“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.”
As the hot days of summer begin to descend upon us and the rose season largely came and went, I find that days in the garden are very different from from earlier in the season, but no less beautiful and gratifying. Pruning of the rose beds has begun; the appearance will be changing a bit from what we have seen in previous seasons. In an effort to give the beds a more manicured and managed look, roses will be more clearly separated by species, pruned back harder to create more sturdy shapes, and labels made more clear and abundant. I am very excited about the changes we will see in subsequent seasons, and hope our guests will be, too! Here is a look at two of our later season bloomers, both climbers and arranged in beautiful fountain formations in the center parterre where our historic magnolia stands.
Though we have reached the end of the road this season for many of our rosey blooms, the heat of summer is beginning to usher in the flowers of many of our other perennials and shrubs. Here is a sampling of what is currently in bloom.
In other exciting news, and as the subject line suggests, we have a fabulous collaboration underway with the Longwood Graduate Fellows Professional Outreach Program (POP) of Longwood Gardens. This summer, Wyck was selected as the site for the graduate students’ summer POP, and how grateful and excited we are. The fellows will be redesigning signage on the property, redesigning and installing new mixed rose and perennial beds on the perimeter of the rose garden along the fence line, and helping to strategize fundraising and grant opportunities. The fellows are so talented and bright, interested and interesting, and I am thrilled to have them with us! More updates to come!
Next Saturday, July 12, is our Community and History Festival from 12-4 featuring local music and food, free house and garden tours, and talks from local experts on ornithology and the history of women in Philadelphia horticulture. Come out and join us for some fun!
So the garden is really coming along beautifully after long and arduous preparations leading up to the Rose and Garden Festival. Though the flush of the peak bloom is about two weeks behind due to the late frosts, we are beginning to see hints of color popping up here and there in the beds as the roses begin to emerge. I am also beginning the process of propagating our historic roses, and just today, made a new nursery for them as a holding place once the cuttings take root and are ready for sale.
Before we get to the pictures of some of the gorgeous roses in bloom, it is certainly worthwhile to mention a few other beauties that are blooming in both the formal gardens and in the wood lot. Both the Chionanthus, or fringe tree, and irises are in bloom. I have included pictures of irises in previous posts, but I wanted to include photos of a few of the most spectacular irises I have seen. In the perimeter beds surrounding the rose garden, there are fantastic deep royal purple irises, the likes of which pictures can hardly do justice. With that said, I included them below to entice you to see them for yourself!
And now for the main event… some of the roses! Follow @wyckhouse on Instagram and like our Facebook page to keep up with #WyckRoseWatch to see the new blooms as they spring up and to watch the progression of the garden!
Stay tuned for more rose updates as they come! In the meantime, contact me on here on my “Contact” page if you are interested in a tour of the rose garden or want to purchase any of our historic roses!
Yesterday, Saturday, May 17, was Wyck’s Free Rose and Garden Festival. It was a gorgeous day with comfortable weather, a nice breeze, great people, and lots of fun. Several hundred people were in attendance, so thanks to everyone who came out to support Wyck and enjoy the day with us!
Posted about the gardens yesterday were signs with #WyckRoseWatch posted on them. Because our blooms are a bit behind due to some late frosts, Wyck is having a social media campaign to keep everyone posted for the arrival of peak bloom season in our garden. Add us on Instagram @wyckhouse or follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with our blooms. Here is a rose I caught yesterday with open buds adorning the south side of the house, and another hybrid perpetual rose in the garden just about to explode!
In addition to the roses, we have other lovely flowers in bloom, especially around the perimeter beds.
Toward the back of the garden, there is a small circular bed just in front of the summer house that used to house a bird bath. Recently, the bath was replaced with a pomegranate hybrid that is hardy in our region. Until a few days ago, I was concerned that the long, harsh winter was too much for this plant, and that the thorny branches dessicated and died. I am happy to report that my earlier suspicions were incorrect, and the pomegranate is beginning to leaf out and will perhaps flower and fruit, after all!
Last, but certainly not least, we have a new addition to our Wyck family. She was debuted yesterday at the Rose and Garden Festival, and was a hit with the kids! Everyone, meet Cousin Anne!
I hope to see everyone at our free Rose & Garden Festival this Saturday from noon to 4:00! It is sure to be a good time with lovely weather… food, community, education, music, and fun!
Preparations have been crazy, but nature tends to manage itself quite well without our interventions, and as such the gardens are progressing beautifully. We have some blooms popping up here and there in the beds, which is both exciting and lovely. The rose blooms are a little behind this year because of the late frosts we had, so be sure to check in on social media #WyckRoseWatch to see what is popping up as the season progresses!
I also had some special visitors in the garden this week to help with preparations. My friends Liz and Patrick offered to volunteer in the gardens with some maintenance and mulching to prepare for the festival, which is always appreciated. Thanks friends! Volunteer days are every Wednesday from 9am to noon, so please contact me if you are interested in lending a hand and spending time in a beautiful, historic landscape!
Finally, in my last post I mentioned that the area in which the holly once stood was going to be prepped with wood chips to make a new home for beehives. Well, here we have it!
I, Stephanie (our rose garden intern), and Chrissy (our gardener) have been working so very hard since the start of the season, and in particular, the past few weeks, to try to get the rose garden beds ready for the festival next weekend! We have made enormous headway, and it is beginning to look like we may be able to get all of our goals that we set for ourselves met before next weekend! The work is, of course, always in progress, but some major projects were completed recently and we are definitely moving in the right direction.
Firstly, after a herculean effort on all of our behalf, we finally completed the work on one of the main garden parterres, the bed containing an historic magnolia surrounded by a bed of one of our signature historic roses, ‘Lafayette.’ The bed was, dare I say, a complete disaster, and was riddled with weeds, rogue roses growing hither and yon, and lacked any sort of definition and order. The photo below could hardly to justice to the true overhaul that this area received, though I am proud to say that clear delineations can now be made between the boxwood hedge, the U-shaped bed of the ‘Lafayette,’ and the wood-chipped area around the magnolia that was once unusable, now a great area for “story time” for young gardeners passing through.
We received some extra hands from a Germantown local, as well, for completion of a facelift on our Summer House, now a bright and cheerful white.
A fun new addition will soon be moving into the gardens, as Jeff Eckel, our caretaker and skilled beekeeper, moves some of his hives into a newly cleared corner of the garden where a declining holly once stood. Tomorrow I look forward to weeding and leveling the area with wood chips to make a new home for the hives, but until that happens, here are the before and after pictures of the newly evacuated space!
Finally, as always, I leave you with some beautiful blooms from two trees blooming in our woodlot…enjoy!
This past Saturday, May 3, we were happy to spend a lovely morning and afternoon at Mt. Airy Day hosted by a sister Historic Germantown site, Cliveden. Our day started by gathering plants and other materials at Wyck, and heading out for a fun-filled day of getting to meet other interesting local vendors, organizations, and of course, food vendors! We had a great location at the entrance of the festival grounds, (thank you Historic Germantown!) and shared a tent with them in which we had a local honey tasting; sold our historic roses, farm transplants, and freshly harvested asparagus; and shared information about all of our free and fun upcoming events!
We had a lot of visitors that already knew us and stopped by our table to check-in about upcoming happenings, and also got to meet lots of new friends that maybe didn’t know the urban oasis that lies just “behind the fence!” There are always a lot of questions about our farmer’s market that starts May 30 (every Friday 2P-6P), our educational programs for kids, and our historic roses, about which I am always happy to ramble! The day also had its fill of political hopefuls coming and going from the grounds, and some visited our table, including Allyson Schwartz and Paul Glover, a green party governor hopeful and founder of the Philadelphia Orchard Project from which Wyck received fruit trees.
As the day began to wind down, we packed up our things and headed back to Wyck. Thanks so much to everyone to came out to support Mt. Airy Day, and to support Wyck! I did not leave the garden that day, however, without snapping a quick photo of these beauties!
Don’t forget to save the date… next Saturday, May 17, is our free Rose and Garden Festival at Wyck from 12P-4P! Come have fun with us!
All of these April showers are surely giving the earth a much needed soak for all of the upcoming May blooms! Our spring bulbs are well underway for the cycling of their flowers…we’ve seen the hope in every early spring snowdrop, the passing of the daffodils, and the continuation of blooms through to the now blooming trout lilies and tulips.
As the weather continues to warm and the work progresses, the beds are rapidly being weeded and mulched and the roses are beginning to leaf out in anticipation of pushing forth their celebrated buds!
On Monday, while Stephanie, our intern, and I were continuing the mulching, I took note of a subtle sweetness in the air mingling with the hearty, earthy scent of the mulch. I have been so consumed by getting the beds ready for our Rose and Garden Festival on May 17 and with preparing for our other programs, I almost totally missed the opening of the flowers on our lilac! Tucked in the corner of the rose garden just behind the fence is a lovely Syringa, which will soon be filling the air with its light, springtime scent.
The bleeding hearts along the ha-ha wall are in bloom, and throughout the neighborhood the red buds light up the landscape with purple flowers while the forsythias complement the purple with their yellow cheerfulness. On many blocks we also find the dogwoods in bloom, from deep pink to yellowy-white, like the dogwood in our rose garden pictured below.
We had another fun surprise this week on the grounds. Our beech had a branch that was growing crookedly, quite far down on the tree, interfering with the construction of our tent that we need to put up in preparation for a wedding happening on the Wyck grounds this Sunday. Arborists from American Arborist were kind enough to come out the same day to give us a quote and take out both the limb and other dead branches from our beech and a nearby cedar. The crew was fantastic… they were quick and efficient, as well as friendly and hilarious, and they even dumped their extra wood chips on our site to help us chip areas of our wood lot! Great folks there… I recommend them and look forward to forming a relationship with them to help us take care of our trees!
As I write this, rain is causing flooding on the streets of Philadelphia and pooling in our flower beds. I look forward to the rain slowing down so I can assess the beds tomorrow and get back to work. There is still much work to be done, and I am looking forward to doing it!
Today was another beautiful day in the gardens. The boxwood are hedged, beds edged, and we are about to start the heavy weeding and mulching that needs to be done before the Behind the Fence Rose Festival creeps up on us on May 17. It will be here before we know it!
This morning we had some visitors in the garden… Childspace Daycare brought a group and they were led by “Miss Chrissy,” our Youth Education Director, on a “Hunt for Spring” in the gardens. There is nothing better than watching a group of children running around attempting to identify plants and having fun outside in the gardens, right where they belong!
As the day progressed, I did my rounds to see what was popping up here and there over the grounds, and the signs of spring were abundant. Wafting in the breeze, I caught the sweet spring scent of the hyacinths pictured below.
I cannot help but feel the excitement as the roses begin to stretch and open up all over the gardens. From along the fence line and adorning the trellises, to the beds that are just waking up, sprigs of green are beginning to ornament the once bare branches signalling the impending blooms.
Continuing our survey, we find the blooms opening on the magnolia, reaching skyward with their deep pink centers and blush petals.
The final promise of spring is in the plump buds of the tulips sprinkled throughout the beds, just about ready to burst!
Come visit us at Wyck from Wednesday to Saturday from 1PM – 4PM to enjoy the change of season with us!