Fall 2017 – Mariel Rosati ’08 knew there was a connection between her employer, Wyck House in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, and Bryn Mawr: former residents Jane Bowne Haines and Mary Troth Haines graduated in 1891 and 1914, respectively, and family descendant Margaret Howell Bacon was from the class of 1918.
Plus, the College was represented in its collection of more than 10,000 objects saved by the family over nine generations, including notes and papers from Jane’s student days. And after a bit of sleuthing, Rosati found a lantern tucked away on the third floor. “I instantly knew it was a Bryn Mawr lantern,” she says.
“One of Wyck’s most significant objects [is] an engraved work of art on paper. It is a sweeping panorama of Constantinople, dated 1813, and engraved by Thomas Palser and Henry Baker of London. Measuring over 12.5 feet long, this engraving has been at Wyck for over 200 years.”
“Ornithologist Matt Halley is Ed’s guest today. From natural selection to Audubon, species diversity to urban birding to the belief of something in spite of the facts, Matt and Ed’s conversation is rich. Matt is the guest speaker at the the Wyck Summer Speaker 2017: Audubon and Wyck: The Dawn of American Science on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.”
Matthew Halley is an ornithologist, historian, and Ph.D. candidate at Drexel University and the Academy. Matthew was resident caretaker of Wyck in 2010, and has been studying the Wyck collections for eight years. He recently published five lost letters of John James Audubon, including a copy of the lost American prospectus for The Birds of America. Matthew will present and discuss an array of primary sources from the Wyck collection, including many that have not been previously scrutinized by scholars, that present a fresh and intimate picture of the early American scientific community, and the historical Philadelphia in which they lived.
“In the early years, the flowers were tended by four generations of women from the homeowning family; the garden still contains plants from the nineteenth century design. Wyck horticulturist Martha Keen describes the garden as “resistant to change,” noting that all the cultivars are old garden varieties. Old garden roses are exceptionally fragrant and double flowering; however, they only bloom once per year. Their strong fragrance and fleeting flowers set them apart from modern cultivars, and make their blooms especially treasured.”
Founded in 2008, Terrain transforms the local garden center into a celebration of nature. Their lifestyle offerings are inspired by the idea of merging house and garden to create an experience for the senses, catering to their customer with a curated assortment of plants for all seasons, as well as inspired items for the home and garden. Situated in a luxurious indoor-outdoor environment, their on-site nurseries are flanked by cafe and garden terrace, providing the ideal environment to host events and workshops.
“In Philly, the opportunity to live rent-free in a 300-year-old house doesn’t come around very often. When it does, it gets snatched up fast. Last month, a resident caretaker position became available at Germantown’s Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm, one of the oldest houses in the city. For this live-work position, abatement of rent was offered for performing a four-page list of duties, including: changing light bulbs, serving as a back-up tour guide, and feeding the chickens daily. Oh, and collecting their eggs.
Sound like an unreasonable exchange? The position was filled within five days.”
“This garden is a darling plot of land adjacent to the historic Wyck House in the heart of Germantown. Walk down the avenue between Walnut and High streets on any given sunny day between early summer and fall, and you’ll likely smell the garden before you actually see it. The sweet, billowing fragrance of more than 50 cultivars of fresh roses waft over the fence and into the neighborhood.”
Brittany Barbato is a Philadelphia-based writer, photographer, and videographer whose work uses individuals’ stories to inspire action on key issues such as poverty, healthcare, education, and the environment. Having served as a communications and digital media professional for both nonprofit and corporate organizations, she’s witnessed how content focused on folks who are finding solutions can forge real pathways for building stronger communities.
“If you’re looking for a spot to shoot your own engagement photos, graduation portraits, or just want to ramp up the florals in your Instagram/Snapchat, check out Wyck House in Philadelphia, PA.”
“Located in the Northern area of the city, Wyck House boasts the oldest rose garden in original plan America, and in the Spring the space is overrun with roses, which makes for a delightfully-fragrant and visually-dazzling experience. (Peak times of year are May and June.) Unlike a traditional rose garden– where roses tend to be confined to their quadrants– the roses of Wyck House grow in great masses, trailing up terraces and winding across walls, for a petaled spectacle that looks as though it was transported out of an idyllic corner of the English countryside. With benches tucked in between trailing branches, the gardens have a pervasive sense of backyard discovery, a quiet sanctuary on a busy street.”
“Driving to the Germantown section of Philadelphia, we came to Wyck House and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark. “The house was built in the 1700s on 50 acres,” Jennifer Carlson, executive director of the site, explained. “Nine generations of the same family have lived here, but now we only have 2.5 acres.” Taking us through the house, Jennifer pointed to many of the family’s prized possessions, including a rare shell collection and a display of medical implements.” Read the entire article here: http://culturemagazin.com/philadelphias-secret-gardens/.
Maureen Littlejohn is Culture Magazin’s executive editor. She is a Canadian award-winning journalist who has practiced her craft around the world including in the United States, Africa and Vietnam. Currently based in Toronto, she has a keen eye for detail and has a deep appreciation for the “East Meets West” approach of Culture Magazin. Travel is her passion and she is happy to be able to share her adventures on a regular basis with the magazine’s readers.