The Community’s Garden

The Old Tennis Court Farm is now the community’s garden.

On May 18, 2018, Natural Lands purchased the 0.65-acre parcel of land at 5407 Wissahickon Avenue, 19144 on behalf of the community.

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The site of the Old Tennis Court Farm community garden, the land was purchased in part through a grant of $225,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Greenways, Trails and Recreation program and the funds that community members contributed to meet the purchase price and related costs.

In the coming months, Natural Lands will transfer the title to Neighborhood Gardens Trust, with which the Old Tennis Court Farm community garden has been affiliated since reopening in May 2017.

In other words, this neighborhood asset is here to stay.

Now and for the years to come, families and individuals in Germantown and East Falls will be able to grow fresh, organic vegetables and fruits for their own tables and those of their neighbors in need. Each year, up to eight 12' x 12' community plots will yield fresh, organic produce for local food security programs.

We thank Germantown Friends School for giving the community the opportunity to purchase the land. We thank the many people who have been so generous with their support in so many ways. We thank Germantown United CDC for serving as fiscal sponsor for the community fund-raising. And we thank especially Natural Lands and Neighborhood Gardens Trust for acting on the community’s behalf.

 

Spread the Love

Among those who helped during Cloverly’s spring 2018 Love Your Park service day were volunteers from Fishtown, Center City, and South Philadelphia. The teachers and many of the students from Fitler Academics Plus also made the trip to Cloverly from other parts of the city.

So, let’s return some of that love.

Philadelphia's park system is extensive and varied, and the activities during Love Your Park Week offer a chance to explore and experience other parks and parts of the city.
From classes to food-fests, tours and, yes, service days, see the full calendar of Love Your Park Week events across the city from May 12 to 19 at https://loveyourpark.org/.

One of the many events is the annual plant sale at nearby Ned Wolfe Park in Mt. Airy. For some years we have coordinated with sister park and advocacy group the Friends of Ned Wolfe Park to ensure that our plant sales are not on the same day. Learning that we lost most of our stock to the harsh winter and had to cancel our sale planned for May 6, they extend an invitation to the Friends of Cloverly Park.

Friends of Ned Wolfe Park Plant Sale, Saturday, May 19, 10am to 1pm 7018 McCallum Street (McCallum and W. Ellet Streets). Heavy rain date: May 20

 

Well Loved

April 28 was perhaps the first warm, sunny Saturday of the year, and Cloverly Park was abuzz with activity as 8th-grade students and their teachers from Fitler School and women of the Villanova chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority joined park neighbors for the spring 2018 Love Your Park Day of Service.

With all that person-power (and fueled by park neighbors’ gifts of cookies, muffins, and donuts), we collected storm debris and litter from all around the park and cleared invasive vegetation from two big garden areas. (See the photo of the huge pile of branches and 51 bags filled.)

Most importantly, we met a long-delayed goal of refreshing play areas. Thanks to the energetic volunteers, a massive pile of woodchips from Schectman Tree Care is now a carpet under the park’s play equipment and mulch under seven trees.

Many thanks to those who came from near and not-so-near and worked so hard: you made Cloverly’s 2018 Spring Love Your Park Day of Service a success.

Fairmount Park Conservancy and Parks & Recreation provide support, tools, and mulch not only for Cloverly but also for the hundred or so parks that participate in the twice-yearly service days that are part of Love Your Park, the citywide celebration of Philadelphia’s remarkable and varied park system.

We were among the “early birds” this year, getting a jump on Love Your Park Week.
Check out the events for Love Your Park Week 2018 (May 12 to 19) at https://loveyourpark.org/.

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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/ .
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