Thursday, November 10, 2011

A visit to Grumblethorpe in Germantown.

It's a beautiful autumn day and time to do something spur of the moment. I need to walk in a garden somewhere close and just enjoy the day. I have several choices in Germantown and Chestnut Hill. Penn State Extension has a high tunnel at Grumblethorpe.(click for map) let's go to Germantown. 

Upon arrival, my husbund and I are greeted by volunteer Richard Vogel and Heather Zimmerman who is the manager and has worked with the Penn State Extension Philadelphia Master Gardeners.  We photograph the chickens and hear the story of why they are here. It seems that the school tours gave the volunteers the idea to allow children to see where eggs come from and the types of eggs different chickens lay. No roosters, as they would wake everyone in the neighborhood. Not a good thing.

The garden is ready for winter and the leaves are falling from the many trees especially from the 250 year old ginkgo and over 100 year old crabapple. Moving along the paths we
hear the history of the gardens and what is being planned in the near future. There are beds of flowers, vegetables and a newly started orchard. There is a documented list of plants from the early gardens and it will be used as a reference to restore the flowers beds. The garden's vegetable beds provide for the farmer's market and other venues. Varities of Kale are still actively growing.
Kale and the huge Ginkgo with Richard

In the rear of the property is the high tunnel ((More information). It is providing the perfect setting for growing vegetables for the farmer's market year round as well as protecting plants in the spring before they are planted. Next to the high tunnel there are bee hives to provide honey and pollination.

Hair Agrometer
Weather Station

A view of the house through the massive ginkgo.

Cornus Mas / Cornelian Cherry Dogwood.
So what did I see today that excited me. The most interesting aspects of the garden for me were the beautiful trees shedding their leaves and showcasing the wonderful bark and structure. The massive ginkgo, the crabapple, maples, virburnum and cherry dogwood all getting ready for a winters sleep. This is the beginning of the winter interest in the garden that I love. 

Before touring the house, we walk through the kitchen herb garden and find Heather cleaning up for the winter. We talked about the gardens and volunteer opportunities including the school tours and of course, the general gardening chores.