Spring into love . . . your park

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You might still be cleaning up your yard or block after this winter’s storms, but we hope you will take a moment to mark your calendars for Saturday, April 28, 10am to 1pm, to give a little neighborly love to Cloverly Park.
Please join your neighbors and park friends on April 28 as we clear the accumulated storm debris, tend the park’s young trees, and prepare the gardens and play areas for summer. There are plenty of tasks for hands of all ages and abilities.
One such task is clearing invasive vegetation from the park’s unique “pathway garden” and replanting with native perennials, a project supported with a helpful recent grant from Weavers Way Environmental Committee.
Those with a long history in the neighborhood recall the tremendous effort made to pull Cloverly out of neglect and turn it into a neighborhood asset.  It takes ongoing time, energy, and resources to keep the park looking beautiful and welcoming. We know that weekends are precious time for family, friends, chores, and worship, and we appreciate those who make the effort to come out on these special service days, when having many hands makes certain tasks easier, even possible.
So please plan to come out and join us! We will supply work gloves, tools, water and snacks. Bring yourselves and a neighbor or friend!
In the meantime, check out TreePhilly’s yard tree giveaway: http://treephilly.org/registration-spring-giveaway-season-open/ and save the date for Friends of Cloverly Park’s annual Plant Sale (perennials, small shrubs, veggies), Sunday, May 6 (details to follow).
See you in the park!


Grow with us!

The Old Tennis Court Farm community garden is now welcoming members for the 2018 season.
Full-sized plots (12 feet x 12 feet) are $40 for the season. A few half-plots (12 feet x 6 feet) are available for $20 for the season. Those new to gardening can tap the expertise of more seasoned members.
The Old Tennis Court Farm operates as a collaborative effort: in addition to caring for their own plots, members share in the upkeep of the garden as whole, including a set of community benefit plots whose harvest is donated to local organizations that provide food to those in need. 
The Old Tennis Court Farm is an affiliate of Neighborhood Gardens Trust (www.ngtrust.org). For more information about becoming a member of the Old Tennis Court Farm, use the contact form at www.oldtenniscourtfarm.org.


TLC for Cloverly’s trees

Cloverly Park’s trees are a significant part of its natural beauty and appeal. But maintaining them—ensuring proper growth, monitoring for disease, minimizing risk from dead or damaged branches, planting “successor” trees long before our old ones are gone, and mitigating damage caused by storms and people (sadly, yes, this happens)—takes time and resources.

Parks & Recreation can provide some services for our trees, but with more than 10,000 acres of parkland to maintain, it cannot give specialized care in the time frame needed.

If we care about keeping Cloverly’s trees healthy and beautiful for years to come, it is up to us, the park’s friends and neighbors.

As a first step, we need to store some money in the bank for occasions like the recent work needed on the katsura and the paulonia.  
    •    To make a donation to the Tree Campaign, please print and fill out the attached form to mail a check to the Friends of Cloverly Park

We should also have in place a comprehensive plan for the park’s trees—caring for Cloverly’s oldest trees, ensuring that our new and maturing ones get a great start on a long life, and continuing to plant successors to our big beauties. We are forming a committee to take up this task.
    •    If you are interested in joining the tree committee, please leave a message via the contacts page of the Friends of Cloverly Park website or email cloverlypark@yahoo.com

Learn more...

Tree rescue!

Thanks to the generosity of Cloverly Park's friends, we will be able to move ahead and contract for the professional tree work need for the park's katsura and paulonia. Many, many thanks to those who made contributions.

Before the arborist begins the work, our next step is to clear the large area under the katsura of the growth that is robbing this shallow-rooted tree of moisture.

We will meet at 9:30am on Saturday, July 29, and would hope to finish by 11:30am. (The more hands we have the sooner we will finish.) All ages and abilities welcome: we will be pulling plants and bagging them up for Parks & Rec to compost.

If you can join us, please let us know by Tuesday July 25.

In the garden, in the park

We have news from the community garden and an urgent need from the park.

First, the news. The Old Tennis Court Farm community garden is open! The property owner agreed to an interim lease with Neighborhood Gardens Trust, and thanks to the tremendous effort of the gardeners, park neighbors, and volunteers who cleared more than 20 months of overgrowth in just a couple weeks, there will be a 2017 harvest. (There are a few plots left; those interested should go to www.oldtennsicourtfarm.org). In the meantime, the purchase process is moving along, with the environmental assessments and survey now complete.

Now, the need. Two of Cloverly Park's beautiful old trees, the soaring katsura (near the School House Lane steps) and the enormous pawlonia, urgently need some professional care that Parks & Recreation cannot provide at this time (see the dedicated page with photos). We have found a trusted arborist who has given us a very, very reasonable proposal for the work. However, we need to raise $1,500 to ensure that these treasures get the timely and special care they need. We also need to clear the growth around the katsura.

Can we pull together to help give Cloverly's trees this urgent TLC?
    •    To contribute, please use this form and mark the "tree campaign" box.
    •    If you would be willing to come out to the park for a couple hours to help clear vegetation around the katsura, please let us know via email to cloverlypark@yahoo.com

While new vegetable plots and towering old trees may seem disparate topics, what joins them is gratitude. We thank the many people who came out for the Cloverly’s spring Love Your Park service day and so generously gave of their time: park neighbors and gardeners, a group of men from the Drexel University chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha, and middle-school students and teachers from Fitler School.  And we are so grateful to Natural Lands Trust and Neighborhood Gardens Trust, our partners in the Old Tennis Court Protection Project, for everything they are doing to effect the purchase of the Old Tennis Court Farm site.



The Old Tennis Court Farm is Open for the Summer 2017 Season!

We have wonderful news to share:  Germantown Friends School, the current owner of the Old Tennis Court Farm property and our partner Neighborhood Gardens Trust, have entered into a license agreement allowing the Old Tennis Court Farm to operate once again.  This means that while the sale process from GFS to Natural Lands Trust continues, the garden will function.
But first, we need to clear away nearly 20 months of overgrowth, rev up the solar-powered pump and irrigation system, and make some repairs.
And for that we need YOU.
You can help four ways:
1. Come out to the garden and help clear the plots and the surrounding area.
Our first service day will be Saturday, May 20, from 9am to 2pm. We will host a day of reclamation work as part of Cloverly Park’s Love Your Park day of service. Whether you can help for one hour or three, please join us.
2. Purchase perennials at the Friends of Cloverly Park Plant Sale on Saturday, May 20, from 12 noon to 3pm.
3. Contribute to the Old Tennis Court Farm Protection Project as we complete the purchase and begin to address deferred maintenance at the site. Go to www.friendsofcloverlypark.org
4.  Become a member of the Old Tennis Court Farm gardener community.  More information at:  www.oldtenniscourtfarm.org


One (big) step closer: Update on the Old Tennis Court Farm Protection Project

On schedule, at the close of 2016, the Old Tennis Court Farm Protection Project met an important first milestone in the acquisition of the land at 5407 Wissahickon Avenue: while fund-raising continues toward the community match goal of $75,000 toward purchase and post-purchase site improvements, the purchase process can now begin.
Funds have been raised to begin the purchase process. Contributors to date include individuals, community organizations, private philanthropies, corporate donors, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Commonwealth Financing Authority, via the Greenways, Trails and Recreation program.
The Old Tennis Court Farm is now under agreement with Natural Lands Trust for acquisition. It is planned that in early 2017 Natural Lands Trust will purchase the property from Germantown Friends School and soon thereafter transfer the land to the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation as an addition to Cloverly Park. During its ownership by Natural Lands Trust and, in time, the City, the garden will be leased to Neighborhood Gardens Trust, a role that NGT already fills for other gardens under city ownership, providing insurance coverage and other resources for these community gardens.
Efforts are underway to open the garden in April 2017. Pending approval by the owner, while the purchase is being finalized, the Old Tennis Court Farm Protection Project would have access to the site in order to prepare for a full 2017 growing season.
There is still much work ahead to complete the acquisition and reopen the garden, but we have reached this important first milestone because of the many people who have already given their support—in so many varied forms—to this project. We are deeply grateful for the generosity and enthusiasm that so many have already have contributed.
One important form of support is communicating to the broader public about the effort. We appreciate the interest of the local press, park advocacy groups, and the environmental community, most recently via an article by Mike Weilbacher, executive director of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. (Read Mike’s article here.)

We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress toward the goal of acquiring the site, reactivating the Old Tennis Court Farm, and maintaining it as productive public greenspace.


Falling in Love (with your park)

Many thanks to those friends and neighbors who came out for the fall Love Your Park service day on Saturday!

Among them were our newest neighbors, Charter Court's new owners and management team, who joined long-time employees and residents to work alongside us.

Fueled by hot cider, coffee, and donuts provided by Charter Court, we planted daffodil and crocus bulbs around the dogwood trees along Wissahickon Avenue, cleared the "Pathway" garden of weeds and overgrowth, removed vines and other invasives from the entire south border of the park, tended the trees, removed storm debris and litter, made some repairs, and raked up leaves. The enormous amount of organic matter that was assembled will come back to us as mulch, thanks to the special pick-up that Parks & Recreation ran on Saturday.

Weekends are precious time for family, friends, chores, and worship, and we appreciate those who make the effort to come out on these special service days, when having many hands makes certain tasks easier, even possible.

But keeping Cloverly's two acres beautiful requires near-daily attention. We know there are many who, as a matter of course, pick up trash and litter in and around the park, move fallen branches to the main entrance for pick-up, or even tend a section of the gardens.

Thank you to all who help keep Cloverly a beautiful neighborhood asset.

Within reach!

Through the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development has awarded our partner, Natural Lands Trust, a grant of $225,000 in support of the purchase of the site at 5407 Wissahickon Avenue.

This award, along with the tremendous generosity of the community, which to date has committed more than $40,000 in outright gifts and pledges, puts the purchase and preservation of the site of the Old Tennis Court Farm within reach!

You can help close the gap of $12,000 to meet the full purchase price of $277,000:

For more about the state award, see the press release from the office of Rep. Rosita Youngblood, who championed our cause.