Garden Photo of the Day

Spring in Ned Wolf Park

A beautiful garden created and shared by a community

plant with pink/purple flowers

Eric Sternfels has shared pictures of Ned Wolf Park in Philadelphia before (A Garden Made by a Community), but he sent in these photos because he said it was clear that the May bloom bonanza needed documentation. He was clearly right! This park is lovingly maintained by local volunteer gardeners and is a marvelous space.

large pink flowers in the parkPaeonia ‘Flame’ (Zones 3–8) repeats the color tones in the park’s emblem, as recently painted on the party wall of the 19th-century twin house that adjoins the park. A fire in the 20th century left empty this site, which was a 1920s gas station and a city park in the 1970s. The park’s emblem is a hybrid of a traditional fleur-de-lis and a stylized leaf shape.

large pink flowers next to delicate purple flowersHere is a close-up of the Allium christophii (Zones 4–8) that intermingles with the ‘Flame’ peony.

garden bed with perennials and shrubsA muted tone of the coral color repeats with Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’ (Zones 4–8), which pairs well with white Japanese roof iris (Iris tectorum ‘Alba’, Zones 4–9) and the richly marbled foliage of Helleborus × ericsmithii ‘Sun Marble’ (Zones 5–9). Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, Zones 3–9) is waiting in the wings for its moment to thrill.

garden with lots of foliage plants and white flowersMore of the shade-loving white roof iris is paired with different blue hostas, Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Zones 5–9), and Carex siderosticha (Zones 5–8). At the upper left, you can see a Little Free Library box that offers free books to anyone visiting the park.

foliage plantings under a treeMostly native plants surround one of the sophora trees (Sophora japonica, Zones 4–8): Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pennsylvania, Zones 3–7), Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense, Zones 4–6), Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides, Zones 3–9), and maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum, Zones 3–8).

plant with pink/purple flowersOur clump of the Chinese ground orchid (Bletilla striata, Zones 5–9) gets bigger every year in equal parts sun and shade.

close up of orchid bloomPark visitors are astonished to see a hardy orchid growing in Philadelphia.

flowers with light and dark purple petalsThe park has an unnamed German bearded iris (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–8) that has a joy-inducing fragrance of root beer. Children pull Mom and Dad over to give a sniff.

close up of inside of irisGo ahead—take a sniff and imagine the bubbling brown foam releasing a sassafras scent.

park garden with benchThanks for visiting the park!


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View Comments


  1. nwphilagardener 06/08/2022

    I thought I would add the link to one more photo series of this park:

    1. islandlover 06/08/2022

      Thank you for sending photos of this amazing park again. We need more community gardens! We need joy in this world.

  2. Maggieat11 06/08/2022

    Wonderful ❣️. Well worth a visit sometime. Thank
    You for sharing to bring awareness to this garden.🌿

    1. nwphilagardener 06/08/2022

      The park is only 50 feet wide by 150 feet wide, but it really is a peaceful oasis in the City. Free Tai Chi classes several times each week take advantage of the calming beauty of flowers and lush foliage.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/08/2022

    Everything is so lovely.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 06/08/2022

    And this garden is my idea of Utopia!
    People with a sense of community, working together to beautify their surroundings, free books, benches and all in a super beautiful garden!
    And I looked at the link NWPhilaGardener shared and love seeing how much different seasons change the beauty of the garden!

  5. jos29803 06/08/2022

    Beautiful in its simplicity. Congratulations to the volunteers and the community for creating a wonderful space to enjoy.

  6. nwphilagardener 06/08/2022

    As the year's pass, we look to add something showy with bloom when there have been lulls. We don't have a hose bib so we don't grow plants that demand frequent watering. And we avoid most plants that leave behind ratty foliage that can't be fully cut back. We also try for re-bloom.
    Already, the next set of blooms have begun. A Clematis 'Prince Charles', miscellaneous Campanula, Astilbe, Hydrangea, and soon Globe Thistle and Butterfly Weed.

  7. btucker9675 06/08/2022

    Marvelous community garden - love how gardening brings people together and makes everything around the gardens so much better.

  8. ReineY 06/09/2022

    Thank you for sharing

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