July 2, 2014 |
Mischelle "Raven" Ahmed's first love was named Chimaphila maculata . Ahmed was 10 and walking on a trail near her Absecon home when she came upon the delicate little wildflower, more commonly known as spotted wintergreen. "They were different," she says, noting the species' distinctive striped leaves and pearly flowers. "They weren't something you saw in a garden. " That's less true these days, thanks in part to Ahmed and other advocates of native wildflowers. As the environmental benefits of the plants are more widely publicized, their popularity grows.
July 7, 2012 |
Sometimes, there are so many variations of a single plant out there, the floral marketplace seems like Hollywood: If one Rocky movie's good, five more are better. This is certainly true of echinaceas or coneflowers, which have been hybridized to the point where they don't even look like themselves, and heucheras, often called coral bells. Decades ago they were little known to the public and quite forgettable. Now they come in more than 600 varieties! So it's not your imagination: Coral bells are everywhere.
October 28, 2011 |
Gene Atwell had his reasons for replacing his turf grass with wildflowers. As an American Airlines pilot who's away from home a lot, he figured a meadow might need less maintenance than a lawn. It also has a smaller carbon footprint, which appeals to a guy who flies to Europe and South America for a living. "And wildflowers are just really, really beautiful," he says. But Atwell's neighbors in Doylestown Crossing, an upscale development with traditional landscaping, complained to Doylestown Township.
September 20, 2011 |
A garden of gold flutters on the horizon like a mirage. One wave of flowers follows another, a sporadic but exuberant parade of blossoms that readily inspires a smile. Welcome to Cherry Hill's Route 70, where eight miles of wildflowers are abloom between lanes of concrete and 60,000 daily vehicles. "Residents love it; environmentalists love it; I love it," says Mayor Bernie Platt, who championed the pilot plantings, along with State Sen. James Beach (D., Camden). The effort cost between $8,000 and $10,000, all of it from donations, including from township police officers and firefighters.
August 19, 2011 |
A meadow in August is a splendid thing. This one, at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, shivers with life - not just elegant grasses and sprightly wildflowers, but bees and indigo buntings and swallowtail butterflies that buzz and float along in summer's high heat. A recent walk through this busy place a few miles south of New Hope took two hours and could've taken way more, as in all day and night, 24/7. A meadow, no kidding, is an entire universe to explore. And the cicadas aren't background noise here, as they are in civilization.
August 25, 2010 |
At the state-owned Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in Bucks County, the deed is not done. Indeed, it now appears that the deed to the 137-acre preserve - part of Washington Crossing Historic Park - may never change hands. Howls of protest over a state bill to transfer the property to a private, nonprofit group have seen to that. Instead, cash-strapped state officials say, a 99-year lease may be the more palatable outcome of the ongoing Battle of Bowman's Hill. A long-term lease would enable the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve Association to continue to operate and improve, but not own, the site it has run for many years.
December 18, 2009 |
With her blue-gray eyes, light reddish hair, and pale complexion that hints of pink, Mary Anne Borge is a true child of winter, her essential colors reflective of a December sky out in the woods. Which is where we are this chilly morning, outfitted with water bottles, binoculars, backpacks, and cameras, exploring the 134-acre Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve just south of New Hope. Borge is a volunteer naturalist here, one of a handful leading winter wildflower walks at preserves and arboretums in the region.
July 10, 2009 |
Evelyn Lovitz has waves of coneflower in her Cape May garden, mostly pink, purple and white, traditional colors for this popular North American wildflower. But two relative newcomers in the exploding coneflower market have her attention this season: 'Sunset,' which has salmon-orange petals and a henna-brown cone or center, and 'Twilight,' whose deep rosy petals encircle a button-center in rare burgundy. "Coneflowers are pretty, you can get them in all kinds of colors now, and if you want butterflies, they're like a magnet," Lovitz says.
July 25, 2008 |
When Patricia and Conrad Cregan moved from Bustleton to Huntingdon Valley in 1984, the new house came with 1 1/3 acres and a John Deere lawn tractor. They were delighted: "We wanted more land," says Patricia. They got it, along with a heavy-duty lawn-care regimen shared by millions of Americans. But by 2004, the watering, weeding, fertilizing and mowing had gotten old. And Patricia, by then a volunteer at nearby Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, had learned about an alternative to the royal-family-style lawn.
April 25, 2008 |
Polly Drinker Elek, 80, of Bryn Mawr, a former editor and past president of the Episcopal Church Women of Pennsylvania, died April 18 of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Bryn Mawr Terrace. Mrs. Elek graduated from Springside School in Chestnut Hill. After earning a bachelor's degree from Radcliffe College, she volunteered with the American Friends Service Committee in rural Mexico for a year and then worked for the committee in Philadelphia for four years. In 1955, she joined the staff of the Academy of Natural Sciences Magazine and eventually became editor in chief.