Bartram's Garden is unveiling a a new orchard, community gardens, plant nursery and education center at its start-of-the-season celebration this weekend.
Last year, workers cleared invasive shrubs and removed unused tennis courts and baseball fields from the southern end of the property to make way for a 1.5-acre community garden in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Agaston Urban Nutrition Initiative, the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Twenty five of the 60 plots are now being used by the community. The farm is being operated with help from John Bartram High School Students while a portion of the food is donated to PHS’s City Harvest Program for needy families. A new Green Resource Center will be used to provide seedlings for the UNI farm, community gardeners and for the Roots to Re-Entry green jobs training program this spring.
Near the new community garden, Bartram's Garden planted more than 40 heirloom fruit trees, in partnership with the Philadelphia Orchard Project. The Four Seasons of Philadelphia provided funding.
The Green Room, made possible by a $25,000 grant from the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and The Lang Family Foundation, will open in Bartram’s historic stable. The Green Room harkens back
to a time when the garden was a destination for curious travelers who wished to know more about nature and plants. Visitors will be able to borrow binoculars for bird watching and watercolors for painting. An educator will be on hand to answer questions and provide tours, and guest feedback will directly influence how the Green Room evolves.
“This space will not only help tell the Bartrams story but change with the seasons,” said Public Programs Manager Kim Massare in a printed statement. “For the month of May, the theme will be sprouts and dedicated to Bartram’s youngest visitors and garden enthusiasts.”
Coming this summer to Bartram’s Garden, a one-mile portion of the Schuylkill River Trail will be completed and connect to the 58th Street Greenway, the Cobbs Creek Parkway and eventually lead to Valley Forge and points beyond.
Guided tours of all of this, a plant sale, children's activities and other events will take place this weekend.
Members are invited to attend a preview for the grand opening on Friday, May 4, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. where they will have their first pick of plants and attend a special reception.
The garden will be open to all on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entrance is free. Day passes, which include a guided house and garden tour, and access to seasonal activities in the Green Room, are $8 to $12.
For more information, visit the Bartram's Garden website: www.bartramsgarden.org