By Erin Dunkel
Mid-July, as many of us were enjoying some summer relaxation, there was a busy planting day taking place in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood, with staff from PHS, neighbors, representatives from Councilperson Kendra Brooks’ office, Nicetown Community Development Corporation, and Tioga United in attendance. Over the past few months, PHS worked with community organizations and residents to better understand the community’s hopes, desires, and needs for their neighborhood. A 3-year, community-driven plan for how to use horticulture to promote health and wellness in the neighborhood is the ultimate goal.
Three sites were beautified within just a few hours as many hands were available for a productive cleaning, rebuilding, and planting day. There was music at each site and food provided Sister Muhammad's Kitchen (which was a hit!)
As the Day Started...Almost 50 neighbors/volunteers were involved, with about 10 PHS staff helping to oversee the work and provide horticulture assistance. Below is a rundown of the outstanding work done by great neighborhood volunteers at these three locations. Check out our photo gallery!
Volunteers and PHS staff removed weeds, plus old shrubs and plants to make way to plant 215 new perennials, bushes, and small flowering trees on the block, using plants from the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show. The team readjusted bricks as borders in the planters, and they removed slats of cement to make more room for plants. A neighbor set out speakers to play music for the day. In the coming weeks, more fence slats will be added, and stringed lights will be hung along the walkway that is connected between the houses.
Volunteers planted 40 new perennials as well as filled in vines in the planter boxes on the new pergola (the pergola was installed a few weeks earlier using funding provided by this project). Pavers were also installed in the entryways of the garden, again provided from the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show. A local drumline youth group, Positive Movement, came to perform at the garden for the volunteers.
Volunteers and PHS staff planted a pollinator garden on a vacant lot at 1520 W Venango St, across from the Tioga United NAC office. Earlier in the week, local contractors prepped the sites by removing turf and adding topsoil. In all, 493 perennials and shrubs were planted on the lot! The plants came from PHS’s Meadowbrook Farm in Jenkintown, PA, as a donation of plants grown for the 2021 Philadelphia Flower show. A local DJ played music during the volunteer day that really lifted the vibe.
As The Day Cooled Off…To top off the day, 6 residents were lucky enough to win a large pot with plants that came from the Flower Show!
These early action projects are a step in the right direction towards a cleaner and greener neighborhood, with the community identifying the projects and providing helping hands to make this goal a reality. PHS welcomes opportunities like this to engage with our communities – to connect, to beautify, and to advance the health and well-being of our neighbors.