Friday, April 18, 2014

Hoisting Bluestone

Today's agenda for building the Terrace Walls at Ned Wolf Park was the bulk of the heavy lifting.  The reclaimed bluestone which averages approximately 4" thick required a tripod lift (top left photo) to hoist these weighty seating capstones into place. But since the schist below varies in height, flagstone slices were inserted as shims to create a level surface.   Lots of pre-planning was needed to determine how to best position each of these unique stones.  The photo at the right shows the detail at the steps, where a full-width stone was turned perpendicular to the seating surround to create a bold and monumental corner.   The photo at bottom left shows that a similar detail was chosen to terminate the other side of the seating wall, which then will continue without a bluestone cap down the sloping walkway to McCallum Street.  And the top center photo shows that a few plants are being inserted into the wall as it approaches that sunny McCallum St. sidewalk.  Here, we have two slightly different varieties of Campanula:  C. porscharskyana and C. portenschlagiana.....commonly known as Serbian and Dalmation Bellflower. 

To help fund this project, you can scroll down to earlier blog posts or click "Older Posts" to read about the Donor Bricks which will help complete the project funding.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pollen & Dust

Just 6 days and 25 degrees more warmth have elapsed since the last post!  This time, the air around Ned Wolf Park is full of sinus clogging particles.   They come from both Mother Nature as well as the steady progress of our contractors from Morning Dew Stonework as they continue with our Terrace Wall Project.  The cherry trees have burst into bloom as have the Pushkinia bulbs and Euphorbia myrsinites.  And as the perennials begin to emerge from their cover of mulch, so too our stone seating wall made of Wissahickon schist has risen around our central terrace.  Fran and Brandon have used this windy day to take a break from stacking the stone and starting the messy work of sawing through the reclaimed bluestone that will serve as a seating cap on top of the new walls.  They'll be shaping the pieces and getting them ready for the additional laborers that will be needed to hoist those mammoth cap stones into place.

Caution tape to safeguard the plants, and string lines to define the finished height of the wall help guide our team to a wall which should serve our community well.  And after the steady rains forecast for tomorrow, perhaps we'll see a bit more of that schist sparkling, once all the stone dust has washed away.   Along the sloping walkway down to McCallum street & wrapping along the sidewalk, the Friends of Ned Wolf Park will be inserting some plants into the wall as it's being constructed.  That's the best way to ensure that the roots will have a pathway into the soil behind the wall.

The bluestone cap stones, perhaps originally quarried in the 19th C., are being trimmed with a carbide blade circular saw, kicking up quite a dust storm.  Sorry to those neighbors who are listening to that noise, but I'm sure it will all be worth it.  These cap stones will surround the central terrace and create a new seating area.  And the trimmings will be incorporated into the brick design that includes our generous donors' engraved bricks.
Despite the progress of our contractors, we still need some help to fund this Terrrace Wall Project.  You can help with your donation of $100. or more.   There are brochures that include an order form located in the info boxes in the park.   Or you can pay via PayPal directly on this website.  See the Donate button in the righthand column!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rock Mess Mantra

 What's the mantra? 
"Build it & they will come!" 
We're hoping the creation of a smooth bluestone seating surface on the low stone wall in our park's central terrace will help more small groups come to think of Ned Wolf Park as the best outdoor meeting place in Northwest Philadelphia!
Less than one week into the Terrace Wall Project and the demolition of railroad ties and trimming of the concrete paving is complete.  Today, Fran (with a baseball cap) and Brendan (with a knit cap) from Morningdew Stonework & Landscaping were wading in a sea of stones to find the right shape and sizes pieces to lay the base course of the dry laid wall.   They are both very excited to be getting into the artisan work of interlocking stones to create a strong, stable, and handsome wall.  The result should be subtle but sumptuous.   Feel free to give them a shout out for their efforts if you pass by while they're hard at work!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Terrace Wall Construction Begins!

     Behold the 'Yellow Mammoth' Crocus that are blooming furiously at Ned Wolf Park as construction begins for the Terrace Wall Project.  Although still shy of our fund-raising goal for this project, we've found a way to forge ahead so the new construction is completed in April 2014.  The Fairmount Park Conservancy's $10K Physical Improvements Grant moved us closer to the finish line, but we need to raise $2,000 with help from our friends and neighbors.

     Here are Morning Dew Stonework & Landscaping owner, Fran Hammond, and his assistant Brendan beginning demolition of the old creosoted railroad ties.  For the next three weeks, the terrace area and walkway from McCallum Street will be closed to visitors so the work may proceed.  Orange hazard fencing will define the construction work zone, but you can still visit the park and sit on the benches and enjoy the spring plantings as they slowly emerge from a severe winter slumber.

  This morning, our contractor hauled in some of the reclaimed bluestone which will cap the schist walls to form a seating surround for the central paved terrace in Ned Wolf Park.  This handsome material, rescued from a railroad embankment that was demolished in 2013, will be trimmed and set in place atop a wall made of Wissahickon Schist.  Although a remarkable improvement which will offer all sorts of opportunities for groups to meet together in the center of the park, we suspect the character of the local stone materials selected will look though they have been in the park for many decades.

      Above is the plan showing Phase II of the Terrace Wall Project, now underway.  An additional sum of $7K is needed for Phase III which will remove the last of the hazardous creosoted timbers from the Park which serve to edge all the planting beds along the concrete sidewalks.   We hope that our generous neighbors, inspired by the new stonework and the soon-to-be-installed custom engraved donor bricks, will continue to make donations and purchase the rich red bricks for the rejuvenated Terrace insert shown below.   Each can be inscribed with up to three lines of text to commemorate or thank a friend or loved one, or just to signal your support of this park and its handsome gardens.

These donations will make it possible for the Friends of Ned Wolf Park to work with the Parks & Recreation Department to complete the Project.  Your gift in any amount can be made directly via this website by clicking the donate button in the column at the right of this page.  Custom engraved bricks can be still purchased for a $100. donation.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Check out the sudden growth spurt on Ned Wolf Park's Trellis-O-Meter!    Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Fairmount Park Conservancy, it looks like Phase II of the Terrace Wall Project will be completed very soon indeed.  Kudos to the Friends of Ned Wolf Park for their persistent efforts to move this project forward for the community.
New stonework will soon replace the low retaining walls made of landscape ties which you now see in the park.   After 40 years of service, it's time for that failing creosoted wood to be removed in favor of a far more permanent solution:  local schist and bluestone.   But, we still need support from neighbors and local businesses to reach the $17K total that's required to create the seating surround that will create new opportunities for the park to host a variety of activities.

You can help!  "BUY A BRICK"  with a $100. donation in order to reach our goal.  For more details scroll down to read the November 2013 post or click the Older Postt link at the bottom of this page . [You can even click the  Donate  button on the right-hand margin of this blog to pay for your personally inscribed brick with a credit card!]  Brochures/order forms are also available in the park's two information boxes.

Now that the snow cover has melted, flowers are slowly appearing in Ned Wolf Park's gardens.  Below, you can see some yellow buds of Winter Aconite about to open.  They don't last long so look for them on your next visit.   While there, you won't be able to miss all the white Snowdrops which are blooming in clumps drifting through the shady garden beds.   They've multiplied and didn't let our frigid winter impede their elegant but cheerful presence as you stroll through Ned Wolf Park.
Stay tuned, as we'll soon be installing the first batches of custom engraved bricks with the names and messages of the park's supporters!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Buy a Brick!

     The Friends of Ned Wolf Park have created a great way for supporters to leave their mark in the park as we continue to raise funds for the Terrace Wall Project.  With your donation of $100 or more, we can offer you a custom engraved red clay brick [three lines of type with up to 20 characters per line] to be set into the park's paved terrace. But your donation will, more importantly, allow us to remove and replace the carcinogenic creosoted landscape ties that are decaying and shifting after 40 years.  Once our fundraising goal is met, a new stone retaining wall, raised to bench height, will create a multipurpose gathering place at the heart of the park.   The image above shows the pattern of the bricks that we will be replacing at the Terrace's center.   And with each 12 ordered, we'll engrave and install a block of these commemorative bricks so it won't be too long before you can visit your custom brick which will enrich the terrace and move us closer to the construction of a new stone wall.

     Take a look at this rendering to get a better idea.  The dry-laid Wissahickon schist wall will be topped with Pennsylvania bluestone.  So even when there isn't a spontaneous or planned group activity in the park, the new seating wall will bring folks closer to the banked planting beds which we will refresh with even more dynamic plantings.  And that low wall will be useful when the park hosts
art exhibits or plant sales.   We can more comfortably present talks about the plantings or facilitate the T'ai Chi classes or any number of new potential uses for our park once a group can simply sit down and engage together.

There are only 192 bricks available, so we hope you reserve one now.  Just pick up a brochure from one of the park's information boxes.   You can then fill out the order form with your inscription, enclose your check payable to "The Friends of Ned Wolf Park,"  seal the edges, add a stamp and mail it.   These personally engraved bricks would make a great holiday gift alternative that will be visible for generations.  And your community contribution will be well spent, long remembered, and much appreciated!

Below is the full sized order form for a custom engraved brick.  In lieu of finding a brochure at Ned Wolf Park, you may copy and print this form to use to place your order.   After filling it out, you may send it with your check payable to Friends of Ned Wolf Park to:

Friends of Ned Wolf Park
c/o Mark Klempner
6923 Greene Street
Philadelphia, PA  19119

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Month, New Colors...

It didn't take too many days in to November to produce a cold snap which accelerated the fall colors at Ned Wolf Park.  The drift of Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum') has taken on a lovely golden color, as the cherry trees above begin to yellow.

Check out the striking rusty orange tones of these glossy leaves.  This is a photo of our new Crape Myrtle, Lagerstroemia 'Biloxi'.  This multi-stemmed specimen was planted in the spring of 2013 near the tool shed.  Eventually, this cultivar should grow as high as 20' tall, forming a handsome vase shaped tree.  If you didn't notice it this summer, it has medium/light pink blooms in July and August.
These three pumpkins didn't grow in Ned Wolf Park, but were imported to help set the harvest mood for our "Autumn Afternoon" event on October 19, 2013. (See previous post).  They were positioned to be inviting when seen from the sidewalks and to offer a bit of whimsy to some areas that needed a visual boost.  We accepted the good possibility of having the pumpkins "disappear" as Halloween approached, but now are delighted to report that they remain in place to offer a burst of color as folks start walking through the park a bit quicker now that temperatures are falling and winds are blowing.  Let's hope they'll stay until every Thanksgiving pumpkin pie has been baked..........

And these purple asters (Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome') are still in full bloom in this semi-shaded location near the park's only backless bench.   In the background is the large shrub Euonymus alatus commonly called 'Burning Bush' for reasons I might have had to explain last week!
And there are two varieties of Toad Lilies, a.k.a. Tricyrtis, that are now showing their exotic spotted flowers.  This one, with purple speckled blossoms is planted behind the two benches closest to McCallum Street.  And another with paler, white blossoms with softer plum-colored speckles, is planted near the big tree close to the central paved terrace.  Even last nights near-freezing temperature doesn't seem to bother these unusual late bloomers.   Look for some divisions of these hardy perennial plants at our next plant sale!  Rumor has it someone has lots to donate.

I'll admit that this image doesn't exactly reflect what we grow in the gardens at Ned Wolf Park.  And the photo was heightened for artistic effect.   But a visit to our park can surely help transport you out of the everyday and bring a little seasonal magic into your day,