at the meeting voted overwhelmingly against the variance.

University City’s hot real estate market is putting another community garden under pressure. A public meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, July 14 to discuss a proposed apartment building on one of the parcels that make up the Holly Street Neighbors Community Garden.

The garden is located on four small parcels along 41st Street between Baring and Powelton in the West Powelton neighborhood. A proposal to build a 6-unit apartment building at 320 N. 41st St. is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment in September. One of the four parcels that the garden sits on was up for Sheriff’s sale in May, but was taken off at the last minute. Another parcel is owned by a real estate company and a third parcel has recently been claimed as part of an inheritance.

HollyStreetcommunitygarden2The Holly Street property has officially been a community garden for about 12 years, but nearby residents have been planting on the vacant lots for decades.

“People have gardened here for years and years and years,” Winnie Harris, who has been managing the garden since it began, told Plan Philly in May. “We wanted the land before anyone else wanted it. And now just because University City is a hot real estate market, you want to build in every open space? I don’t think that’s right. I think the people that were there first should get preference.”

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Mount Zion Church at 4110 Haverford Ave.

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