Garden Photo of the Day

A Garden Made by a Community

Eric Sternfels has shared his beautiful home garden with us before, but today he’s leading us to a beautiful and unusual public garden space.

I am a leading garden designer for a small, community ornamental garden called Ned Wolf Park that is located in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. Two well-skilled local gardeners, acting as volunteers in coordination with the local Parks and Recreation Department, have worked with me to create this Pennsylvania Historical Society award-winning garden.

Eric also let me know that Syd Carpenter, whose beautiful garden we’ve also featured recently, is another one of the designers/maintainers of this garden. How lucky to have such a strong, talented, garden-loving community!

Welcome to Ned Wolf Park! What a pleasure it must be for people in this neighborhood to have such a space so close at hand.

In this beautiful vignette from the garden, a warm-colored rose contrasts with blue catmint (Nepeta × faassenii, Zones 3–10).

This view of the garden includes pink Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica, Zones 4–9) in the foreground.

A springtime combination of warm peach tulips and rich-blue grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum, Zones 3–9) is set off with the acid-green flower heads of a euphorbia (Euphorbia sp.).

This looks like something out of a romantic painting. Various perennials in shades of blue and purple are set off perfectly with a mass of bright yellow foliage. Just magical.

Another inspired use of bright yellow foliage. Repeating the same elements throughout the planting really ups the impact and pulls the space together.

Holiday lights are tastefully displayed to provide interest and beauty in the garden in the off-season.

Ornamental onions (Allium sp.) stand tall, with their big, purple spheres of flowers creating a striking architectural feature.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/01/2019


  2. nwphillygardener 03/01/2019

    I would like to share some of the plant names/cultivars not included by the GOPD editor:
    Rosa 'Tequila' - a reblooming shrub rose.
    Tulipa 'Dordogne' with shades of salmon and tangerine located with Euphorbia myrsinites, aka donkeytail spurge.
    Deutzia 'chardonnay pearls' is the yellow foliage in two images
    Spirea 'Anthony Waterer' with medium pink flowers is in foreground with p
    'Peach drift' shrub roses in the island planting bed beyond.
    Allium 'Ambassador' has tripled in number since the first 10 bulbs were planted and are the most commonly mentioned plant by the community. Little kids love them!
    Our forest of illuminated holiday trees are inverted tomato cages simply wrapped with light strings, barely visible until their timer turns them on at dusk.

    1. Musette1 03/01/2019

      thank you so much for this! Much appreciated. I thought that might be T. 'Dordogne'!!! and I LOVE the 'holiday trees'!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/01/2019

    Count this 71 year old gardener in with the "little kids" who love the alliums...which stand so tall and straight...they are the "Queen's Guards" of the spring bulb world. I am also captivated by the trio color combo of the peach tulips, chartreusy euphorbia, and blue grape hyacinths...that grouping sings such a happy song.
    This is a delightful public garden and your area is blessed to have it as part of the neighborhood.

    1. nwphillygardener 03/01/2019

      Seeing a four year old break free of her parents hand-holding to run over to the four feet tall allium makes lots of the thankless tasks of being a volunteer worth while. So is watching the rhythmic unison movements of Tai Chi class that take advantage of our shaded plaza. When white Iris tectorum bloom briefly behind the Tai Chi practitioners in May, it's like a dream.

      1. nwphillygardener 03/01/2019

        For Pinterest users, you can see those iris on the board which included all these pictures today.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 03/01/2019

    This is my live in a community with other gardeners that care to make an otherwise neglected, or insignificant green space into an uplifting place of beauty.

    1. nwphillygardener 03/01/2019

      And we use the park to host a really popular annual plant sale featuring mostly, divisions of the park's surpluses plus those from many neighbor's gardens. The well attended event brings folks together to teach and to learn about the plants, about gardening in general, and to improve visibly the character of our urban but leafy neighborhood

      1. Musette1 03/01/2019

        that's marvelous!

  5. btucker9675 03/01/2019

    What a wonderful garden! Love the idea of the upside down tomato cages as lighted "trees" for the Holidays - I'm going to steal it next Christmas! Thank you for sharing this community treasure.

    1. nwphillygardener 03/01/2019

      Different size cages helps the effect. And to anchor them into the ground on a slope, we strapped on some pieces of steel wire recycled from political lawn signs after election day.

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