The application period for 2017 Grave Gardeners has closed. We are reviewing applications and will send notice of final decisions on Wednesday, January 25th. 

Who are The Woodlands Grave Gardeners? 
The Grave Gardeners are a group of volunteers who are each assigned a cradle grave to adopt at The Woodlands. These graves were originally designed to be planters, and would have been planted by loved ones in the Victorian era. Our Grave Gardeners tend to their assigned cradle grave throughout the entire growing season (March-October). 

Photo credit: Julie Steiner

Photo credit: Julie Steiner

What will the Grave Gardeners be planting? 
All gardens will be designed (by you!) with the Victorian Garden aesthetic in mind. These are ornamental gardens, not vegetable gardens. An approved planting list has been created by The Woodlands to help guide the gardeners. Workshops held in February and March will give gardeners a knowledge base to work from, and The Woodlands will provide all necessary supplies and knowledge to you. Work days and events will be held throughout the growing season to help keep your grave gardens looking good. 

How do you become a Grave Gardener?
The application period for this season is open from January 5th until January 20th. If interested, please fill out the application below. Want to try it but are new to ornamental gardening? Thats okay! All levels are welcome. 

What kind of time commitment is expected? 
Our 2016 Grave Gardeners that had the most success dedicated 2-4 hours a week caring for their garden.

What kind of challenges can be expected?
Dealing with pests, groundhogs munching on your plants, and drought are a few challenges our gardeners had last year. 

Words of advice from our 2016 Grave Gardeners:

        "Don't be daunted if you're not a gardener. There is plenty of support and it's about progress, not perfection!"

        "Make sure you have the time! I was in love with the idea, but between my work and school schedule, it was a lot harder to get over to the                    Woodlands than I thought it would be. "

        "There are some fantastic gardeners who participate. Get to know your fellow grave gardeners."


Can't commit to becoming a Grave Gardener, but still want to be part of the program? Consider making a donation directly to the Grave Gardeners to ensure this program can continue for years to come. 

Donate to the woodlands grave gardeners

WINTER WORKSHOP DETAILS

Workshop 1: FEBRUARY 1, 2017 6:00-8:00PM
Gardening for Beginners with Sally McCabe of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS)
Location: This workshop will be held at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's McLean Library

The Gardening for beginners workshop will teach you just enough to be able to converse intelligently at cocktail parties, but not enough to grow flowers or food for the entire neighborhood. You will, however, walk away knowing the difference between annuals & perennials, woodies & tenders, and bulbs & roots, and have a basic understanding of soil and water needs and what it takes to make plants survive in a Philadelphia garden. 

About Sally: Sally has been gardening for more than 50 years, since her parents gave her the option of doing that or doing dishes. Since then she has grown many vegetables and done a few dishes. In 1995 she started the Garden Tenders program, which has since graduated 42 classes of community gardeners. She currently divides her time between Garden Tenders, Green City Teachers, the Flower Show, and other food-and garden-related issues. In her copious(!) spare time, she plays with power tools and grows her own winter vegetables. 

About PHS: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1827, that connects people with horticulture, and together we create beautiful, healthy and sustainable communities. PHS offers programs and events for people of all interests, and works with volunteers, organizations, agencies and businesses to create and maintain vibrant green spaces. For information, visit PHSonline.org




Workshop 2: FEBRUARY 18, 2017 1:00-4:00PM
Forget me Not: Planting a Cemetery Garden with Nicole Juday Rhodes
Location: This workshop will be held at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's McLean Library

Learn which plants were favored for grave gardens during the Victorian period, and why these plants are still great choices for the modern gardener, even in the home landscape. In addition to discussing the best and most beautiful plants for a graveyard garden, we will also cover how to analyze your site, cultural requirements for different plants, and basic design principles. After the talk, you'll get your grave assignment, and will have some time to explore the resources at the McLean Library to start planning your garden. 

Nicole pic (2).jpg

About Nicole: With a career in public horticulture spanning several specialties and over a decade, Nicole currently works as Director of Development at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. An avid home gardener, she writes and speaks frequently on a variety of horticultural topics and especially loves old roses and heirloom plants, which occasionally can still be found growing in historic cemeteries like The Woodlands.

About PHS: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1827, that connects people with horticulture, and together we create beautiful, healthy and sustainable communities. PHS offers programs and events for people of all interests, and works with volunteers, organizations, agencies and businesses to create and maintain vibrant green spaces. For information, visit PHSonline.org


Workshop 3: MARCH 1, 2017, 6:00-8:00PM
Gardens (and Houses) in Graveyards: The Regional Peculiarities of America's Rural Cemetery Movement with Aaron Wunsch

followed by
Research Tutorial: Lee Arnold, Senior Director of the Library and Collections of the Historical Society will show you how to do research so that you can learn about the person whose grave you're tending! All gardeners will receive a free day-pass to the Historical Society to return and do their own research. 
Location: This workshop will be held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Frequently discussed as a national movement, the push to establish "rural" cemeteries before the Civil War also drew on regional gardening traditions and ideals of country life. Here, Aaron Wunsch will put the Philadelphia story in context, paying special attention to The Woodlands.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the most complete and professional genealogy centers in the nation - and the largest in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Society collects genealogical materials from Pennsylvania and every other state east of the Mississippi River. Senior Director of the Library and Collections, Lee Arnold, will discuss the best ways to conduct research in HSP's library.  

About Aaron: Aaron Wunsch holds a B.A. in History from Haverford College, an M.A. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia, and a Doctorate in Architectural History from the University of California, Berkeley.  His 2009 dissertation was entitled “Parceling the Picturesque: ‘Rural’ Cemeteries and Urban Context in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia.” Building on that work, he has curated an exhibition on Laurel Hill Cemetery at the Library Company of Philadelphia and written several scholarly articles and encyclopedia entries. At Penn, Aaron regularly teaches four courses in the Preservation Program: a survey of American architecture, a seminar on the same topic, and two courses on the documentation of historic sites.  His scholarship focuses on nineteenth-century American architecture and urbanism.  Special interests include: antebellum suburbs and cemeteries, infrastructure and industrial architecture, Quaker aesthetics, and the politics of commemoration.  He serves as vice president of Philadelphia’s Woodlands Cemetery and has been active on other nonprofit boards.  His efforts on behalf of Charlottesville’s James D. Nimmo House were recognized in Preservation Virginia's Outstanding Domestic Project Award for 2008.

About Lee: Dr. Lee Arnold is the Senior Director of the Library & Collections and Chief Operating Officer of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He has been with the society since 1992. Lee is well-versed on the holdings of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and has lectured extensively on genealogical topics throughout the Pennsylvania region. He received a doctorate in archival science from the University of South Africa in 2016, an MLA from Temple University in 2000 and an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin in 1988. He is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. 

About the Historical Society of Pennsylvania: Founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania inspires people to create a better future through historical understanding. One of the oldest historical societies in the United States, it is home to some 600,000 printed items and more than 21 million manuscript and graphic items. Its unparalleled collections encompass more than 350 years of America's History- from its 17th-century origins to the contributions of its most recent immigrants. The society's remarkable holdings together with its educational programming make it one of the nation's most important special collection libraries: a center of historical documentation and study, education and engagement.


Workshop 4: March 25, 2017 1:00-4:00PM RAIN DATE: April 1, 2017
Seeds and Soil: Prepping Your Graves with Sally McCabe of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Location: This workshop will be held at The Woodlands.  

Sally McCabe is back, and will share tips on getting your beds ready for planting success. Bring your planting plan, and we'll help you think through your design. Sally will do a hands on demonstration and then we’ll start digging and prepping the beds for planting. This is the day you start to get your hands dirty, so dress accordingly. 

Some of the 2016 Grave Gardens, blooming in June. 

Some of the 2016 Grave Gardens, blooming in June. 

Thank you to The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) for being a dedicated partner of this program.

Thank you to The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) for being a dedicated partner of this program.

 


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4000 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104