Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Philadelphia Gardens

{Ernesta Drinker Ballard}
Ernesta Drinker Ballard

There are many show gardens, mainly on former large estates, scattered around the United States, and the ones on Southern plantations are quite famous.

However, the fact of gardening is that the climate has a lot to do with success. The really premier gardens of America are found in an East Coast strip from northern Virginia to southern Connecticut, with Philadelphia in the center of things. There is also a good-gardening area from Oregon to British Columbia, with a particularly notable garden in Vancouver, named after a sort of Philadelphian named Inazo Nitobe whose story is related in another blog. To have a really notable variation of exotic display plants, you need a lot of rain, a long cool spring, and a tradition of cultural association with the British Isles. Alkaline soils, generated by limestone, will produce a fine lilac display. Denmark would be a good place to go see that, but most of the show gardens in America are based on acid soils, with dogwood and azalea the predominant background coloration in May and June. A visitor from Michigan was once heard to ask what all the pink bushes were around Philadelphia, so it's likely the soil is not acid in Michigan. On the other hand, Korea is where wild azaleas originally came from, making the acid-soil hills crimson in the spring there. It should be noted in passing that Japan, Korea, and the Delaware Bay are on the same 40-degree latitude, but Japan escaped the loss of species caused by glaciers of the ice age.

Many of the Philadelphia suburbs have thousands of azalea bushes in each town, and hundreds if not thousands of pink and white dogwood, or purple Empress Trees, or magnolias. When you have a lot of those as background to start with, you are ready to begin planting a show garden. For that, we can largely thank John Bartram the botanist, one of the earliest Philadelphia settlers. The grounds of Friends Hospital are particularly notable for azalea display, and the Pennsylvania Hospital is pretty good, too. Although they are closer to Wilmington, the two most famous show gardens in the Philadelphia area are on DuPont properties, Winterthur, and

{Longwood Gardens}
Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens, They feed you pretty well in the associated restaurants there, and the bookstores and gift shops are truly outstanding. But what in many ways is the best show garden in Philadelphia is Chanticleer, the former estate of a family that founded what is now Merck Pharmaceuticals, located in the suburb of Wayne, across the street from where Tracy Lord, the heroine of The Philadelphia Story, lived on two square miles of the Main Line.

{Philadelphia Flower Show}
Philadelphia Flower Show

It's not clear why Chanticleer is such a well-kept secret, but it's sure worth the trip to see it at almost any season, May preferred. Interest in gardening is not limited to just a few big estates, it's a Philadelphia sport. Therefore it's not surprising to learn that the largest flower show in America is held in Philadelphia at Convention Hall in the Spring. If your feet aren't flat when you go in, they will surely be flat when you come out because a complete tour would be miles long, threading among the aisles. It's not easy to guess how much money each exhibitor spends on a display, but it's surely not a cheap hobby when you get to this level. If you notice the landscaping on public grounds in the city, it's always a fair guess that it was paid for by the profits generated by The Flower Show. Almost everybody has heard of the Burpee Seed Company, and Mr. Burpee summed up the prevailing attitude of Philadelphia gardeners: "If you want to be happy for a day -- get drunk. If you want to be happy for a week -- get married. But if you want to be happy for a lifetime -- get a garden."


Gardens of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley William Klein Jr. ISBN-10: 1566393132 Amazon

Rubberneck Tours of Philadelphia (1)

{Center City Philadelphia}
Center City Philadelphia

To qualify as a rubberneck tour, a route can be traveled in two hours by car, avoids the unsightly parts of town, strings together a lot of interesting sights which are of interest to visitors from out of town -- and educates the life-long residents as well. Several tours qualify, and it's a pity you can't go to someplace near City Hall and select one of them from a line of buses. Perhaps in time tourism will reach the point where this is possible.

For a start, go West from the center of town, out Walnut Street to 33rd Street, turn right. You won't see all of the University of Pennsylvania, but you will see a lot of it, followed by the campus of Drexel University. This was once a very elegant district, and many Victorian mansions can be seen as you go out to the Zoo. Navigate around a little with a map and get on Belmont Avenue. Be sure to get a glimpse of Sweet Briar mansion, peeping through on the right. You will be able to see Memorial Hall and other remnants of the 1876 Exhibition, soon to be the site of the Please Touch Museum. Keep going on Belmont, past the Ohio House which dates from the Exhibition, and on out Belmont Avenue to City Line Avenue. Here's the surprise.

Cross over City Line Avenue into Montgomery County and keep going. You will go past some lovely houses on the left, and the borders of Laurel Hill Cemetery on the right. You are going downhill now, through the woods, and you sweep around the right to the bridge over the Schuylkill. Didn't expect to go out of the city into the woods so abruptly, did you?

And now, crossing the Schuylkill, turn abruptly right on to Main Street in Manayunk. Another scenic shock, as you emerge from a country lane onto several miles of a gentrified abandoned factory town. In the summer, there are an awful lot of people sitting at sidewalk tables, talking about who knows what. Perhaps they are mostly resting their feet from shopping, whatever that means, in all the little stores now selling shoes and kerchiefs, apartment furniture, and knick-knacks. After a while, Main Street turns into Ridge Avenue, which eventually leads you back to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and back to City Hall. A somewhat prettier drive is closer to the river, with the landscaping and boathouses of the Schuylkill Navy.

{Fairmount Park}
Fairmount Park

But continuing on Ridge Avenue allows you the option of an abrupt turn left on Schoolhouse Lane, where it's admittedly a little hard to find and navigate a left turn, scooting you abruptly back up a steep hill and into the woods again. Turn right on Vaux, right again on Warden Drive, and then left to Midvale, following it down to rejoin Ridge Avenue at the bottom of the hill. This little side-trip allows you to see some pretty unexpected woody suburbs, and if you have been told where to look, the former home of Grace Kelly, and the homes of Senator Spector and Governor Rendell.


Give it a few years, and Ridge Avenue at this point is sure to get gentrified like Main Street, back up that hill in Manayunk. Now, either take Kelly Drive back into town, or continue down Ridge past old (East) Laurel Hill Cemetery and a brief spin into Sedgely and the mansions along the cliff in East Fairmount Park. Or a brief detour over the Girard Street bridge to the edge of West Fairmount Park is worth a few minutes, returning by the Spring Garden Street bridge to the back of the Art Museum, and then down the Parkway.

You've just had a pleasant two-hour tour, researched and designed by the history department of the University of Pennsylvania to illustrate Philadelphia's role in the days of the Civil War. Back then, the area roughly enclosed by our rubberneck tour #1 was just beyond the edge of the town, an ideal spot for many training camps for the Union Army. Further south on the Schuylkill at that time was a collection of factories known as the "arsenal of the North". This more northerly part of town, now filled with thousands of brick row houses, was once let us say, the boot camp of the North.

Philadelphia Green

{Pennsylvania Horticultural}
Pennsylvania Horticultural

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the best in the country. Getting crowds of visitors every March, it would get even more if Convention Hall were bigger. Obviously, it is a financial success for its owner, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. What six or eight million dollars of profits go for is a city-wide outdoor beautification effort called Philadelphia Green. That, too, is the biggest, oldest and best effort of its kind in the country

About a hundred employees and four thousand enthusiastic volunteers spread out over the City, to make it look half-way decent. As the momentum grows, the political strength grows, too; and politicians notice that. The ladies who run this effort hit the school system pretty hard for volunteers and the enthusiasm of inner-city kids for an activity not often seen in the asphalt jungle is very heartening. The Horticultural Society also hits local businesses with appeals; if flower gardens aren't your thing, just give us the money and we'll do it for you.

Philadelphia Green has created four hundred community gardens, seventy neighborhood parks, planted 20,000 trees in 4 years, and vigorously pursued vacant land management. If the ground is hopelessly covered with concrete they bore holes in it to drain off the water, and pour on enough dirt to get grass to grow. Among the many things which volunteers contribute, novel ideas rank high.

Someone approached the Wharton School, and it is asserted that unbeautified vacant lots are worth 18% less than average, while beautified ones are worth 30% more. Since only 10% of the City's many vacant lots have been cleaned up, there's lots of room for economic improvement in the future. But the improvement is already quite visible, isn't it?


Standardized Plant Names: American Joint Committee on Horticultural, Frederick Law Olmsted Google Books

John Bartram's Garden

{Bartram Gardens}
Bartram Gardens

It's worth a visit to Bartram's Gardens, if only for the astonishment of finding a very large farm and stone Quaker farmhouse within a few blocks of our largest medical center, a stone's throw from the biggest oil refinery on the upper East Coast. And located on the edge of a neighborhood that is, well, past its prime. The trees on the farm are centuries old, so walking around the grounds imparts the feeling of being hundreds of miles from civilization when in fact you are only a hundred yards away from streets that are very urban, indeed. When you turn in certain directions, an occasional skyscraper peeps over treetops, and down the meadows, at the farm's dock on the leafy-banked Schuylkill, you can see oil storage tanks across the river, just a long shot with a 2-iron away. Look upward, to see the upper half of shining towers of Center City.

The farm property as it now stands dates back to 1728, but the site marks the earliest beginnings of the city, nearly a hundred years earlier. The river curves around this hill then snake on down to Delaware through flatlands which were originally swamps ("wetlands", as they say). The hill is as far downriver into malaria territory as the Indians were willing to go, so the Dutch traders had to sail upriver and dock there in order to take thirty or forty thousand fur pelts back to Holland each year. One thing or another has been dumped on the swamps for three hundred years, and the oil companies found it a cheap place to buy enough land for their refineries, close to four or five railroads near Bartram's place, and with access to the high seas. Right now, most of the oil comes from Nigeria, emptying two or so supertankers a week. There has to be enough storage capacity to take care of delays caused by bad weather on the Atlantic, and there has to be access to railroads and highways to carry the finished product away. The rest of a refinery is just thousands of miles of metal pipes, gleaming in the sun.

Sun Oil is trying to be a good neighbor, turning more and more of the area over to nature preserve, as chemical engineers have learned how to work in a smaller space with fewer employees. The banks of the lower Schuylkill are now mostly grown to shrubs and trees, concealing from boat travelers the rather extensive dumps of old auto tires and similar refuse. It's a placid winding trip, increasingly coming to resemble what the Dutch traders once encountered. Especially in May, when the Palomino or Empress trees are in purple bloom. It seems the Chinese packed their porcelains in dried Palomino seed pods, and the discards have grown up to quite a nice display. Logan Square is filled with such trees, quite artfully pruned and maintained; just imagine several miles of the river lined with them, and you can see why the Tourist Bureau is excited about the potential. If you have been to San Antonio you know the potential of an urban river ride, which in this case might go all the way up to the Art Museum. Given enough public response, you can envision two or three-day barge rides from New Castle, Delaware to Pennsbury, with side trips up past Bartram's to the Waterworks. Right now, trips are comparatively limited by the tides, with a few trips a year down from Bartram's to the refineries, and a few more up to the river to the Art Museum. They use floating docks, and permanent docks will need to be built.

{Pennsylvania Railroad}
Pennsylvania Railroad

Originally, the crude oil came from upstate Pennsylvania, near Bradford, and was the main source of the dominance of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Baltimore and New York were also the beginnings of transcontinental railroads, but their freight cars came back empty. The upstate Pennsylvania oil gave the PRR a dominant edge by supplying cargo for two-way revenue.

When George Washington had to retreat from the Battle of Brandywine, the armies had to cross the wetlands, and the river, to get to Philadelphia. Washington got there first and burned the boats after his army got across. He knew, but the British probably did not fully realize, that the first place to ford the Schuylkill was at Norristown. When the British finally got that far, Washington was waiting for them, but a fall hurricane came along and soaked everybody's gunpowder before there could be much of a battle. Unfortunately, Mad Anthony Wayne was unprepared for a nighttime bayonet charge, and there was still quite a slaughter.

You can't wander around John Bartram's house and gardens without getting the impression of considerable wealth. Bartram was interested in botany, becoming the most eminent authority on plants of the Western hemisphere, a very close friend of Benjamin Franklin, and probably the main force behind the creation of the American Philosophical Society. But although Bartram was a hobbyist, he was a shrewd businessman, selling curiosity plants to Europeans, and commercially improved fruits and vegetables to local farmers. There are still some Bartrams around Philadelphia, with a strong Quaker air about them. Around 1850 the place was sold to a zillionaire railroad magnate named Eastwick, who fixed up the place in the high style he learned building the railroads of Russia for the Tsar. The mansion has been torn down, but the stone farmhouse, stone barn, stone sheds, stone outbuildings, stone everything -- endures, like many of the curiosity trees and bushes. Well worth a visit.

Inazo Nitobe, Quaker Samurai

{Inazo Nitobe}
Inazo Nitobe

The story of Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933) comes in two forms, one from the Philadelphia Quaker community, and the other from his home, in Japan. One day in Philadelphia, a well-known ninety-year-old Quaker gentleman, rumpled black suit, very soft voice -- and all -- happened to remark that his Aunt had married a Samurai. A real one? Topknot, kimono, long curved sword, and all? Yup. Uh-huh.

That would have been Inazo Nitobe, who met and married Moriko, nee Elizabeth Elkinton, while in college in Philadelphia. He became a Quaker, and when the couple returned to Japan, the Emperor then found himself confronted with a warrior nobleman who was a pacifist. You can next perceive the hand of his Quaker wife in the deferential diplomatic suggestion that there were vacancies for Japan at the League of Nations and the Peace Palace in the Hague. Perhaps, well perhaps, there could be service to his Emperor as well as his new religion in such an appointment for her new husband. Good thinking, let it be done. As far as Philadelphia is concerned, Ambassador Nitobe next appeared when Japan was invading Manchuria. The Emperor had sent Nitobe on a tour of America to explain things. At the meetinghouse then on Twelfth Street, Nitobe adopted the line that Japan was only bringing peace and order to a chaotic barbarian situation, actually saving many lives and restoring quiet. After a minute of silence, Rufus Jones rose from his seat on the "facing bench": He was having none of it. And that was that for Nitobe in Philadelphia.

The other side of this story quickly appears if you go to Japan and ask some acquaintances if they happen to have heard the name Inazo Nitobe. That turns out to be equivalent to asking some random American if he has ever heard of Abraham Lincoln. To begin with, Nitobe's picture appears on the 5000 Yen ($50) bills in everybody's pocket. He was the founder of the University of Tokyo, admission to which now is an automatic ticket to Japanese success. He wrote a number of books that are now required reading for any educated Japanese. A number of museums, hospitals, and gardens are named after him; one of them outside Vancouver, at the University of British Columbia.

Nitobe's father, Jujiro Nitobe, had been the best friend of the last Shogun, deposed by the return of the Emperor to effective control after Perry opened up Japan to Western ideas. The Shogun was beheaded, of course, and the tradition was that the victim could ask his best friend to do the job because he would do it swiftly. Jujiro was unable to bring himself to the task, refused, and his family was accordingly reduced to poverty. Subsequently, the Samurai were disbanded by the newly empowered Emperor, given a pension, and told to look for peaceful work. Inazo Nitobe was in law school when the Emperor's emissary came and said that Japan did not need culture, it had plenty of culture. The law students would please go to engineering school, where they could help Japan westernize.

Nitobe later wrote a perfectly charming memoir, called Reminiscences of Childhood in the Early days of Modern Japan , which dramatizes in just a few pages just how wide the cultural gap was. For example, Nitobe's father brought home a spoon one day, and this curious memento of how Westerners eat was placed in a position of high honor. One day, a neighbor ordered a suit of western clothes, and hobbled around it, saying he did not understand how Westerners are able to walk in such clothes. He had the pants on backward.

One of Nitobe's greatest achievements was to struggle with his appointment as Governor of Formosa (Taiwan). Japan acquired this primitive island in 1895, and Nitobe got the uncomfortable role of colonist in Japan's first experience with colonization. He sincerely believed it was possible for Japan to bring the benefits of Westernization to another Asian backwater, but just as the British found in their colonies, there was precious little gratitude for it. Although he was undoubtedly acting dutifully on the Emperor's orders when he later came to Twelfth Street Meeting, he surely knew -- perhaps even better than Rufus Jones -- that there was something to be said on both sides, no matter how conflicted you had to be if you were in a position of responsibility. This most revered man in his whole nation almost surely saw he had been a complete failure in Philadelphia.

Fair Mount


Although the Art Museum now dominates the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the earlier focus of the acropolis once called Fair Mount is just down the hill behind it, in the old Grecian complex of the Philadelphia waterworks. When the Schuylkill was dammed at that point, the effect was to calm the rapids, drown the falls at Midvale Avenue upstream, and turn this portion of the river into a placid fresh-water lake. Fairmont Park was then created upstream in an effort (originally stimulated by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia) to reduce pollution of Philadelphia's water supply going into the pumps at the Waterworks, by replacing, with parkland, the wards, and industrial slums at the terminus of the canal bringing anthracite from upstate. The result was the creation of an ideal place for public boating and skating.

The transformation of this area can be seen in retrospect as an impressive civic response to economic upheaval. The War of 1812 (by cutting off ocean access to bituminous via the Chesapeake) had first forced Philadelphia to use anthracite hard coal, and the discovery of anthracite's superiority in making steel caused a continuing reliance on it and the canals

Philadelphia's Water Works

that brought it here. By 1850, the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad made the canals obsolete and created this splendid opportunity for urban renewal. The waterfalls had created a natural boundary between industry oriented to upstate coal and other industry oriented to oil and commerce coming up Delaware. It is a great pity that the lower section of the Schuylkill, once so famously beautiful, has never stimulated the same vision and imagination in response to the eventual decline of the industrialization which defaced it.

To return to Boathouse Row, a large azalea garden starts the Park, and then the East River Driver winds along the attractively landscaped riverbank. Just beyond the azalea garden, the first of ten Victorian-style boathouses starts the home of the Schuylkill Navy, an association of rowing clubs which are now a century and a half in residence there. When the Schuylkill auto expressway was created on the other side of the river, someone had the bright idea of decorating the rowing houses with lights along their edges in the manner used for Christmas decorations in South Philadelphia, especially on Smedley and Colorado Streets. Ever since the entrance to Philadelphia from the West has become one of its most arresting beauties.


Add a few cherry blossom trees in the spring, and you have quite a memorable centerpiece. Rowing sometimes called crewing, or sculling, is a central focus of Philadelphia society, and is curiously not something in which the city can claim to be first or the oldest. As you might expect, "regatta" is a word invented in Venice five hundred years ago, there are records of rowing races as far back as 400 BC, and New York -- ye Gods! -- had the first American boating club. The Philadelphia Schuylkill Navy was formed as an association of rowing clubs in 1858, and the oldest member, the Bachelor's Barge, was only formed in 1856. The development was largely spontaneous and is said to have been briskly stimulated by a beer garden nearby, run by a former Philadelphia sheriff. About the same time, the British became crazy about the sport, having the Henley Races as the most famous regatta in the world, and both the Australians and the Bostonians occasionally have the largest, most expensive, most widely advertised regattas. Foo. Philadelphia has the Schuylkill Navy, and it is central to our existence.

There are a couple of things which are unique about rowing. In the first place, it is hard to think of a way to cheat. You can hire engineers to redesign the shape and size of your boat, but engineering really doesn't make a lot of difference once the basic development of oarlocks and movable seats was perfected. A good boat can cost as much as $30,000, but that is large because all boats approach the limit of speed. If you have heavier or stronger oarsmen, it doesn't make that much difference. What matters is coordination, and in the longer boats, teamwork. Pull up with your shoulders, push with your legs, don't start with your buttocks, the art of rowing involves your whole body. The greatest champion of all time, Edward "Ned" Hanlan,


only weighed 155 pounds. Not only was he world champion from 1876 to 1884, he was undefeated in any race during the last four years. True, he was born in Toronto, and eventually he was thrown out of polite Philadelphia racing for deliberately ramming another boat, but those are private Philadelphia comments, not something you want to talk too much about. The whole secret of rowing is to manage the fact that the boat travels farther between strokes than while the oars are in the water; if you row too fast, you actually slow the boat. There are two other Philadelphia names associated with the Schuylkill Navy. One is Thomas Eakins, the great American painter, one of whose most famous pictures is that of Max Schmitt in a Single Scull (on the Schuylkill). The other name is Kelly.

John B. Kelly of Philadelphia won two Olympic gold medals in 1920 and did it within one hour. He won a Third Olympic gold medal in 1924. But when he tried to race in the Henley Regatta, he was declared ineligible to row, because he had worked with his hands (summer work as a bricklayer), and thus could not really be called a gentleman. Anyone who has ever heard Irishmen talk about Englishmen can imagine the reaction this caused in the Kelly family. The resentment took the form of pushing his son, Jack, into racing, and in 1947 John B. Kelly, Jr. won the Diamond Sculls at Henley. Meanwhile, the father vindicated himself in other ways. The firm of Kelly for Brickwork was an enormous financial success, right up there next to Matthew H. McCloskey and John McShain, the political builders of the Pentagon and numerous other government buildings. John B. Kelly unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of Philadelphia in 1935 during the 75-year period when Philadelphia Mayors were always Republicans, but for decades was in the much more powerful position of head of the local Democratic party. The Republicans at that time would meet for lunch at the Union League, and so John Kelly reserved a lunch table at the Bellevue Hotel, next door, where he could be seen holding court every day.

John B Kelly

The result was not entirely favorable for the Bellevue; more than one wedding reception was rescheduled to some other hotel in order to avoid the Democrat taint. But you always knew where you could find Kelly at lunch, and it was fun to watch the various minions come forward to the table, almost as if they were in chains, to pay homage which involved provoking loud laughter from the great man with a salacious joke. The rowing clubs are mostly big barns with old boats high up on the walls, and silver cups and wooden memorial plaques lower down. They have lockers and showers, but no dining rooms, except at catered in the evening for parties. For a century, no women came there, but now almost half of the rowers are female. Membership is not difficult to obtain, although you have to be good to get on the club teams, and the dues are not expensive. If you show promise, you are expected to spend most of your waking hours working at it. Jack Kelly was famous for rowing three hours every morning, going to lunch, and then coming back for a couple of hours of more rowing. That doesn't leave much time in your life for anything else, so the friendships developed among active club members are very strong, just like the horsemen over at the City Troop. They sort of life in the past a little, with many anecdotes about a skull that broke apart and sank in the midst of a race, or a race that was lost because of too much recreation the night before. The lingo has to do with the fine points. A race can be between "eights" or "fours", or doubles, or singles. It can have a coxswain, or not, and be coxed or unboxed. When a pair of rowers have two oars apiece, it is the normal arrangement. A much more difficult boat to control has two rowers, with one oar apiece. Like Hercules or Achilles, stories are told of Hanlan, great Hanlan, who sometimes would win a one-mile race by eleven lengths. Or who would get so far ahead of his competitors that he would lie down in the boat and wait for another boat to catch up -- and then race ahead to beat him. This sort of person can be a little hard to take, and it is privately muttered that Hanlan was sent off to Australia, where people do that sort of thing more commonly.

A Few Rooms of Your Own

William Penn

If William Penn could revisit Philadelphia today, he would surely feel disappointed that the Greene Country Towne still hasn't materialized. Even a century after Penn's real visits, Philadelphia at the time of the Revolutionary War still nestled East of Fifth Street. There have been many conjectures about this, perhaps fear of Indian attack, perhaps lack of firewood, desire to be near the port, perhaps a number of things. Let's examine whether it's just the nature of a successful city to organize itself the way it does.

Ancient Athens, for example, was a nice warm place without much rain, which possibly accounts for the miserable little hovels where people lived, contrasting with the magnificent Acropolis, Parthenon, Stoa and other public buildings. It has been speculated that the architecture created the social system, not the other way around; the same contrast between big stone temples and little wooden huts is also seen in the Mayan cities of Yucatan. Hong Kong certainly isn't poor, but it's built like that. Japan cannot claim that lack of land forces the citizens to live in tiny apartments. It's hard to say whether the lowly social state of Japanese women accounts for the contrast between where they live and where their husbands spend most of their time because it's just as easy to believe the proposed cause is really an effect.

The more you look around the world, the more you wonder if it isn't the American suburb that's out of step with the world. When they can afford it, hardly any of the world seems to want to live in the suburbs; their homes are seldom their castles. There's New York City, of course. New Yorkers seem to like living in high-rises.

An architect friend makes short work of construction economics as a driving feature. According to him, it is unduly expensive to live in a high-rise. Just a pointless ego trip. The cost per square foot of usable floor space just keeps going up as the building gets taller, requiring more elevator shafts, more elaborate HVAC. That's heating, ventilating and air conditioning. Everything has to be built with a derrick, the traffic congestion at the base is horrific, high winds can break the window glass. The list rapidly grows convincing. Why does anyone pay all that extra money to live high in the sky? Not my idea of something to do, says Cole Porter.

Notice there is a major difference between sleeping in the suburbs as they do in Japan, and sleeping in apartments right near the center of town, as they do in Budapest, Berlin, Prague, and Vienna. The Orientals are staying close to work for longer hours, while the Central Europeans are staying close to the cafes and theaters to which they flock the moment work is over. Just what to think of the Spanish siesta system isn't clear, but it seems to have the main effect of bringing people back into the center of the town at night. You can't live very far away from work if you have to commute twice a day.

The Lord only knows where everybody in New York is going every Friday night, with return traffic jams in the other direction on Sunday night. The weekly exodus suggests they don't really luxuriate in their penthouses or flock to their entertainment district on weekends; apparently, a cabin in the woods is beckoning. As, by contrast, the empty nesters in the suburbs eventually look around for retirement villages to live, repeating the endless complaint about the nuisance of maintaining a big house and garden. Pennsbury looks like a comfortable place to live, but even William Penn seems to have tired of it. One really does have to wonder whether a heart's desire in architecture all too frequently leads to heart's discontent in lifestyle. Philadelphia appears to be trying a new approach; the suburbs are moving back downtown.

We'll eventually see if it changes our character and lifestyle so somebody can write sociology books about it.


{Charles Burpee}
Charles Burpee

The late Charles Burpee had a little speech he made everywhere he got a chance. "If you want to be happy for a day," he said, "Get drunk." If you want to be happy for a month, get married. But if you want to be happy for a lifetime -- get a garden." A lot of people who were born and bred in condos think Burpee must have been a little strange, but even they often tend house plants and window boxes.

{top quote}
Gardening not only takes time, it takes time during the day. {bottom quote}

Gardening may be fun, but it takes time. It particularly takes time during daylight without rain, which is in much shorter supply during short springtime days, and equally short days in the harvest season. In fact, the most critical part of home gardening is to do your planting and weeding and harvesting at just the right time. It's useful to have neighbors who will tell you what grows well in the neighborhood, and where to buy plants and fertilizers. After that, most amateur gardeners are good to go, once they buy a gardening how-to book. Long ago, one other way to improve your garden was to send some daughters to Shipley School, which always dominated the prizes at the Philadelphia Flower Show. However, Shipley has since gone co-ed, and there may have been many other changes.

So, being retired makes gardening possible for people who like it well enough, but never found time at the right season. It's one of the reasons to be reluctant to sell your house which is now too big for you when you retire. Now, at last, you can get things mulched and composted and planted and fertilized and pruned. Especially pruning. There is a tendency in suburban living to plant a lot of bushes and groundcover, and then forget them for twenty years. After a while, the house disappears in the bushes and the whole place looks as though it had been abandoned. It can take two years of pruning and fertilizing to get the place salable; and when you get it salable, you start to lose your interest in selling it. You begin to suspect your neighbors have been prodded into competitive gardening; mustn't let them show you up. Real estate agents who have become unexpectedly friendly tell you neighborhood house prices are holding up nicely. Not now, go away.


A few miles further out from suburbia, in exurbia, notice that farmers seldom bother much with landscaping and flower gardening. A former patient of mine once plowed up half an acre and planted gladioli. And then he sold the cut gladioli to a local florist. Houses in the suburbs have foundation planting, azalea usually and rhodedendron right next to the house. Farmers may have just as nice a masonry house, but the lawn grows right up to the foundation wall of the house. Sometimes there is a flowering shrub standing lonesome on the property, usually not even that. If you spend all day every day in the agriculture business, you lose your interest in flower gardens as a hobby. But notice where that has never been true, in Tidewater Virginia and the rest of the deep South. It's not politically correct to say so, but slavery had its advantages for the owners. Once you go beyond having foundation plantings and a kitchen garden, you probably have to have some hired help to garden in a notable way. It's been a help to have power mowers and clippers, fertilizer spreaders and underground sprinkling systems; they just about balance out the loss of gardening assistance from working wives, and the extra time spent commuting extra miles. If a property has been neglected for decades, it's almost a necessity to hire professional help for one or two years to get it into shape. After the work is reduced to maintenance and tinkering, one retired person can handle it with pleasure. If you have kind friends and neighbors, you will learn from them about the choicer seed and plant catalogs, especially those who deliver their plants at just the right time in the season.

Some people prefer vegetables and spices. Tomatoes are a favorite place to begin, and cucumbers. Woodruff is nice as a ground cover and turns cheap white wine into May wine. Scallions and basil are nice. But if you are really serious about vegetables you will elevate the beds a foot above the ground, and it starts to look a little tacky. A compost heap, on the other hand, is unobtrusive and can be made quite elegant. One neighbor boasted he was going to hold cocktail parties in his compost heap.

{bartram gardens}
John Bartram's farm and garden

Given the chance, it's worthwhile to tour the various show gardens and arboretums in the Philadelphia neighborhoods. John Bartram's farm and garden is right in the center of the city, the way it always has been for the last three hundred years. Bartram hiked all over colonial America, collecting strange plants and flowers for resale. But most of his business was not in Philadelphia or even in America, it was in England. He had a close friend, Peter Collison, who acted as marketing agent if not business partner in Great Britain, where gardening became a major occupation of the great landed estates that American tourists now take such trouble to visit. Obviously, quite obviously, it takes staff to keep such places up. Retirement communities can do the same in a communal way if they could only get themselves pulled together.


The subject of tomatoes is a sad one for the Garden State. Because of its sandy soil, southern New Jersey is especially favorable for tomatoes, and cranberries, and peas and beans. New Jersey was once a great truck farm state. Fifty years ago, Campbell Soup would bring in vast heaps of tomatoes to the soup factory in Camden, and they were very good tomatoes indeed. The tomato plants would boom continuously all summer, and vast hordes of tomato pickers would continuously harvest the crop until the first hard frost. However, a new breed of tomato plant was developed, which bloomed and ripened all at once. That was very suitable for mechanical tomato-pickers to harvest, human pickers were no longer needed to tell ripe ones from green ones. So the tomato industry picked up and moved to California, where they can grow three crops a year, harvest them with machines, and improve the bottom line for Campbell Soup. Cranberries went the other way, into the pine barrens, and one family the Haines organized a farmers cooperative called Ocean Spray which bought up almost all of the suitable bogs. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association will attest to the merit of cranberry juice for kidney infections, to the point where it has become a little hard to find cranberries in berry form for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Further south in New Jersey, the canneries organized the local farmers into growing a lot of one kind of vegetable for canning purposes. In the 1920s, however, one Frank Birdseye learned about the value of quick freezing from the Esquimos, and after applying it first to frozen fish, extended it into the various vegetables formerly organized around canning companies. You can now drive for miles past vegetable farms, without seeing a farmhouse. Quakers catch on quick; the same is true in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where the Brock family holds sway.


The Pine Barrens: John McPhee: ISBN-13: 978-0374514426 Amazon

Gardens for Posterity

{J. B. Garden}
J. B. Garden

We must be indebted to "Several Anonymous Philadelphians" who wrote a book published in 1956 called Philadelphia Scrapple, now out of print but subtitled "Whimsical Bits Anent Eccentricities and the City's Oddities." The Athenaeum librarian has carefully penciled in the names of Harold Donaldson Eberlein and Mrs. Henry Cadwalader as the probable authors of this work, and it's likely that is the fact of it.

Chapter XIV of "Philadelphia Scrapple" discusses a class of notable public gardens not designed to be show gardens, but originally the hobbies or passions of the original owner for private enjoyment, and later were opened to the public. These abound in Philadelphia, sometimes somewhat decayed, often truncated as the land was sold off, but constantly increasing in interest as the boxwood, trees, and shrubs continue to grow in size and rarity. The Anonymous Philadelphians have classed these lovely and somewhat unknown places as "Gardens for Posterity". Quite often, the estate houses to which they belong are better known than their gardens, and the original owners just regarded their gardens as a normal part of the house.

While there are dozens of such places, the more notable ones are Grumblethorpe in Germantown, The Grange in Delaware County, Andalusia along the Delaware, and two famous gardens in decrepit neighborhoods along the lower Schuylkill, John Bartram's Gardens and William Hamilton's ("Woodlands"). There is a record that the Continental Congress once adjourned to visit Bartram's garden, and Hamilton's garden is mentioned by several famous Revolutionary figures since it was on what was then the main route from Philadelphia to the Southern Colonies. John Wister's 1744 garden at Grumblethorpe was 188 by 450 feet in size; some of the boxwood have had a long time to grow.

{Pennsylvania Hospital}
Pennsylvania Hospital

To these should be added the hospital gardens at the Pennsylvania Hospital, at Friends Hospital along Roosevelt Boulevard, and the garden of Chester-Crozier Hospital, all of which are especially spectacular in early May when the Azaleas are in bloom. Just about every surviving mansion of colonial rich folks had such a garden at one time.

And tucked away behind many current mansions are lovely gardens that are considered to be just as private as their living rooms. While they are proudly displayed to friends, strangers knocking at the garden door would be considered the height of rudeness. It will take another generation or so for them to be thrown open to the public. By that time, who knows what state of repair they will be in.

For a unified access point for 30 gardens in the Philadelphia area, try

Terse Verse: Green Aches Topic: Gardening

Green Aches

Grass land
Starts grand
Sow seeds
Hopes breed
But lawn
Turns tawn
Weeds win
Then grin

Seek aid
Pros paid
Grow pains
Pray rains
Work hard
Yet yard
Turf aint
So paint

Terse Verse: Land Scrape Topic: Gardening

Land Scrape

Each spring
Same thing
Plans green
Lawn scene
Big rush
Aims lush
Turf wars
Start chores

Next seeds
Sprout weeds
Raw heats
Down beats
Looks bland
Hot sand
Gloats sun
Well done

The Real Obamacare, Unveiled

Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Even loyal Congressional Democrats demanded more explanation for passing Obamacare than they received. Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi implausibly explained, "We have to pass the bill in order to see what's in it." That didn't help very much.

An unexpected bungle of computerized insurance exchanges that didn't work, would soon confront Obamacare supporters with explaining things to a hostile public, instead of to a merely curious one. Instead of providing better insurance to thirty million people, many of whom did not have insurance, the Administration had to cope with the possibility of uselessly depriving several hundred million people of insurance that did satisfy them. And to do so past the deadline for renewal of their old programs, made several million suddenly anxious that newer products must somehow be worse, not better.

It was expedient politics to add new but more expensive mandatory features. But since many people could already choose a more expensive policy if they craved more features, the practical effect was usually to make insurance more expensive without providing anything new. Here, it also had the unwelcome appearance of extra cost paying for somebody else's subsidy. In any event, health insurance was certainly not cheaper.

Employees of big business were evidently particularly dissatisfied, so their arrangement will be announced later, probably after the elections. Two years after passage, the Affordable Care Act was still a work in progress, but it was hard to call it a victory.

Senator Ron Johnson

Worse to come wasn't just an idle possibility. Millions of complacent people then received letters of cancellation (from their old, private insurance companies) in spite of specific provision in the law (section 1251) and repeated assurances from the President that this would never happen. Retired people on Medicare had mostly ignored Obamacare, which didn't apply to them. But any cancellation of existing benefits quickly revived anxiety that the real intention might be to pay for poor people (Obama's "base") with cuts in Medicare, which everyone over 65 had grown accustomed to receiving. A large new group was suddenly asking awkward questions.

Government workers and Congressmen definitely had to accept the new plans, probably to demonstrate shared sacrifice. That led Senator Johnson from Wisconsin to sue for damages because his constituency might think he really wanted to have it, in spite of nominal opposition. Big business received more extensions to its one-year postponement, which increasingly looked like a repeat of the 1994 Clintoncare experience where they had walked out, in a somewhat more obvious way. Small business was immediately refused similar relief, introducing concern about political favoritism, and conspiracies yet to be revealed. One of them surfaced a few months later, when "postponements" for employers with 50-100 employees were announced, effectively adding them to the definition of big business. Once more, there had been no such proposal in the enabling legislation. A majority of state governments refused to establish insurance exchanges, and an appreciable number of governors even refused to expand their Medicaid programs with Federal money. It could be argued that bribes that weren't permanent were essentially no different than direct coercion of states by the Federal Government, but were just a different method of revoking states rights under the Constitution.

Since it might be many years before deaths and retirements made it possible for insider biographies to explain everybody's true motive, the public applied the ancient Roman test of Cui bono? ("Who comes away from it, better off?") Everyone half expected the Obama base to be rewarded, and the Republican base to pay for it; but rewarding five percent at the expense of ninety-five percent, went beyond any election mandate, or even any tradition of the spoils system. Better medical care at cheaper prices always sounded over-optimistic. But worse care at a higher price now began to seem like the real outcome. Who comes away from that, better off?

Republican Senator Scott Brown

If a copy can be found, it certainly might be tempting to review the final original House bill and compare what was in it with the ultimate product (which was really just the Senate bill). But at that particular moment, there had been a Democratic majority, and that majority declared its preference for the Senate version. That is what the President signed. He then apparently hoped to solve its deficiencies by Executive Branch regulation, which might well lead to Constitutional lawsuit based on the "Vesting Clause" in Article 1 of the Constitution that, All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. . When he subsequently did issue several dozen unauthorized regulations, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, announced his intention of filing a Constitutional suit in the Supreme Court. In a sense, that took matters back to Franklin Roosevelt's "Court Packing" uproar in the 1930s, with more or less the same issue of a President illegally delegating legislative power to an executive agency. This once proved to be a convulsive national issue. So this book deals with it in a later chapter, because the state legislatures got to the Supreme Court first in a related Constitutional matter.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy

This uncertainty must be quickly resolved. The final law has over 450 sections, so some can be suppressed for a long time before an absence is noticed. The President's public restatement of section 1251 after the policies had already been canceled, remains particularly baffling. There are times when it almost seems the President was daring the Legislative branch to sue him. Although it is possible this maneuvering is more aimed at the Tea Party than the Democrats, it would certainly be the most dramatic Constitutional crisis since the Court-packing attempt in the 1930s. It deserves consideration in detail, but first, we must review the other Supreme Court action in the early days after passage of the Act, which may or may not have been the start of an elaborate collision of historic proportions. Preliminary conclusions must be reserved. Speaker Boehner may call off his suit after the outcomes of the 2014 Senate elections are known. International events may take a sudden turn. And the financial markets may still contain some surprises. More directly, there may be actions by the central actors in what Senators refer to as "this train wreck". In view of its potential destructiveness, the only consolation is it might at least inhibit Congress and the President from this particular maneuver a third time in the future.

Soon combined with a disastrously failed computer program for Insurance Exchanges making it impossible for the program even to get started, 2014 appears to be a bad year for tranquil discussion. It dramatized that trying to bully through was a bad choice. Millions of letters notified clients their old insurance was terminated as "inadequate" while the President continued to appear on television programs assuring such a thing would never happen, -- all of this projected a pretty poor image.

Terse Verse: What's Up Topic: Gardening

What's Up

Mom earth
Gives birth
Ice stops
Bud pops
Bulbs peek
Babes sqeek
World green

Saps surge
Old urge
All men
Feel yen
They do
Rise too
Stay king
Guy thing

Terse Verse: All Thumbs Topic: Gardening

All Thumbs

Lawn scene
Thumbs green
Use tool
Thumb rule
Cart ditch
Thumb hitch
Win cup
Thumbs up

Crime stint
Thumb print
Get hosed
Thumb nose
Want etch
Thumb sketch
Lose crown
Thumbs down

Terse Verse: Land Hoe Topic: Gardening

Land Hoe

Dawns spring
Hands sing
Now scene
Things green
Gone snow
Seeds flow
Work soil
Takes toil

Sun rain
Soothe pain
When reap
Not cheap
Dig spend
In end
Find you're
Dirt poor

Terse Verse: Tuft Love Topic: Gardening

Tuft Love

Lawns bloom
Primp plume
Hands numb
Jade thumb
Know hows
Sweat brows
Mouths gape
Land scape

Have flair
Must care
Sow seed
Oust weed
Digs hurt
Pay dirt
Yards hold
Green gold

Terse Verse: Golds Age Topic: Gardening

Golds Age

Young praise
Rich ways
Hope clutch
Gold touch
Life glows
King's rows
Chase dreams
Sun beams

When old
Rough road
Wheels spun
None won
Rain bows
End shows
You've got
Just pot

Terse Verse: Lawn Gone : Topic: Gardening

Lawn Gone

Fade snows
Green grows
Spring boom
Bud blooms
Sow seeds
Mulch feeds
Once more
Hopes soar

Each year
Fresh spear
Race hard
Best yard
Sun's sulf
Toasts turf
Dreams beat
Dead heat

Tyler Arboretum

{Tyler Arboretum}
Tyler Arboretum

There are over thirty arboreta in the Philadelphia region, and one of the oldest and largest is located in Delaware County. The 650 acres of the Tyler Arboretum, adjoining 2500 acres of a state park, create a rather amazing wooded area quite close to heavily settled urban Philadelphia. The Arboretum is located on land directly deeded by William Penn, but it was privately held until 1940 and so is not as well known as several other arboreta of the region. The early Quakers, it may be recalled, often disapproved of music and "artwork", so their diversions tended to concentrate on various forms of natural science. The first director of the Tyler, Dr. John Wister, planted over 1500 azalea bushes as soon as he took office in the 1940s. They are now seventy or eighty years old, quite old and big enough to make an impressive display. Even flowering bushes seemed a little fancy to the original Quakers.

The interests of the earlier owners of the property were more focused on trees, especially conifers. The property contains several varieties of redwoods, including one impressive California redwood, said to be the largest east of the Mississippi. High above the ground, it splits into two main branches, the result of depredation by someone cutting the top off for a Christmas tree. So a large area near Painter Road is enclosed by a high iron fence, containing most of the conifer collection, and warding off the local white-tailed deer. Several colors of paint are to be seen high on many prominent trees, marking out several walking trails of varying levels of difficulty.

And then there are large plantings of milkweed, providing food for migrating butterflies; near a butterfly educational center. There are large wildflower patches and considerable recent flower plantings around the houses at the entrance. Because of the, well, Christmas tree problem, several houses on the property are still occupied.

The only serpentine barren in Delaware County is located on the property; we have described what that is all about in another essay. As you would imagine, there are great plant and flower auctions in the spring, conventions of butterfly and bird-watching groups at other times. The educational center is attracting large numbers of students of horticulture these days, and photographers. Flower gardens and photographers go together like Ike and Mike.

It's a great place for visitors, for members who are more involved, and for those with serious interests. With all that land to cover, some ardent walkers have enough ground to keep them regularly busy. Becoming a volunteer is a sign of serious interest, and that group is steadily growing. For a place that traces back to William Penn, it's slowly getting to be well known.

ZNOTE: Gardens Flowers and Horticulture


Short Tour of Philadelphia's West Country

{top quote}
Philadelphia County had two hundred farms in 1950 but is now thickly settled in all directions. Western regions along the Schuylkill are still spread out somewhat; with many historic estates. {bottom quote}
Dr. Fisher

The Art Museum sits on an acropolis called Faire Mount, where William Penn planned to put his home. Fairmount Park, and hence the countryside, begins here and extends on both sides of the Schuylkill. It was once the industrialized terminus of barge traffic, but was restored to parkland as a water purification project in the Nineteenth Century after agitation by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The area was briefly a vast Civil War encampment, then the site of the 1876 Centennial, remnants of which remain. Its inner loop including the historic houses in the park is interesting enough to make a tour of its own; on this trip we just skirt the area.

{Fairmount Park}
Fairmount Park

To begin the outer more general tour, go west over any one of the several Schuylkill bridges, turn right on 33rd Street in the general Drexel University/University of Pennsylvania area, observing many ancient mansions of a once-elegant place to live. Go past the Zoo, then up Belmont Avenue through the Centennial Grounds to City Line Avenue. Our first destination is Harriton, the original house in the Welsh Barony, called Bryn Mawr when it was built. Be sure to use a good map to find this large but hidden estate. It was the home of the first Secretary of the Continental Congress and its architecture set the style for the whole Main Line.

From here we carefully follow a map to the Barnes Museum in Merion. After acrimonious debates and clearly against Dr. Barnes' wishes, the vast collection of French Impressionist art is being moved to a new home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Before it goes, you still have a chance to see the original concept in its intended setting.

From here we take a circuitous route to Germantown to see America's first suburb, with the Chew Mansion that cost Washington the battle of Germantown, Grumblethorpe, Stenton, and Schoolhouse Lane. A side trip to Temple University to see some portraiture if there is time, then down the Wissahickon Creek past Rittenhouse Town, eventually down Kelly Drive past the Schuylkill Navy, and over to the Art Museum (or alternatively the Water Works) for a nice lunch.

Secret Places


Most mansions and other imposing places are clustered together in what would be called the high rent district. In the course of time, such areas often decline, but an occasional mansion remains nestled in a commercial or industrial area, or even in a slum. If it's accidentally well designed for such a fate, it might have an elaborate interior courtyard with a shabby exterior, or it might be in some cul-de-sac of a creek, or behind a hill. Unnoticed, it thrives as a social island. Eventually, someone notices the principle of hiding in plain sight, and creates a place like that deliberately.

Perhaps the most common examples of this approach are found in the "chateau district" of northern Delaware using what is called berms. These consist of large artificial hills which have been bulldozed up between the road and the chateau, effectively hiding them from passers-by. Both Winterthur and Longwood Gardens are hidden behind hills. If you get a chance to fly over the area in a private plane, you will be surprised to find that what looks like rolling rural countryside actually has quite a few mansions tucked away in it. It's safer that way, more private, less ostentatious. The DuPont family might even still harbor a few recollections of the French Revolution, or the barricades of the Paris Commune.

Up around Gulph Mills, the Drexel family had a place within a hidden valley, sort of like the crater of a volcano. The area nearby has since been built up with moderate-sized suburban houses, and between two of them is what looks like a driveway, going far to the back. In fact, it goes over the side of the bluff and down into a many-acred hollow. When you are inside the hollow, you could be a hundred miles into the wilderness and feel no more secluded. The only real problem with this arrangement is that visiting guests can be standing right in front of the entrance and never realize they have arrived; that's what cell phones help with. Global positioning (GPS) sounds ideal for the purpose, but when the trees are leafed out you are likely to think the GPS is broken. There is a farm in Germantown, behind LaSalle College, not far from Albert Einstein Medical Center. For tax purposes, it has a cow wandering around. Every once in a while LaSalle students think it is hugely amusing to steal the cow and put it on the top floor of a dormitory. But as you drive up Broad Street, most people would guess that the nearest cow is many miles away.

Although you have to go to New York to see the principle carried to its extreme, there are a number of places in downtown Philadelphia which combine the urban principle that doorways should be inconspicuous with the principle that if the streets are narrow, you really can't look upward very well. The New York example is right next to Carnegie Hall, seventy stories high but can't be seen from the street because of the angle. Furthermore, this apartment building occupies the center of the block but is turned so that only the corner of the building reaches the street. The entrance to this fanciest of fancy apartments is thus only one storefront wide, nestled inconspicuously among a long row of shops. Here again, the only problem is for visitors, because taxi drivers can't find it. To protect the innocent, we won't identify the places in center-city Philadelphia that use the same principles of concealment without exactly hiding.

Here's a tip. There are many houses next to parkland in Philadelphia where it is possible to see a dozen deer in the back yard, every morning. Forget about Lyme Disease; those are nice places to live.

REPLICATED COPY of Tokyo, Japan Trip 1998 08/02/17 08:28 pm

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Colonial House Pre-Revolutionary Period Philadelphia Philip B. Wallace Architectural Book Publishing N/A1931YesNo
Commandery of PennsylvaniaMilitary Order of the Loyal Legion of the United StatesJohn P. NicholsonBrevet Lieut-Colonel U.S.V.N/A1887YesYesCommanderycover.jpgConsilienceinfrontcover.jpgConsilienceinbackcover.jpgConsiliencebackcover.jpg
Consilience The Unity of KnowledgeEdward O. WilsonAlfred A. Knopf0-679-45077-71998YesYesConsiliencecover.jpgDelawarecanalinfrontcover.jpgDelawarecanalinbackcover.jpgDelawarecanalbackcover.jpg
Delaware Canal JournalA Denfinitive History "C.P. ""Bill"" Yoder"Canal Press72-938351972YesYesDelawarecanalcover.jpgDemocracybackcover.jpg
Democracy in America Alexis de TocquevilleAnchor Press Double DayN/A1969YesYesDemocracycover.jpgdemocracyinarevolubackcover.jpg
Democracy in Revolutionary EraHarvey WheelerA Center for study68-281591970YesYesdemocracyinarevolucover.jpgdevilcoverback.jpg
Devil Take The Hindmost A History of Financial SpeculationsEdward Chancellar"Penguin Putnman Inc."978-0-374-13858-51999Yes Yes devilcover.jpg
Drawing Toward BuildingPhiladelphia Architectural Graphics 1732-1986James F. O'GormanUniversity of Pennsylvania Press0-943836-06-91986YesYesDrawingcover.jpgEakinsRevealedincover.jpgEakinsRevealedbackincover.jpgEakinsRevealedbackcover.jpg
Eakin Revealed The Secret Life of An American ArtistOxford UniversityHenry Adams 019-515668-42005YesYesEakinsRevealedcover.jpgEarlyfamiliesoflancasterbackcover.jpg
Early Families of Lancaster Lebanon "And Dauphin Counties PennsylvaniaKeith A. DullHeritage Books978-1-58549-420-81997YesYesEarlyfamiliesoflancastercover.jpgEconomicbackcover.jpg
Economic Liberties and the Judiciary"James A. Dorn Henry G. Manne"George Mason University Press0-80260013-11987Yes YesEconomiccover.jpg
Empire of Liberty"A History of the Early Republic 1789-1815"Gordon S. Wood Oxford University Press978-0-19-983246-02009YesYesEmpireoflibertycover.jpgExploringNJbackcover.jpg
Exploring the Little Rivers of New Jersey James and Margaret CawleyRutgers Univerity Press61-102551942YesYesExploringNJcover.jpg
Faith And PracticePhiladelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of FriendsPhiladelphia Yearly Meeting Philadelphia Yearly Meeting N/A1972Yes Yes Faithand Practicecover.jpg
Faith and Practice in Friends SchoolA Presentation by the Committee on EducationCommittee on EducationCommittee on EducationN/A1989Yes Yes FaithandPracticeFriend schoolcover.jpg
Famous Colonial HousesPaul M. HollisterRoss & Perry Publishers1-932020-36-81921YesNo
Fart ProudlyWriting of Benjamin Franklin you Never Read in SchoolCarl JapikseFrog Books978-1-58394-079-22003Yes Yes fartproudlycover.jpg
Fathers of America's FreedomCompliments of Disabled American VeteransDonald E. CookeLibrary ofCongress70-769831969YesYesfathersofAmerica'sfreedomcover.jpgFinancialfathersinfrontcover.jpgFinancialfatherinsbackcover.jpgFinancialfathersbackcover.jpg
Financial Founding FathersThe Men Who Made America RichRobert E. Wright and David J. CowenThe University of Chicago Press0-226-91068-72006YesYesFinancialfatherscover.jpg
For Better of For Worse?Rambles with Progress and OtherwiseHarold H. KynettEdward Stern & Co.N/A1949YesYesForbettercover.jpg
Forgotten Philadelphia Lost Architecture of the Quaker City Thomas H. KeelsTemple University Press978-1-5923-506-42007YesYesforgottenphiladelphialostarchcover.jpgfoundingfriendbackcover.jpg
Founding Friendship"G.Washington J. Madison and the Creation of the American"Stuart LeibigerUniversity of Virginia Press0-8139-1882-01999YesYesfoundingfriendcover.jpg
Founding Gardeners"The Revolutionary Generation Nature and the Shaping "Andrea WulfAlfred A. Knopf978-0-307-26990-42011Yes Yes foundinggardenerscover.jpgFreedomjustbackcover.jpg
Founding Rivals Madison Vs. MonroeThe Bill of Rights and The Election that saved a NationChris De RoseRegnery History978-1-59698-192-82011foundingrivalsmadisonvsmonroecover.jpg
Freedom Just Around the CornerA New American History 1585-1828Walter A. Mc DougallFirst Perennial Edition 0-06-019789-72005YesYesFreedomjustcover.jpgditsinsidecover.jpgditsbackincover.jpg
Friends for 300 Years The History and Beliefs of the Society of Friends Since G. FoxHoward H. BrintonPendle Hill Publishing0-87574-903-81952YesYesFriendsfor300yearscover.jpggardensfrontin.jpggardensbackin.jpggardensbackcover.jpg
From Dits to Bits A Personal History of the electronic computerHerman LukoffRobotics Press89661-002-01979YesYesditscover.jpg
Gardens of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley"William Klein Jr."Temple University Press1-56639-313-21995YesYes gardenscover.jpg
Gentleman Revolutionary Gouverneur Morris The rake who wrote the Constitution.Richard BrookhiserFree Press 0-7432-2379-92003NoYesgentlemanRevocover.jpgGeorgeloganinfrontcover.jpgGeorgeloganinbackcover.jpgGeorgeloganbackcover.jpg
Gently Sister Gently "Reminiscences May Roberts TaylorLithographic PublicationN/A1975YesYesGentlycover.jpggermantownbackcover.jpg
George Logan of PhiladelphiaFrederick B. TollesOxford University PressN/A1953Yes Yes Georgelogancover.jpg
Germantown and the Germans"An Exhibition of Books Manuscripts Prints"Samuel S. CalendarHoch-DeutschesN/A1819YesYesGermantowncover.jpgGreatstormsinfrontcover.jpgGreatstormsinbackcover.jpgGreatstormsbackcover.jpg
Girard College It's Semi-Centennial of Girard College1848-1898 Girard CollegeJ.B Lippincott Company N/A1898YesYesGirardCollegecover.jpgGuidetoquakerpracticebackcover.jpg
Great Storms of the Jersey ShoreLarry Savadove Margaret BuchholzDown the Shore Publishing 0-945582-14-51993YesYesGreatstormscover.jpghisexcellencybackcover.jpg
Guide to Quaker PracticeHoward H. BrintonSowers Printing Company 43-118991955Yes YesGuidetoquakerpracticecover.jpg
His Excellency George WashingtonJoseph J. EllisVintage Books1-4000-3253-92004YesYeshisexcellencycover.jpg
Historical Sketch of Chester on DelawareHenry Graham AshmeadThe Reopublican Steam PrintingN/A1883YesNofreequakerbackcover.jpg
History of Girard College"Cheesman A. Herrick Ph.D"Girard College N/A1927YesYesHistoryGirardcover.jpghistoryofmedicalback.jpg
History of the Free QuakersCharles WetherillRoss & Perry Publishers1-931839-19-02002YesYesfreequakercover.jpg
History of the Medical Profession of PhiladelphiaFrederick P. HenryRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-36-62003YesYeshistoryofmedicalcover.jpg
Human Drama In Death & TaxesJacob Fisher"Fiduciary Publishing Inc."74-1116321970YesNoItalianphildbackcover.jpg
Initial Report and Prelimary RecommendationsNational Commission NursingThe Hospital Reserch0-87914-058-51981YesYesInitalreportcover.jpgPennsylvaniacustombackcover.jpg
Italians of PhiladelphiaImages of AmericaDonna J. Di GiacomoArcadia Publishing978-0-7385-5020-62007YesYes Italianphildcover.jpg
It's an Old Pennsylvania CustomEdwin Valentine Mitchell"The Vanguard Press Inc."N/A1947YesYesPennsylvaniacustomcover.jpg
James Madisonand The Making of AmericaKevin R. C. GutzmanSt. Martin's Publishing978-0-312-62500-92012YesYesjamesmadisonmakingamericacover.jpgGreatGambleinfrontcover.jpgGreatGambleinbackcover.jpgGreatGamblebackcover.jpg
Jefferson and his ColleaguesVolume 15Allen Johnson Ross & Perry Publishers1-932109-15-31921YesNo
Jefferson Great Gamble"The Remarkable Story of Jefferson Napoleon and Louisana Pur."Charles A. Cerami"Sourcebooks Inc."1-57071-945-42003YesYesGreatGamblecover.jpg
John BarryAn American Hero in the Age of SailTim McGrathWestholme Publishing978-1-59416-153-72011Yes Yesjohnbarrycover.jpgJohnTeminfrontcover.jpgJohnTeminbackcover.jpgJohnTembackcover.jpg
John Mashall and the ConstitutionVolume 16Edward S. CorwinRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-16-11919YesNo
John Templeton Jr."Physican Philanthropist Seeker"John M. Templeton Jr.Templeton Foundation Press978-1-59947-113-62008YesYesJohnTempletoncover.jpg
Johnson of the Mohawks Arthur PoundThe Macmillan CompanyN/A1930YesNo
Journal of the Federal Convention May 141787 ""James MadisonE H.Scott""Albert Scott Co."9-781241-5529301893journal5141787cover.jpglightsdelawarefrontincover.jpglightsdelawareinbackcover.jpglightsdelawarebackcover.jpg
Keystone Tresures Second EditionA Guide to Museums And Historical Organizations I Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Federation of Museums Jean H. CutlerN/A2000YesYesKeystoneCover.jpglightfrontin.jpglightinsback.jpglightsbackcover.jpg
Lewes Delaware Celebrating 375 Years of HistoryKevin N. MooreMarketplace Merchandising0-9748998-9-52006YesYesLewesdelwarecover.jpg
Lights Along the DelawareMarion Willis RivinusDorrance and Co.65-145551965YesYeslightsdelawarecover.jpg
Lights Along the SchuykillMarion RivinusN/AN/A1970Yes YesLightscover.jpg
Literary AmericaA Chronicle of American Writers from 1607-1952 with 173 PhotosDavid E. Scherman"Dodd Mead & Company"52-72051952YesNo
Little Journeys Around Old Philadelphia George Barton"The Peter Reilly Co."N/A1925Yes Nomollybackcover.jpg
Magna Charta"Part I Romance Part II Pedigrees"John S. WurtsBrookfield Publishing Co.N/A1942YesYesMagnaChartacover.jpg
Maintaining the Right FellowshipA Narrative account of the life in the oldest Mennonite CommJohn L. RuthHerald Press0-8361-1259-81984Yes No
Making Sense of the Molly MaguiresKevin Kenny Oxford University Press0-19-510664-41998YesYesmollycover.jpg
Marriage By LotA Novel Based On Moravian HistoryElsa Koenig NitzscheSchlechter'sN/A1958YesNoMonCherPapabackcover.jpg
Medicine Science & Natural History "George S. MacManusGeorge S. MacMANUS CO.N/AN/AYesYesMedicinesciencecover.jpgmusicinphilabackcover.jpg
Memoir of the Life of the Right Reverend William WhiteBishop of the Protestant Episcopal Chruch "Bird Wilson D.D.""James Kay Jun & Brothers "N/A1839YesNo
Mo Cher PapaFranklin and the Ladies of Paris Claude-Anne LopezYale University Press0-300-04800-91966YesYesMonCherPapacover.jpgmuttermuseumfrontincover.jpgmuttermuseumbackincover.jpgmuttermuseumbackcover.jpg
Music in PhiladelphiaAnd the Musical Fund Society Louis C. MadeiraRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-44-71896YesYesmusicinphilacover.jpgnamesonlandsbackcover.jpg
Musical Notes of a PhysicianF. William Sunderman Sr.Institute for Clinical Science 0-9632927-0-6 N/AyesYesMusicalNotescover.jpgNewJersey1609backcover.jpg
Mutter Museum Of the College of Physicans Of Philadelphia Gretchen WordenThe College of Physicans0-922233-24-12002YesYesmuttermuseumcover.jpg
Namaes on the landA Historical Account of Place Names in the United StatesGeorge R. StewartNew York Book Review978-1-59017-273-51945YesYes namesonlandscover.jpg
New Jersey From Colony to State 1609-1789Richard P. Mc CormickRae Publishing Co.0-911020-02-01981Yes Yes NewJersey1609cover.jpg
New Jersey in the American RevolutionBarbara J. MitnickRivergate Books978-0-8135-4095-52005YesYesNJintheAmericanRevolutioncover.jpg
New Jersey Summer 1967Frank P. TownsendNew Jersey Historical Society N/A1967YesYesNJHistorysummer.jpg
Notes on Old Gloucester CountyFrank H. Stewart The Historian of the SocietyN/A1917Yes Nooldphialdelphiabackcover.jpg
Notes on The Free Quaker Meeting House "Fifth and Arch Street Philadelphia Built 1783-84"Charles E. PetersonRoss & Perry Publishers1-931839-20-42002YesNo
Old American HousesHenry LionelBonanza Books57-70661957YesYesoldamericanhousescover.jpg
Old PhiladelphiaIn Early Photograph 1839-1914Robert F. Looney"Dover Publication Inc."0-486-23345-61976YesYesoldphialdelphiacover.jpg
Our Philadelphia Elizabeth RobinsJ.B Lippincott Company N/A1914YesNoPennbackcover.jpg
Pattern for Liberty Gerald W. Johnson "Mc Graw -Hill Company Inc. "N/A1952YesNo
Paul Revere The World he lived inEsther ForbesHoughton Mifflin CompamyN/A1942YesYesPaulRevereCover.jpg
PennElizabeth Janet Gray The Viking Press0-941308-06-51938YesYesPenncover.jpg
Pennsylvania A Guide to the Keystone StateRoy F. NicholsOxford University PressN/A1940YesYespennsylvaniacover.jpgPABirthfrontin.jpgPABirthinbackcover.jpgPABirthbackcover.jpg
Pennsylvania Province and State 1609-1790 Volume I"Albert S. Bolles Ph. D"Lenox Hill Publishing 74-1471401890YesNo
Pennsylvania A History Volume IVThomas L. MontgomeryLewis Historical PublishingN/A1926Yes NoPennsylvaniaArchbackcover.jpg
Pennsylvania Birth Place of a NationAn Illustrated history of the Commonwealth Sylvester K. StevensRandom House64-189301964YesYesPABirthcover.jpgPhiladelphiafrincover.jpgPhiladelphiainbkcover.jpgPhiladelphiabkcover.jpg
Pensylvania Province and State 1609-1790 Volume II"Albert S. Bolles Ph. D"Lenox Hill Publishing 74-1471401890YesNo
Pensylvania's ArchitectureRevised EditionIrwin RichmanPennsylvania Historical AssociationN/A1997YesYesPennsylvaniaArchcover.jpgPhiladelphiaGentlemanbackcover.jpg
Philadelphia A 300 Year History Russell F. WeigleyW.W Norton & Company0-393-01610-21982YesYesPhiladelphiacover.jpgPhiladelphiaMedicabackcover.jpg
Philadelphia FolksWays and Institutions in and about the Quaker City Cornelius WeygandtD.Appleton-Century Co.N/A1938YesYesPhiladelphiafolkscover.jpg
Philadelphia GentlemanThe Making of a National Upper ClassE. Digby BaltzellThe Free Press Corp.57-126301958YesYesPhiladelphiaGentlemanfrontcover.jpgPhiladelphiaOriginalsbackcover.jpg
Philadelphia MedicaBeing a Gudie to the City's Places of Health InterestJohn Francis MarionSmithKline Corporation75-272891975YesYesPhiladelphiaMedicacover.jpgPhiladelphiaPreservedbackcover.jpg
Philadelphia MerchantThe Diary of Thomas P. Cope 1800-1851Eliza Cope HarrisonGateway Editions0-89526689-X1978YesYesPhilamerchantcove.jpg
Philadelphia Originals Joseph GlantzShiffer Publishing Ltd.978-0-7643-3338-52009YesYesPhiladelphiaOriginalscover.jpg
Philadelphia PreservedCatalog of the Historic American Building SurveyRichard WebsterTemple University Press0-87722-215-01976Yes YesPhiladelphiaPreservedcover.jpg
Philadelphia Reflections Stories from the Delaware to the SchuylkillColleen Clemens & Rebecca BeardallThe History Press978-1-60949-318-92011Yes YesPhiladelphiareflectionscover.jpgbroadstbackcover.jpg
Philadelphia Victorian The Building of the AthenaeumRobert W. MossLibrary ofCongress0-916530-15-91998YesYesPhiladelphiavictoriancover.jpg
Philadelphia Washington SquareImages of AmericaBill Double Arcadia Publishing978-0-7385-6550-72009yesNoPlaceHaddonfieldbackcover.jpg
Philadelphia's Broad Street South And NorthImages of AmericaRobert Morris SkalerArcadia Publishing978-0-7385-1236-52003YesYesbroadstcover.jpg
Phila-NipponicaAn Historic Guide to Philadelphia & Japan Felice FischerPrestige PressN/A1999YesYesPhilaNippcover.jpgporkbarrelbackcover.jpg
Place Names in and About HaddonfieldWilliam R. FarrHaddonfield Hist. Soc. PublicationN/A1979YesYesPlaceHaddonfieldcover.jpgpoxamericanbackcover.jpg
Politicial Leaders of Proincial PennsylvaniaIsaac SharplessThe Macmillan CompanyN/A1919YesNoPrivateProertybackcover.jpg
Pork BarrelThe Unexpurgated Grace Commission Story of Congressional Randall FitzgeraldCato Institute0-932790-44-51984YesYesporkbarrelcover.jpg
Pox AmericanaThe Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82Elizabeth A. FennHill and Wang0-8090-7820-12001YesYespoxamericancover.jpg
Private property and Limits of American ConstitutionalismThe Madisonian Framework and Its LegacyJennifer NedelskyThe University of Chicago Press0-226-56970-51990YesYesPrivateProertycover.jpg
QuakerismA View from the Back BenchesCurt LefkovitsThe Back BenchersN/A1966Yesquakerismcover.jpgRatificationinfrontcover.jpgRatificationinbackcover.jpgRatificationbackcover.jpg
Rabbit Angstrom: The Four NovelsJohn UpdikeEveryman's Library978-0-679-44459-61960YesYesrabbitangstromcover.jpg
Radiology as an Art and Other EssaysJohn L. McClenahanCharles C. Thomas 67-120321967YesYesRadioaasanartand otheressayscover.jpgReganAndGorbachevbackcover.jpg
RatificationThe People Debate the Constitution 1787-1788Pauline MaierSimon And Schuster978-0-684-86854-72010YesYesRatificationcover.jpg
Ratification The People Debate the Constitution 1787-1788Pauline MaierSimon And Schuster978-0-684-86855-42010Ratification1787-1788cover.jpgRobertmorrisinfrontcover.jpgRobertmorrisinbackcover.jpgRobertmorrisbackcover.jpg
Rebellion in the RanksMutinies of the American RevolutionJohn A. NagyWestholme Publishing978-1-59416-055-42008YesYesrebellionintherankscover.jpg
Regan and GorbachevHow the Cold War Ended"Jack F. MatlockJr."Random House0-679-46323-22004YesYesReganAndGorbachevcover.jpgRunawayin.jpgRunawaybackin.jpgRunwaybackcover.jpg
Remember William Penn 1644-1944A Tercentenary MemorialThe William Penn Tercentenary CommCommonwealth of PennsylvaniaN/A1945YesNo
Robert Morris Financier of the American Revolution Charles RappleyeSimon And Schuster978-1-4165-7091-22010YesYesRobertmorriscover.jpgsilentwitnessbackcover.jpg
Roll Out The RockerMarion RivinusThe Falcon Press61-132601960YesYesrolloutcover.jpg
Runaway AmericaBenjamin Franklin Slavery and the America RevolutionDavi WaldstreicherHill and Wang13-978-0-8090-8314-52004YesYesRunawaycover.jpg
Signing their Lives AwayThe Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed DeclarationDenise Kiernan Joseph D'AgneseQurik Books978-1-59474-330-62009YesYessigningtheirlivesawaycover.jpg
Silent Witness"Ouaker Meetinghouses in The Delaware Valley 1695-Present"Roger W. Moss M.D.Philadelphia Yearly Meeting 0-941-308-12-x2000YesYessilentwitnesscover.jpgTerritoryoflouisianabackcover.jpg
Society Hill and Old City Images of AmericaRobert Morris SkalerArcadia Publishing0-7385-3818-32005Yes Yes societyhillandoldcitycover.jpgnewjerseystoriesback.jpg
Some Account of The Pennsylvania HospitalFrom 1751 to 1938"Francis R. Packard M.D."Engle Press N/A1938YesYesThePennsylvaniaHospital1751cover.jpgstoriesofNJbackcover.jpg
Standardized Plant Names American Joint Committee on Horticultural NomenclatureFrederick Law OlmstedMount Pleasant PressN/A1923YesYesplantnamescover.jpg
State Papers and Correspondence beating upon the Purshase Territory of LouisianaGovernment Reprint PressRoss & Perry Publishers1-931641-70-62001YesYesTerritoryoflouisianacover.jpgswarthmoreincover.jpgswarthmoreinbk.jpgswarthmorebackcover.jpg
Stories of New Jersey Frank R. StocktonRutgers Univerity Press8135-0369-81961YesYesnewjerseystoriescover.jpgdelawarebrenchfroin.jpgdelawarebrenchbacin.jpegdelawarebrenchbackcover.jpeg
Stories of New Jersey Frank R. StocktonRutgers Univerity Press8135-0369-81961YesYesstoriesofNJcover.jpg
Structures of American Social HistoryWalter NugentIndiana University Press0-253-10356-81981YesYesAmericansocialhistorycover.jpgTheAdamasMasionbackcover.jpg
Swarthmore College An Informal History Richard J. WaltonSwarthmore College86-607781986yesyesswarthmorecover.jpgtheageofwonderbackcover.jpg
Tales of the Delaware Bench and Bar Dudley C. Lunt University of Delware Press62-196591963YesYesdelawarebrenchcover.jpgTheAMAU.S.Healthincover.jpgTheAMAU.S.Healthbackincover.jpgTheAMAU.S.Healthbackcover.jpg
Taylors GutIn the Delaware StateDudley Cammett LuntAlfred A. Knopf67-186051968YesNo
The Adams ManisonCharles E. PetersonRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-42-02003YesYesTheAdamsMansioncover.jpgblackswaninfrontcover.jpg blackswanbackincover.jpg blackswanbackcover.jpg
The Age of WonderHow the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and TerrorRichard HolmesPatheon978-0-375-42222-52008YesYestheageofwondercover.jpg
The AMA and U.S. Health Policy Since 1940Frank D. CampionChicago Review Press0-914091-57-31984YesYesTheAMAU.S.Healthcover.jpg
The American Commonwealth New And Revised Edition Vol. IJames BryceThe Macmillan CompanyN/A1893YesNoThecarpentercobackcover.jpg
The Black Swan The Impact of the Highly ImprobableNassim Nicholas TalebRandom House978-1-4000-6351-22007Yes Yes blackswancover.jpg thecharacterofaquakerbackcover.jpg
The Bonds of Delware Dudley Lunt The Star Publishing Co.N/A1947YesNoTheclosingAmericanMindbackcover.jpg
The Book of MormonThe Hand of Mormon upon Plates Joseph SmithThe Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day SaintsN/A1948YesYesbookofmormoncover.jpgCPPIncover.jpgCppbackincover.jpgCppbackcover.jpg
The Carpenter's Company of the City and County of Phila1786 Rule Book Charles E. PetersonThe Pyne Press0-87861-016-21971YesYes Thecarpentercocover.jpg
The Character of a Quaker Henry J. Cadbury Sowers Printing Company 59-102621959YesYesthecharacterofaquakercover.jpgcomingofFrenchRevolbackcover.jpg
The Closing of the American MindHow Higher Education has Failed DemocracyAllen BloomSimon And Schuster0-671-47990-31987YesYesTheclosingAmericanMindcover.jpgTheCompanyTownfrontincover.jpgTheCompanyTowninbackcover.jpgTheCompanyTownbackcover.jpg
The College of Physicans of Philadelphia A Bicentennial History"Whitfield J. Bell Jr."Science History 0-88135-003-61987YesYesCPPCover.jpgTheCompleatedFranklininfrontcover.jpgTheCompleatedFranklininbackcover.jpgTheCompleatedFranklinbackcover.jpg
The College of Physicans of Philadelphia Portrait CatalogueJulie S. BerkowitzThe College of Physicans0-943060-03-61984YesYesCppportraitcatalogcover.jpg
The Coming of the French RevolutionGeorge LefebvrePrinceton University Press0-691-00751-91967YesYescomingofFrenchRevolcover.jpg
The Company Town The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills that Shaped the AmericanHardy GreenBasic Books978-0-465-01826-02010YesYesTheCompanyTowncover.jpg
The Completed Autobiography By Benjamin Franklin"Mark Skousen Ph.D"Regnery Publishing0-89526-033-62006YesYesTheCompleatedFranklincover.jpgThecrisisbackcover.jpg
The Conquest of New France Volume 10George M. Wrong Ross & Perry Publishers1-932109-10-21918YesNoThediarybackcover.jpg
The Constitution of the United Statesand The Declaration of IndependenceGouverneur Morris Commission on the BicentennialN/A1775YesYesConstitutioncover.jpg
The Continuing Care Retirement Community Anne R. Somers/Nancy L. SpearsSpringer Publishing Co.0-8261-7830-81992YesYesContinuingcarecover.jpgThe Founding Citybackcover.jpg
The Crisis of the American RepublicA History of the Civil War and Reconstruction EraAllen C. GuelzoSt. Martin's Publishing0-312-09515-51995YesYesThecrisiscover.jpgBenjaminfranklinbiofrin.jpgBenjaminfranklinbiobackin.jpgBenjaminfranklinbiobackcover
The Diary of the American Revolution An Exciting and readable account of the great and obscure eventsFrank MooreWashington Square PressN/A1967YesYesThediarycover.jpg
The Eve of the RevolutionCarl BeckerRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-11-01918theeveoftherevolutioncover.jpg
The Fathers of the Constitution Volume 13Max Farrand Ross & Perry Publishers1-932109-13-71921YesNo
The Federalist PapersThe Classic Original EditionJames Madison9-781936-59440-51787federalistpaperscover.jpg
The Founding City Bicentennial Journal The Philadelphia InquirerDavid R. BoldtThe Philadelphia Inquirer0-8019-6565-91975YesYesThe Founding Citycover.jpghiddenhistorybackcover.jpg
The Founding Fathers Benjamin FranklinA Biography in his Own WordsThomas FlemingHarper & Row Publishing06-011286-71972YesYesBenjaminfranklinbiocover.jpgHiddenhistorymainlinebackcover.jpg
The French RevolutionA History Thomas CarlyleThe Modern LibraryN/AN/AYes YesTheFrenchRevolutioncover.jpghospitalthatateinfrontcover.jpghospitalthatateinbackcover.jpghospitalthatatebackcover.jpg
The General Board of Proprietors of the Eastern Division of NJEdward G. EngleThe Board as a Public ServiceN/A1993YesYes TheGeneralBoardcover.jpgtheideaofamericafrontin.jpgtheideaofamericainback.jpgtheideaofamericabackcover.jpg
The Great InfluenzaThe Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in HistoryJohn M. BarryPenguin Books0-670-89473-72004YesYes Thegreatinfluenzacover.jpg
The Harvard Classics Vol. IFranklin Woolman PennP F ollierand Son Co.N/A1909YesNojamesmonroeincover.jpegjamesmonroebackin.jpgjamesmonroebackcover.jpg
The Hidden History of Delaware County Untold Tales from Cobb's Creek to the BrandywineMark E. DixonThe History Press978-1-60949-065-22010YesYeshiddenhistorycover.jpglastgangasterinfrontcover.jpglastgangasterinbackcover.jpglastgangasterbackcover.jpg
The Hidden History of the Main LineFrom Philadelphia to MalvernMark E. DixonThe History Press978-1-60949-064-52010Yes YesHiddenhistorymainlinecover.jpglastmouthpieceinfrontcover.jpglastmouthpieceinbackcover.jpglastmouthpiecebackcover.jpg
The Hopsital that Ate ChicagoDistortions Imposed on the Medical System by Its Financing George Ross FisherThe Saunders Press0-7216-3707-81980YesYeshospitalthatatecover.jpg
The Ideas of America Reflections on the Birth of the United States Gordon S. Wood The Penguin Press978-1-59420290-22011YesYestheideaofamericacover.jpg
The Journal of Scotch-Irish StudiesJoyce M. AlexanderCenter for Scotch-Irish Studies0-9714456-052001YesYesScotch-Irishcover.jpg
The Last Founding FatherJames Monroe and A Nation's Call to GreatnessHarlow Giles UngerFirst Capo Press13-978-0-306-81808-02009YesYesJamesmonroecover.jpg
The Last GangsterFrom Cop to Wiseguy to FBI Informant.George AnastasiaHarper Collins Publishers0-06-054422-82004NoYes Toria Affruntilastgangastercover.jpgmakingofPAbackcover.jpg
The Last MouthpieceThe Man who Dared to defend the MobRobert F. Simone "Camino Books Inc."0-940159-69-42001Yes Yes lastmouthpiececover.jpgBeaumarchaisinfrontcover.jpgBeaumarchaisinbackcover.jpgBeaumarchaisbackcover.jpg
The Liberal Tradition in America Louis Hartz"Harcourt Brace & WorldInc."0-15-6510269-61955YesYesLiberalTraditioncover.jpgThemenwholovedtrainsinfrontcover.jpgThemenwholovedtraininsbackcover.jpgThemenwholovedtrainsbackcover.jpg
The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill RiverFlowBeth KephartTemple University Press978-1-59213-636-02007YesNo
The Life of George WashingtonJohn MarshallLiberty Fund0-86597-276-12000YesYesLifeofGeoergeWashingtoncover.jpg
The Life of Oliver EllsworthWilliam Garrott BrownThe Macmillan Company9-781276-3044-1-21923thelifeofoliverellsworthcover.jpg
The Literary History of PhiladelphiaEllis Paxons OberholtzerRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-45-51906YesNoSquareinfrontcover.jpgSquareinbackcover.jpgSquarebackcover.jpg
The Making of Pennsylvania Sydney G. Fisher Ross & Perry Publishers1-932109-43-91896YesYesmakingofPAcover.jpgThePerilsofPeaceinfrontcover.jpgThePerilsofPeaceinbackcover.jpgThePerilsofPeacebackcover.jpg
The Man who was Figaro BeaumarchaisFrederic GrendelCrowell0-690-0121011973YesYesBeaumarchaiscover.jpgThepinebarrenbackcover.jpg
The Men who Loved TrainsThe Story of Men who Battled Greed to Save an Ailing IndustryRush Loving Jr.Indiana University Press978-0-253-34757-22006YesYesThemenwholovedtrainscover.jpg
The New Jersey Sampler Historic Tales of Old New JerseyJohn T. CunninghamThe New Jersey Almanac64-249161964YESYESNewJerseyCover.jpg
The Northern VoyagesA.D 500-1600Samuel Elliot Morison Oxford University Press71-1296371971YesYesThenorthernvoyagescover.jpgFigaroinfrontcover.jpgFigaroinbackcover.jpgFigarobackcover.jpg
The Origin of the Philadelphia General HospitalBlockley Division"Robert J. Hunter M.D ."Philadephia GeneralN/A1977YesYesPhiladelphiageneralHospitalcover.jpg
The Perfect SquareA History of Rittenhouse SquareNancy M. HeinzenTemple University Press978-1-59213-988-02009YesYesSquarecover.jpg
The Perils of PeaceAmerica's Struggle for Survival After YorktownThomas FlemingFirst Smithsonian Book978-0-06-113910-92007YesYesThePerilsofPeacecover.jpg
The Pine BarrensJohn McPheeLibrary ofCongress67-224391968YesYesThepinebarrencover.jpg
The Portable CurmudgeonJon WinkokurNal Books 0-453-00740-61987YesYesportablecurmudgeoncover.jpg
The Quaker ColoniesVolume 8Sydney G. Fisher Ross & Perry Publishers1-9321096-09-91919YesNoTherisebackcover.jpg
The Real FigaroThe Extraordinary Career of Caron De BeaumarchaisCynthia CoxCoward McCann63-184011962Yes Yes Figarocover.jpg
The Reigns of Andrew Jackson Volume 20Frederic Austin OggRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-02-11919YesNo
The Right Angle Club 2007Annual Report 2007George Ross FisherRoss & Perry Publishers9-787774-5650892008YesNo
The Right Angle Club 2008Annual Report 2008George Ross FisherRoss & Perry Publishers978-1-932109-04-72009YesNoTheWitinfrontcover.jpgTheWitinbackcover.jpgTheWitbackcover.jpg
The Right Angle Club 2009Annual Report 2009George Ross FisherRoss & Perry Publishers978-1-932109-38-22010YesNo
The Right Angle Club 2010Annual Report 2010George Ross FisherRoss & Perry Publishers978-1-932109-39-92011YesNo
The Rise and Progress of the People Called QuakersWilliam PennRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-35-82003YesYesTheriscover.jpgthrougheyesinfront.jpgthrougheyesinback.jpgthrougheyesback.jpg
The Road to NowhereThe Genesis of President Clinton's Plan for Health SecurityJacob S. HackerPrinceton University Press0-691-04423-61997YesNotimetocarebackcover.jpg
The Summer of 1787The Men who Invented the Constitution David O. Stewarst Simon And Schuster978-0-7432-8692-32007YesYes TheSummerof 1787cover.jpgTRinfrontcover.jpgTRinbackcover.jpgTRbackcover.jpg
The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664Amandus Johnson International Printing CompanyN/A1927YesYesswedesdelawarecover.jpgTrailsphiladelphiainfrontcover.jpgTrailsphiladelphiainbackcover.jpgTrailsphiladelphiabackcover.jpg
The Uncertain RevolutionWashinton and the Continental Army at MorristownJohn T. CunninghamCormorant Publishing978-1-59322-028-02007YesYesUncertainrevolutioncover.jpg
The Wit and Wisdom of Benjamin FranklinA Treasury of more than 900 Quotations and AnesdotesJames C. HumesHarper Collins Publishers0-06-017172-31995Yes Yes TheWitcover.jpgUnlieklyAlliesinfrontcover.jpgUnlieklyAlliesBackincover.jpgUnlieklyAlliesBackcover.jpg
The Wreck of the Penn CentralJoseph DaughenLittle Brown and Company79-1618641971YesNoWashingtoninfrontcover.jpgWashingtoninbackcover.jpgWashingtonbackcover.jpg
This Is Haddonfield Historical Society of HaddonfieldHistorical Society of HaddonfieldN/A1963YesYes Haddonfieldcover.jpgWashingtonsecretwarinfrontcover.jpgWashingtonsecretwarinbackcover.jpgWashingtonsecretwarbackcover.jpg
Throught their EyesA Story of Doylestown Hospital Anne BiggsTower Hill Press0-941668-08-81998YesYesthrougheyescover.jpg
Time to Care Personal Medicine in the Age of Technology"Norman Makous M.D."Tow Path Publishing978-0-9776686-1-82010YesYestimetocarecover.jpg
TRA Biographical Novel about Theodore RooseveltNoel B. Gerson "Doubleday And Company Inc. "69-178631970YesYesTRcover.jpgwhatwouldthe foundersfrontincover.jpgwhatwouldthe foundersinbackcover.jpgwhatwouldthe foundersbackcover.jpg
Trails of a Philadelphia LawyerLaurence H. EldredgeJ. B. Lippincott PublishersN/A1968Yes YesTrailsphiladelphiacover.jpgwhenboossesinfrontcover.jpgwhenboossesinbackcover.jpgwhenboossesbackcover.jpg
TravelsJohn McClenahanSpectrum PressN/A1998YesYesTravelscover.jpgwhyobamacarebackcover.jpg
Unlikely AlliesHow a Merchant a Playwright and a Spy Joel Richard PaulRiverhead Books978-1-59448-883-22009YesYes UnlieklyAlliescover.jpg
WashingtonThe Indispensaable ManJames Thomas Flexner Little Brown and Company0-316-2860521969YesYesWashingtoncover.jpgWickedbackcover.jpg
Washington and his ColleaguesHenry Jones FordRoss & Perry Publishers1-932109-14-51918washingtonandhiscolleaguecover.jpgwindowforthecrownprincebackcover.jpg
Washington and his Comrades in ArmsGeorge M. Wrong Ross & Perry Publishers1-932109-12-91921washingtonandhiscomradecover.jpg
Washington's Secret WarThe Hidden History of Valley ForgeThomas FlemingHarper Collins Publishers0-06-082962-12005YesYesWashingtonsecretwarcover.jpg
Waterways of Camden County A Historical GazetteerWilliam R. FarrCamden County Historical Society0-9725871-0-12002YesYesWaterwayscover.jpg
West New Jersey The Peculiar ProbinceStewart Joslin Jr.N/A124-1001983YesYeswestNJcover.jpg
What Would the Founders Do?Our Questions Their AnswersRichard BrookhiserBasic Books978-0-465-00819-32006YesYeswhatwouldthe founderscover.jpg
When Bosses Ruled Philadelphia "The Emergence of the Republican Machine 1867-1933"Peter Mc CafferyPenn State Press0-271-00923-31993YesYeswhenboossescover.jpg
Why Obamcare is Wrong for AmericaHow the new health care laws drives up costs.Grace -Marie Turner James C. CaprettaHarper Collins Publishers978-0-06-207601-42011YesYeswhyobamacarecover.jpg
Why the Private School?Allan V. HeelyHarper & Brothers PublishingN/A1951YesYesWhytheprivateschoolcover.jpg
Wicked PhiladelphiaSin in the City of Brotherly Love Thomas H. KeelsThe History Press978-1-59629-787-62010YesYesWickedcover.jpg
Window for the Crown PrinceAkihito of JapanElizabeth Gray ViningCharles E. Tuttle Co.0-8048-1604-21952YesYeswindowforthecrownprincecover.jpg

Currencies Owned by Nations, or by People?

King Midas

Let's remember why this subject came up -- we essentially don't have a monetary standard, gold or anything else, although it seems likely a suitable monetary standard would lead to a better state of economic affairs. King Midas is thought to have invented the metallic-standard idea, and whether that is true or not, national currencies backed by gold are thousands of years old. No doubt, the Spanish galleon idea was a new slogan for an old idea which goes back at least as far as paper money. Consequently, people carried the gold coins around in purses, but still trusted the King to accumulate the gold and mint it into coins for them.

Gold Coins

History shows that kings regularly abused this intermediary role, by shaving the coins and other forms of short-weighting them. Meanwhile, kings felt they needed to accumulate funds for wars and other national purposes, and controlling the currency was a needed revenue generator. But the land was also used for aggressive national purposes, rewarding local chieftains for their loyalty, and substituting for the loan of mercenaries or other war materials. But when you give away land, you give away part of your kingdom, always a risky business. The more you think about history, the more convincing is the argument for gold, from the point of view of the king, if he is the middle-man. The argument for the individual citizen to surrender his gold to the King to parcel out to the citizens a second time is a little less dispositive. People have always grumbled about taxes and demanded more than protection in return for paying them. But pacifists have always resisted taxes disproportionately, arguing if we could become more peaceful, we might need fewer taxes. In a modern context, it is hard to imagine individual citizens making atom bombs, aircraft carriers and other means of winning wars. Less convincingly, the idea of a government using taxes to create state capitalism has been a second-best argument for governments to expropriate individual wealth. If it works at all, it has not proved itself in two hundred years of trying. Nevertheless, this line of thinking probably enlists significant leftist opposition to individual possession of physical wealth.

Industrial Revolution

Although the idea has provoked angry discussion for centuries, it is likely the opposition of leftists and the uneasiness of rightists would at best limit support to winning the agreement of a bare majority of the rest, probably only under convulsive circumstances, and probably only to a partial degree. The prospect of individual wealth possession, without forcible physical defeat, must content itself with sharing possession of the monetary standard with the government, until a partial test of the idea shows it has such economic advantages to trade and to peace, that further resistance is futile. The concept may possess such power, but it must overcome what is at present an unconvinceable opposition, and rest its case on unexpected success with creeping implementation.

The closest historical test would be the international experience with Spanish pieces of eight during the age of piracy. We do not have adequate history to use this period as a dispositive example, but it is certainly true that government was weak on the high seas And that national currencies regained dominance afterward when governments got stronger. It is also true the age of piracy was followed by the Industrial Revolution, or the Age of Enlightenment, or the French Revolution. A case could be made that any one of these consequences had roots in the Age of Piracy, but not a sufficiently powerful one to end debate. Here again, we must carry analysis as far as we can, but only expect to settle the question after experimentation with it. So, let's describe it more fully, to see where that gets us.

Sidney George Fisher's Mount Harmon

{Sidney George Fisher}
Sidney George Fisher

Because Delaware Bay was choked with weeds and snags, William Penn's three Quaker colonies were settled rather late during English colonization. Maryland was given to Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore by Charles I in 1632, while Penn received his land in 1682 from Charles II. Because of carelessness and poor information, the same land was deeded away twice, leading to a century of lawsuits, eventually settled by the Mason-Dixon line. Cecil County, Maryland was named after Lord Baltimore but by the time the metropolitan statistical areas became important, state lines were of subordinate concern. Somewhere along this tangled path, it was decided that Cecil County, Maryland belonged most logically to the Philadelphia area, and nobody objected very much. When you drive around, the countryside resembles Chester County, with a touch of Wilmington, Delaware here and there. There was once a time when variations in state laws made Elkton a famous place to go elope, but that issue has subsided, as well.

{Mount Harmon}
Mount Harmon

During the days when travel by canals was more comfortable than going by horseback but cleaner and safer than using trains, Cecil County did seem closer to Philadelphia than to Baltimore. The construction of the two Delaware-Chesapeake canals (the Old one, and the New one) thus created a period of two or three decades when a Philadelphia affiliation was a social reality for the most northerly parts of Maryland, even though the Tidewater estates faced the Chesapeake for recreation and commercial purposes. The original plantations were usually situated on peninsulas, so most owners lived miles away from their neighbors, with only loose ties to local counties and states. Thus Mount Harmon plantation is located at World's End, surrounded by three creeks and containing a large lake or pond. Once you go down the miles-long lane of tall trees, it's pretty isolated on the self-contained peninsula. The red-brick Georgian mansion, built in 1651, sits alone on top of a hill with a commanding view of the various inlets and harbors, surrounded by forests, lawns, gardens, and lots of privacy.

Thomas Say

Thomas Say

When writing to a good friend and fellow naturalist about his exploits in American Conchology, the Philadelphia Entomologist Thomas Say assured his friend that "INSECTS are the great objects of my attention. I hope to be able to renounce everything else and attend to them only." And so he did, writing one of the most important books on the study of North American insects. Say's American Entomology transformed the study of American Natural History from the pastime of science-oriented gentlemen, into a legitimate scientific field.

Thomas Say was born on June 27th, 1787 into a respectable Quaker family, the same summer when men from the newly independent states were meeting for the Constitutional Convention. His father, Benjamin Say, a "fighting Quaker" during the revolutionary war, was a well-established pharmacist and apothecary. His mother was a descendant of the famous naturalist, John Bartram of Bartram Gardens in Kingessing. Say seems to have inherited the naturalist gene, and collected butterflies for his great uncle, William Bartram, as a young boy. Into adulthood, he remained uninterested in all subjects save Natural History.

Say's father, skeptical about his son's obsessive interest in bugs, attempted to set him up in the pharmacy business as a partner with a family friend and fellow naturalist, John Speakman. Unfortunately, both men were more interested in Natural History than business; their partnership failed miserably, leaving Say completely broke but with plenty of time to devote to his passion, Natural History.

This passion contributed to the founding of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Meeting in the houses of local naturalists, and even in Say and Speakman's chemist shop, a small group of young men set out to create an institution where they could collect, share and legitimate the study of Natural History. With Say present at the founding meetings, the Academy of Natural Sciences was established to stop the exportation of scientific research to Europe and establish an American scientific community. Patriotic fervor was particularly notable during the year of the Academy's founding, 1812.

The Academy's progress took a brief hiatus that summer to put a stop to what the new Americans viewed as threats to the young country's independence. Say joined the army and survived its bullets. By the end of the war, and with American economic independence intact, the Naturalists now continued their mission of establishing American intellectual independence. Elected the Conservator of the Academy, Say devoted his life to the maintenance and study of its collections. He is said to have lived in the rooms of the Academy on bread and milk (with an occasional chop or egg) and to have slept under the skeleton of a horse. Notoriously frugal, spending only 6 cents on food every day, Say bemoaned the hassle and expense of dining. He would rather be studying the wings of mosquitoes than wasting time with fancy dining.

During these early days of the United States, Thomas Say was quickly cast as a key member of America's varied and extensive expeditions to discover its largely unknown country. His first was a trip with fellow Academy members to Florida in 1817, a journey cut short by the threat of unfriendly local indigenous tribes. The group did manage to capture a few important species; Thomas Say wrote to a friend that Florida while "not flowing with milk and honey," was "abounding in insects which are unknown."

In 1819, Say was appointed head zoologist for the expedition of Major Long to the Rocky Mountains, where Say discovered and named not only insects, but animals as well, including the Columba fasciata Say, or fan-tailed pigeon. Several years later, in 1823, Say accompanied Long once again, this time on an expedition to the head of the St. Peter's River.

Back in Philadelphia, Thomas Say worked tirelessly to deepen the Academy's intellectual work, publishing many articles for the Academy's Journal on both entomology and conchology. He was also involved with the American Philosophical Society and became professor of Natural Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. During this busy time, Say also managed to socialize among Philadelphia's upper crust, and is noted as having attended Caspar Wistar's weekly "soirees."

{Papilio_glacusSayP040CAA1 (1)}
Papilio Glacus from American Entymology

His urban life did not last, however; Say found himself swept westward in a great tide of social idealism. Robert Owen, a Scottish social reformer, moved to the United States in hopes of establishing a community based on the principles of cooperation, brotherly love, and universal education through the absence of competition, and religious motives. Having purchased the property of the German "Harmonists" in Indiana, Owen persuaded nearly 1,000 people of varying background to help establish a Utopian society. Although Say had a strong democratic spirit, he was perhaps most interested in the move West for what it might offer him in the way of scientific discovery.

In 1826, with both MacClure and Owen, Thomas Say sailed down the Ohio River on what was called the "Boatload of Knowledge," a small ship carrying East Coast intellectuals to their Indiana paradise. Say was put in charge of the operation and named captain of the ship, perhaps due to his experience in the army more than a decade before. It was also on this boat ride to Indiana that Say met his future wife, Lucy Way Sistare, a prospective schoolteacher at New Harmony.

Despite this drastic move, Say remained much more concerned with his study of Natural History than any particular ideological movement, a fortunate enough attitude given the community's short life; after only two years the New Harmony project evaporated because of lack of organization and internal feuds between Owen and his various followers. Say was nevertheless able to use the move out West to his advantage and took part on an expedition to Mexico with William MacClure.

Although voices from the East Coast, and particularly the Academy, called him back, Say stayed in Indiana, publishing his two most famous works, American Entomology and American Conchology. He used illustrations composed over the years by young Titian Peale, son of Say's portraitist, Charles Wilson Peale, as well as Charles Alexandre Lesueur. Lucy Say, his wife, also helped to color the plates for their publication. These two works, and particularly American Entomology were praised abroad as real works of science and as proof the United States had "serious" scientists.

Say experienced relative peace and quiet during his final years in Indiana, a quiet spent in vigorous study of Natural History. However, after years of ill-health, of putting off food for study and his own well-being for that of others, Say died at the young age of 49 in 1834. He was buried at New Harmony, the grave marked with an epitaph capturing his unique passion for the Natural World:

Botany of nature, even from a child,
He saw her presence in the trackless wild;
To him the shell, the insect and the flower,
Were bright and cherished embers of her power.
In her, he saw a spirit life divine,
And worshiped like a Pilgrim at the shrine.

The Garden Show Evolves

Adam Levine, who is the unofficial authority on the Philadelphia garden scene, has written elegant books about The Flower Show, and about the larger gardens in the region. At a recent luncheon meeting at the Franklin Inn, he traced the evolution of the Flower Show.

{The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society}
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society was founded in 1827, and it organized the first Flower Show in 1829. For a century it was only an amateur display, very similar to the sort of local garden club display found in many towns and villages in England. The timing of such shows is dictated by the booming season of the flowers of the region, so the display depends on the dates of the local flowers, related in turn to soil and weather conditions. In the early part of the Twentieth Century, W. Atlee Burpee became the dominant force in the Philadelphia show. The show established a long tradition of domination by seed companies and nurseries, with elaborate displays which often took a week to set up, preceded by months or years of planning. The central difference in the nature of the Philadelphia show was that plants were forced into bloom, so much of its impact depended on displays which were seemingly entirely out of season. After World War II, Ernesta Ballard became the moving and controlling force, driving The Show into enormous popularity in the new larger quarters at Convention Hall. Considerable revenue was generated and used to beautify Philadelphia. The Show became the biggest, best, most popular and best funded flower show in America. Ernesta was a success.

{Mrs. Ballard}
Mrs. Ballard

Gradually, the most elaborate or dominant displays were put on by florists, using cut flowers. That was not necessarily Mrs. Ballard's original intention, although it might have been. It is the nature of plant nurseries to take away a ball of topsoil when they sell a plant, and that tends to dictate the location of the major nurseries in places where farmers are willing to ruin the land for farming, looking to speculate on suburban development. They thus are usually rural or exurban, because prime farmland is too expensive. Obviously, nurseries are pressed outward from the rim of the expanding city, and may even be forced to locate at a considerable distance away. These realities of the business tend to diminish the local loyalties of the nurseries and the city to each other. Mainly, cut flower arrangements resisted this trend by using greenhouses, but air freight has now made it possible for exhibitors of live plants to come from the Netherlands, Peru, and even Korea. The Flower Show is still held in Philadelphia, but it is much less a product of Philadelphians, especially amateur Philadelphians. When large single exhibits now can cost $100,000 apiece to organize, it is not surprising that the Philadelphians who do exhibit, are members of the upper crust.

And then there are those unions. While upper crust exhibitors can afford to pay full union wages for an electrician to plug in one electrical outlet, they are instantly offended by the whole featherbedding experience of being forced to do it. And since a great many blue collar union members are hostile to any suggestion that these gentleman farmers are in any way their social superiors, they can display what is known as an attitude. Philadelphia is famous for aggressive unions, and the Convention Center is additionally notorious for unions with political clout. Somehow, the politicians in charge of this unfortunate passive-aggressive scene get control of it and are seen to get control of it. After all, snooty exhibitors are occasionally in a position to move whole factories out to the suburbs, to the general injury of the city; moving a flower show wouldn't be too hard to do. The paradox is that 70% of these union members live in the suburbs themselves. The Flower Show cannot run without the enthusiastic help of 3500 volunteers, easily turned off by muscling them. The judging is done by 175 volunteer judges from all over America, coming to Philadelphia at their own expense, for example.

The Flower Show has had memorable moments. There was a time when the Shipley School consistently won most of the prizes. There was a famous episode when the Widener Estate of Linwood had a world-famous Acacia display. When it was broken up, there was an uproar when it was given to Washington DC, instead of staying right here where it belonged. Now, the gossip is about exhibitors from Ukraine, or from Japan, making little laughable mistakes about local geography with many streets named One Way.

The Show goes on and thrives. But just what its future is going to be is unclear. The Convention Center has doubled its space, but whether it can double its business is uncertain. And the management has recently changed from leadership which had a focus on the show and regarded city beautification as something to do with left-over profits, to leadership with a primary interest in the beautification of the city. No business will thrive if it neglects its revenue stream. So, please be careful with our nice Flower Show.


Standardized Plant Names: American Joint Committee on Horticultural, Frederick Law Olmsted Google Books

Native Habitat

Gifford Pinchot

Teddy Roosevelt's friend Gifford Pinchot is credited with starting the nature preservation movement. He became a member of the Governor's cabinet in Pennsylvania, so Pennsylvania has long been a leader in the formation of volunteer organizations to help the cause. Sometimes the best approach is to protect the environment, letting natural forces encourage the growth of butterflies and bears in a situation favorable to them. Sometimes the approach preferred has been to pass laws protecting threatened species, like the eagle or the snail darter. Sometimes education is the tool; the more people hear of these things, the more they will be enticed to assist local efforts. The direction that Derek Stedman of Chadds Ford has taken is to help organize the Habitat Resource Network of Southeast Pennsylvania.


The thought process here is indirect and gentle, but sophisticated; one might call it typically Quaker. Volunteers are urged to create a little natural habitat in their own backyards, planting and protecting plant life of the sort found in America before the European migration. If you wait, some insects which particularly favor the antique plants in your garden will make a re-appearance, and in time higher orders like birds that particularly favor those insects, will appear. The process of watching this evolution in your own backyard can be very gratifying. To stimulate such habitats, a process of conferring Natural Habitat certification has been created. In our region, there are over three thousand certified habitats.

Of course, you have to know what you are doing. Provoking people to learn more about natural processes is the whole idea. For example, milkweed. That lowly weed is the source of the only food Monarch butterflies will eat, so if you want butterflies, you want milkweed. For some reason, perhaps this one, the Monarch is repugnant to birds, so Monarchs tend to flourish once you get them started. After which, of course, they have their strange annual migration to a particular mountain in Mexico. Perhaps milkweed has something to do with that.

Empress tree

If you plant trees and shrubs along the bank of a stream, the shade will cool the water. That attracts certain insects, which attract certain fish. If you want to fish, plant trees. And then we veer off into defending against enemies. The banks of the Schuylkill from Grey's Ferry to the Airport are lined with oriental Empress trees, with quite pretty purple blossoms in the Spring. These trees seem to date from the early 19th Century trade in porcelain (dishes of "China" ) on sailing vessels. The dishes were packed in the discarded husks of the fruit of the Empress tree, and after unpacking, floated down the Schuylkill until some of them sprouted and took root. Empress trees are certainly an improvement over the auto junkyards hidden behind them. On the other hand, Kudzu is an oriental plant that somehow got transported here, and loved what it found in our swamplands. Everywhere you look, from Louisiana to Maine, the shoreline grasslands are a sea of towering Kudzu, green in the spring, yellow in the fall. It may have been an interesting visitor at one time, nowadays it's a noxious weed. So far at least, no animals have developed a taste for Kudzu, and no one has figured out a commercial use for it. When an invasive plant of this sort gets introduced, native habitat and its dependent animal life quickly disappear. So, in this situation, nature preservation takes the form of destroying the invader.

Charles Darwin

But where is Charles Darwin in all this? The survival of the fittest would suggest that successful aggressors are generally fitter, so evolution favors the victor. Perhaps swamps are somehow better for being dominated by Kudzu, pollination might be enhanced by killer bees. At first, it might seem so, but if the climate or the environment is destined to be in constantly cycling flux, diversity of species is the characteristic most highly desired. For decades, biologists have puzzled over the surprising speed of adaptation to environmental change. Mutations and minor changes in species seem to be occurring constantly, and most of them are unsuccessful changes. But when ocean currents change, or global warming occurs, or even man-made changes in the environment alter the rules, we hope somewhere a favorable modification of some species has already occurred standing ready to take advantage of the changing environment. Total eradication of species variants, even by other species which are temporarily better adapted, is undesirable. In this view, the preservation of previously successful but now struggling species is a highly worthy project. The meek, so to speak, will someday have their turn, will someday inherit the earth. For a while.

St. Lawrence Seaway map

And finally, there are variants of the human species to consider. To be completely satisfying, a commitment to preserving "native" species in the face of aggressive new invaders must apply to our own species. Surely, a devotion to preserving little plants and insects against the relentless flux of the environment does not support a doctrine of driving out Mexican and Chinese immigrants at the first sign of their appearance, like those aggressive Asian eels plaguing the St. Lawrence Seaway?. Here, the answer is yes, and no. For the most part, invasive species are aggressive mainly because they find themselves in an environment which contains no natural enemies. If that is the case, fitting the newcomers into a peaceful equilibrium is a matter of restraining their initial invasion long enough for balance to be restored through the inevitable appearance of natural enemies. So, if we apply our little nature lessons to social and economic issues related to foreign immigration, the goal becomes one of restraining an initial influx to a number which can be comfortably integrated with native tribes and clans. In the meantime, we enjoy the hybrid vigor which flourishes from exposure to new ideas and customs.

In the medium time period, that is. For the long haul, if the immigrant tribes really do have -- not merely a numerical superiority -- a genetic superiority for this environment, perhaps we natives will just have to resign ourselves to retreating into caves.

New Jersey: A Keg Tapped at Both Ends (1)


When Ben Franklin referred to New Jersey as a keg tapped at both ends, he was speaking of the land traffic down its eighty-mile waist, connecting the ports of New York and Philadelphia.Trenton is located at the northernmost navigable point of the Delaware River, and Perth Amboy (the original capital) is tucked behind Staten Island in New York's outer harbor. New Jersey continues to connect the two metropolitan areas, but today with rail and highways following somewhat different paths. Either way, Franklin's quip continues to apply to the sociology and politics of the former Garden State.

Frank Mazzei, chief of the legislative library of the Statehouse in Trenton, appears to be the world's expert on early New Jersey history. From him, we learn the first constitution of the state was an informal sort of thing, whose authority derived from the personal reputations of the men who wrote it, leaders of the rebellion or otherwise notable in the region in 1776. Under the circumstances, the rebels against the king were very concerned to limit the powers of the new Governor to little more than a clerk or administrator. Real power was given to the Legislature, who made laws mainly in response to petitions from the populace. New Jersey had very low taxes. As time went on, there were several revised constitutions, and the 1966 version has ended up creating the most powerful Governor in the nation -- and the highest taxes, plus a $58 billion unfunded debt for state employee pensions.

{top quote}
Trenton has an urban revival but -- so far -- very few visitors tour the much-restored Statehouse. It's worth a trip. {bottom quote}
Dr. Fisher

Incidentally, the power of citizens to introduce legislative bills by petition may possibly persist, but has definitely been forgotten. The source of the Governor's power lies in two abilities: to appoint the top officials of the state including the Supreme Court, and to exercise a "line item" veto. It really seems extraordinary that two vague provisions would lead to such a profound change in the nature of the government, but here's a stern warning about some similar proposals currently noised about on the federal level. The Republic has fumbled its way into a delicate balance among the three branches of government; anything which gives one branch the power to appoint the other, or to defy the wishes of the other, upsets that balance. New Jersey's Supreme Court is restrained in its ability to thwart the actions of either the Executive or the Legislative branches by finding its own appointment in the hands of the Governor; unlike similar Federal appointments by the President to the U.S. Supreme Court, the New Jersey Justices must retire at the age of 70. That seems like a small difference, possibly even a good one. But in the case of Justice Stevens, George Bush would achieve 6-3 decisions instead of 5-4; that would make a big difference. The votes might even still be 5-4, but points at issue would migrate further toward the President's position.

{The State House of New Jersey}
The State House of New Jersey

Similarly, a line item veto would greatly diminish the power of the U.S. Congress, because it limits the ability to compromise. There are many situations where two bills, each of which would surely fail, are welded together into an omnibus bill which effectively passes both of them. There are other situations where a critical vote in Congress is purchased at the cost of some egregious pork barrel favor to a hold-out member. It's easy to see why editors and commentators screech with outrage at such contemptible tactics. And in fact, the underlying point is that the Congressional leaders who sacrifice their principles in order to advance a significant proposal, know that even better than outsiders do. It hurts, you must hold your nose, but it must nevertheless be done. This is a price that leaders of a republic must pay for progress and one reason so few are willing to engage in it. The astonishing point about the New Jersey experiment is that the line item veto does not save money, it effectively results in unrestrained spending, increased taxes and public indebtedness. If someone would write an eight-hundred-page book instead of a three-paragraph editorial on the topic of the line-item veto, reporters in the gallery might be less disposed to malign the American system. What's greatly underestimated in American politics is the relentless energy with which politicians will exploit even the smallest subtle change in the rules. That generates two strong forces: a reflex opposition to changing the rules in the slightest degree; and a constant scheming to change rules for purposes other than the stated ones.

In an era when we are endlessly reminded that America is a nation of laws and not of men, it is disconcerting to learn that the New Jersey legislature considers over 11,000 new laws a year, and enacts about 300 of them. Just to record the three hundred laws would fill a thousand-page book, which even a full-time lawyer would have difficulty reading, let alone remembering. In this connection, a story is told of the law about driving while sleepy. If it's illegal to drive while intoxicated, then surely it should be illegal to drive while too sleepy to remain alert. The New Jersey legislature debated the fine points of this idea, eventually deciding that it should be illegal to remain at work for more than 24 hours. It took longer than that to pass the legislation, so the legislature found itself in the position of making it illegal -- for itself to drive home.


Camden After the Fall: Decline and Renewal in a Post-Industrial City: Howard Gillette Jr.: ISBN-13: 978-0812219685 Amazon

Morris Arboretum

{top quote}
The former estate of John and Lydia Morris is run as a public arboretum, one of the finest in North America. {bottom quote}

Morris is the commonest Philadelphia name in the Social Register, derived largely from two unrelated Colonial families. In addition to their city mansions, both families had country estates. The country estate once belonging to the Revolutionary banker Robert Morris was Lemon Hill, just next to the Art Museum, where Fairmount Park begins. But way up at the far end of the Park, beyond Chestnut Hill, was Compton, the summer house of John and his sister Lydia Morris. This Morris family had made a fortune in iron and steel manufacture and were firmly Quaker. Both John Morris and his sister were interested in botany and had evidently decided to leave Compton to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a public arboretum. John died first, leaving final decisions to Lydia. As the story is now related, Lydia had a heated discussion with Fiske Kimball, at the end of which the Art Museum deal was off. She turned to her neighbor Thomas Sovereign Gates for advice, and the arboretum is now spoken of as the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. It is also the official arboretum of the State of Pennsylvania. To be precise, the Morris Arboretum is a free-standing trust administered by the University, with the effect that five trustees provide legal assurance that the property will be managed in a way the Morrises would have wished. In Quaker parlance, Lydia possessed "steely meekness."

A public arboretum is sort of an outdoor museum of trees, bushes, and flowers, with an indirect consequence that many museum visitors take home ideas for their own gardens. Local commercial nurseries tend to learn here what is popular and what grows well in the region, so there emerges an informal collective vision of what is fashionable, scalable, and growable, with the many gardeners in the region interacting in a huge botanical conversation. The Morris Arboretum and two or three others like it go a step further. There are two regions of the world, Anatolia and China-Korea-Japan, with much the same latitude and climate as the East Coast of America. Expeditions have gone back and forth between these regions for a century, transporting novel and particularly hardy or disease-resistant specimens. An especially useful feature is that Japan and parts of Korea were never covered with glaciers, hence have many species found nowhere else in the temperate zone. Hybrids are developed among similar species found on different continents, and variants are found which particularly attract or repel the insects characteristic of each region. The Morris Arboretum is thus at the center of a worldwide mixture of horticulture and stylish outdoor fashion, affecting millions of home gardeners who may never have heard of the place.

Haddonfield Blooming Outdoors, Year-Round

{Haddonfield Christmas Lights}
Haddonfield Christmas Lights

DECEMBER. The last of the outdoor blooms disappear at Thanksgiving. The last fall-blooming (Sasanqua) camellias, witch hazels and surviving rose bushes finish up, and the glorious maple trees have lost their fall foliage. In a warm year, the lawns remain green through Christmas, while the town lights up its trees and shrubs, and doorways, and lamp posts. The church carillon plays carols; it gets dark early. Old timers tell you of once riding to Moorestown for Christmas in a one-horse open sleigh. Winters are definitely getting warmer, but it's unclear whether this has to do with global warming or just hot water from a million drain-pipes warming up the rivers. The Philadelphia water department reports it extracts seven times as much water from the river as flows past from Torresdale to Marcus Hook. Each drop must go through seven sewage systems during that transit. Warmer weather or not, one gets to wishing the home oil delivery services would post their prices on big signs, the way gas stations do. Price controls are abhorrent, but sometimes the competitive marketplace could use a little help.
Holly Berries

JANUARY'S Ice and snow, as sung by Flanders and Swann, make the nose and fingers glow. There's not much blooming outdoors along the Atlantic coast north of Cape Hatteras in January, although the holly berries are still colorful, especially when surrounded by a thin dusting of snow. There is at least one Haddonfield family, the Coffins, who make a hobby of growing a wide variety of holly variants, many of them quite hard to grow. For some semblance of outdoor color in January, however, red berries on a tall bush show up best.

In my family, we also resort to Christmas cactus for flowers at this time of the year. It's a house plant, however, and it's a succulent, not a true cactus. In spite of the name, it only reliably blooms at Christmas if you force it to. Our formula is to stop watering it at Hallow E'en and resume watering at Thanksgiving, keeping the plant in semi-darkness during that period. Even so, it's more naturally a January bloomer, and among the easiest indoor plants to maintain. Our Christmas cactus plant is in its fourth generation within our family, with three living generations maintaining descendants of the original plant. Grandma's Christmas cactus is a living link within the family, helping us to remember who we are.

Early Sprouts

FEBRUARY'S slush and sleet, sing the Englishmen, freeze the toes right off your feet. Toward the end of the month in one of Haddonfield's milder winters, you can expect the snowdrops to flower around the base of dormant dogwood trees. These bulb plants are not very showy except for being the only thing in bloom, so plant a lot of them in clusters in the early fall, using loose soil so they can naturalize. Generally speaking, rabbits leave them alone, and in a week or so they are joined by Snowdrops, Glory of the Snow, and FSquill. The leaf fall from dogwood trees from is so dense you probably find bare ground around the base of the tree; needs something to brighten it up. The red holly berries are still on the bush; if you are lucky you have varieties of holly with white stripes on the leaves, although variegated plants are less hardy than the plain green ones. During a mild snap, daffodils poke up spikes of leaves, and a few of them have tinges of yellow. Haddonfield can get a ton of snow in February, but not every year. Some years are so mild they snatch away all the fun from neighbors who take cruises or go to southern climes for an unnatural suntan, but older residents can remember years when the Delaware River froze over. The early blooming magnolias are in bud, offering promise of what is to come. Almost everyone's lawn is a dormant brown.


MARCH arrived like a lamb this year, not every year. After a late 5" snowfall melted, the snowdrops carpeted the beds under the dogwood trees. The snowdrop idea is spreading; several neighbors have clumps of them. Plant them in clusters, not strings; in loose soil, they naturalize freely. Daylight savings time arrived, making a lot of people late for church, but helping to give the feeling of spring, which isn't officially here until March 21. The daffodils are up, showing tips of yellow. Magnolias are in bud, the grass is brown, but peppered with shoots of Star of Bethlehem. The star plants are nice but thrive in muddy areas to the point they seem like weeds. As bulb plants, Star of Bethlehem come up in the spring looking like rich green early grass. Since no chemicals seem to affect them, the best you can do is mow the fresh-looking "grass" as early and as close as you can; it retards them, maybe making them die out. If you let them bloom and go to seed, you are lost. Star of Bethlehem dries up and dies on the first really warm day, leaving a bare patch in the lawn, which crabgrass is happy to fill up. March 12: Crocus, out of nowhere, blooming profusely before the daffodils make the leap. The first year you plant bulbs, they come up slowly; in years after that, they seem to jump out of the ground. Planting a few new ones every year is a way to extend the season. Sooner or later the crocus will die out; better to stick with snowdrops and squill, which will usually naturalize. By the end of March, the crocuses are fully out, the Glory of the Snow is truly glorious, the squill abundantly naturalizing in the lawn. are suddenly in full bloom because the buds are hidden under the leaves until the flowers push forward. Hellebore gets better every year, filling up shady places and somehow repellent to rodents and deer. The opposite is true of hyacinths, which get a great start but are quickly eaten by rabbits attracted by the nice odor. Forsythia are starting to blossom, sort of straggly if wild, but brilliant yellow if . Lots and lots of buds are appearing on the bushes.


April Fool's day really starts the main season for Haddonfield blooming. The most striking announcement that Haddonfield is ready to go comes from the magnolia trees, because they are thirty or forty feet high, completely covered with bloom. Depending on the rainfall, and whether you fertilized adequately, the lawns are now green. Most people start mowing their lawns a week or so too late, leaving the brown stubs of last year's grass showing, and allowing the confounded Star of Bethlehem to get a start. Back down at ground level, the clumps of Glory of the Snow and Squill make a very welcome show at this time of year, but the Snowdrops are pretty well over. If you are doing this sort of small-bulb edging, it's best to mix all three in the same bed to extend the small-bulb season. Flowering quince trees (or bushes, really) come out on April Fool's day, but they are easily nipped by a cold snap, and revived by warm weather. In some years when the temperature hovers around the freezing point, it is possible to have three different bloomings of flowering quince, extending over several weeks. The Hellebore stays in bloom for several weeks in April, although the foliage grows up and hides the blossoms. If you plant magic lily among the Hellebore, the leaf fronds will mix among them and then die down; the tall lily blossoms appear "like magic" in August. Daffodils are in abundance at this time, in case Wordsworth is watching, making a ground-level yellow display underneath the yellow forsythia, also in full bloom. Blooming at the same time are the mucronulatum azaleas, which are really rhodedendrons, showing a nice lavender color. Like the forsythia, the wild types are rather scrawny and sparse, while the hybrids have thickly blossomed with a brighter hue. Eat your heart out, neighbors; with these early bloomers we can have a showy spring display a month earlier, at a time when you are hungry for spring color. Notice there are four common plantings which are broad-leafed but retain their leaves all winter. Evergreens with needles, of course, but in addition the Korean dogwood is green all winter, the magnolias have shiny leaves year-round, and the scuba. Acuba are a very worthwhile addition to any garden, because they flourish in shade and sun, are simple to transplant just from sticking bare shoots in the ground, and quickly hide garbage cans, garage entrances, etc. They have a spectacular red berry hidden under the top leaves; trim them down six inches and you will see bright red berries from December to May. They aren't blossoms but are just as colorful. Some people plant crocus and hyacynths for this season, but my advice is they are just too attractive for rabbits when you can fill the same space with daffodils and Glory of the Snow. Tulips? Well, they have to be dug up every year and replanted, and then the dead blossoms have to be trimmed after they bloom; too much trouble for me. Lilacs? Well T.S. Eliot made them famous in the Waste Land but they require alkaline soil to thrive; Haddonfield soil is naturally too acid for lilacs unless you keep putting lime on them. If you come to Haddonfield and stay for years (why not?) you concentrate on things that are low-maintenance. People who move into town from Michigan are forever planting lilac, crocus, and tulips, but that's high-maintenance in Haddonfield.


April 7: The parade of colors is beginning. Flowering fruit trees, flowering apple trees, cherries are in abundance throughout southern New Jersey. In center city Philadelphia, someone had the splendid idea of planting Ginkgo trees along the sidewalks. They look pretty much like flowering apple trees but require very little water so they become the urban favorite. When you plant flowering trees, it may take ten or more years before you see what the effect is, especially how the color fits in with the surroundings; and by then it is too late. Latecomers to the garden competition have a better chance to alternate a contrasting color. When there's nothing else in bloom, white is pretty spectacular. But when every tree is the same, it can be a little boring. For example, this is cherry blossom time in Japan, but the Japanese have so over-planted pink cherry trees for the season that although overwhelming at first, eventually the universal pinkness is pretty boring indeed. Meanwhile, all of the deciduous trees are starting to leaf out, but haven't reached the point of identifiable leaves. In many ways, this is the most beautiful brief season of the year, as every tree shows lacy tracery against the sky, but only for a few hours before the leaves appear.

April 16: The pachysandra ground cover is covered with clusters of little white flowers, which usually last for less than a week. It's hard to justify planting them for that, but important to remember an old maxim: That which grows on bare ground under a Norway maple is pachysandra -- maybe. For this purpose, Haddonfield used to have a great deal of Periwinkle, whose bright blue flowers seem somewhat more persistent because they do not all come into bloom at once. Periwinkle takes a fair amount of care, however, particularly to rake the Maple leaves away in the Fall without uprooting the ground cover, water in the summer, fertilize in the Fall; so it's falling off in popularity. If you like little blue flowers that are easier to manage, try Forget-me-nots, which come into bloom at the end of April and persist for a couple of weeks. This the magic time in South Jersey, where all the trees seem lacy with early leaf, and the laziness is echoed by Japanese cherry trees, star magnolia, and forsythia; it's a pity this wonderful moment only lasts a few days. The grass is generally green, but still growing slowly.

Pink Dogwood

MAY is heavenly in Haddonfield. Three main acid-loving plants dominate the scene: azalea, dogwood

Little blue blossoms as a ground cover are another garden feature which can give the appearance of an extended season. The glory of the Snow is planted as bulbs in the fall, coming up just as the snowdrops fade away. And then the little blue flowers of periwinkle take over as a ground cover when the forsythia is out, followed by Forget-Me-Nots during the azalea season. Grape hyacinth fit in here, too. Bulbs, ground covers, and perennials are very different sorts of plants, but the low-growing little blue flowers are much the same at a distance and can give the appearance of almost two months of continuous garden effect. Along with lily of the valley, which has a sweet fragrance, it is possible to replace the bare-earth appearance of a landscaper's commercial flowerbed with a display that is fun to watch in its subtle variations -- almost all spring long. Don't forget a patch of Woodruff, which makes a nice ground cover like pachysandra, with the bonus that a few blossoms floating in a bottle of cheap white wine convert it into delightful May Wine, Haddonfield style.

If you drive around Haddonfield in the spring, you can come across occasional homeowners who have gone too far with azaleas. They probably didn't realize what they were doing when they installed far too many azaleas of different color and habit as small plantings. But after twenty years, these bushes will grow pretty big and shaggy, looking especially overdone when one house is like this, but all the neighbors have nothing but green yards. This problem can be addressed by removing a few of the biggest bushes, and less appropriately, by trimming them like hedges. Overdone gardens like this need to be pruned, and rather severely. The best time to do it is just after the blooming has stopped, which is also the time when the recollection of kitchiness is most acute. These people mean well, so be kind to them.

May 15. The trees are almost completely leafed out, and the grass is lush green. It's easy to be fooled by the grass, which can contain a lot of annual bluegrass and clipped-off Star of Bethlehem which will die off on the first really warm day, usually in June, leaving bare spots. What you need is perennial bluegrass, preferably of several varieties to resist diseases. Matching the full leaf-out of the trees are the hybrid rhododendrons, which are essentially the same as azaleas but taller and somewhat showier. They are less hardy than other rhododendrons; sometimes six or seven of them will be killed by a sudden cold snap, ruining your garden effect; so don't depend on them exclusively. Wegelia is out now, with nice effect, too.

Memorial Day used to be the last day of May, but to create three-day weekends, it now varies in timing by several days. In some regions, it's traditional to look for peonies, all crawling with ants, on Memorial Day, but in Haddonfield, it's the time for Mountain Laurel to be in full bloom. It takes ten to fifty years to produce an effective laurel bush out of a puny little potted plant, but when you do grow one, it makes a pretty spectacular Memorial Day. Laurel is the state flower of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but it seems less popular as a garden plant than it once was. There's also the mean rumor that honey from laurel blossoms is poisonous, but it's hard to get scientific verification of that. So many wildflowers are in bloom in late Spring, it seems relevant that the documented episodes of poisoning mostly date from the Civil War when both Northern and Southern armies were foraging in the North and South Carolina mountain wilderness. Belladonna would easily explain the symptoms the soldiers reported. There's still a Memorial Day parade in Haddonfield on Memorial Day, now much smaller than the one on the Fourth of July, although fifty years ago it was the other way around. Very likely, the Civil War veterans died off and World War I veterans favored Armistice Day. The American Legion, now mostly World War II veterans, has taken up Memorial Day, while the Veterans of Foreign Wars (originally Spanish American War, now Vietnam veterans) seem to like Independence Day. It does seem we have too many wars because it's possible to think of several others that haven't even adopted a parade.

JUNE in Haddonfield is usually a month with two seasons, late spring and early summer. At the start of the month, the left-overs from late May are still blooming, but winding down. The Mountain Laurel and hybrid rhododendrons start the month in full bloom, and then gradually fade out by about the tenth of June. Sweet magnolias come out then, with rather amazingly big flower buds. There are Easter lilies, and roses in great abundance. Astilbe in several colors is at the base of the larger bushes, and the lawns are still richly green, even bluish tinted. There are bunnies running around aimlessly, and squirrels seriously pursuing their tasks; comparatively few birds are on the ground, but up in the trees there is a great abundance of songbirds, especially early in the morning. They better watch out, a neighbor reports nesting hawks, and those owls are somewhere around.

June 15. The early June blooms are fading, but some straggler azaleas and hybrid rhododendrons persist, especially in shady areas. But the middle of June is the time for the hydrangea to pop out, and if you have taken care, there will be several interesting varieties in several colors. The Korean dogwood is just starting to blossom, about the time you gave up and assumed they never would. The blossoms (corms) start out tinted green and then turn white as they grow in size, and for some reasons, the tree will blossom in some areas well before others. This tree looks deciduous, but in Haddonfield at least the leaves remain green on the trees all winter long. And now, the wild rhododendron starts to blossom, continuing up to about the Fourth of July. These bushes are big, and they bloom abundantly, but the blossoms tend to be deep within the foliage, bloom sequentially instead of all at once, and are thus much less showy than the hybrids. But if they have been planted near the outside of a window, the blossoms are quite nice when viewed from inside the house. Sort of house plants, growing outside. Be aware of a sudden burst of hot weather. The Star of Bethlehem will suddenly grow brown, and the annual bluegrass will die as well. his is the moment in the season when a good lawn suddenly looks second-rate, but a really really good lawn just shows 'em all up. Merion bluegrass; there's nothing like it.

Independence Day

JULY'S first week revolves around the celebration of Independence Day, and in Haddonfield that means the Parade. Since the Declaration was ratified and the State of New Jersey was then immediately founded in the Indian King Tavern, the excitement is natural enough. There are fireworks and antique cars, string bands and bagpipers, service clubs and neighborhood displays, but any old-timer will tell you the central excitement of the parade and the memories generated, focus on the little kids with decorated bicycles. As far as flowers are concerned, the main display is the wild rhododendrons, with daylilies starting up, and hydrangea of many colors. There are a few Southern Magnolias, especially one in front of the Episcopal Church, with flowers as big as dinner plates, but most of these flowering trees have been planted fairly recently so the blooms are sparse. Give them a few good growing seasons before they make an impact on the town. By mid-July, most of the color is coming from window boxes and perennials along the borders of the lawns. Here's one thought about nature in the summer: Although the dominant front-yard color in Haddonfield in July and August is green (the flowering annuals and perennials are mostly in the back yards), there is the question of insects and birds. The buddleia plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, honeybees are attracted by the flowers of Hosta, and phlox attracts lots of bumblebees. We're in the migratory path for birds, so there are spring and fall migrants; nesting birds predominate in hot weather, so that's what should be attracted to bird feeders with sunflower seeds. It isn't unusual for a house to have eight or ten bird feeders, where the main problem is squirrels, lots and lots of squirrels. Chipmunks and squirrels are fun to watch, just like hummingbirds and bumblebees, but you should give some thought to what kind of ecosystem you hope to promote.

Crape Myrtle

AUGUST in Haddonfield features Crape Myrtle, which comes in many shades of red, and many sizes from three-foot bushes to thirty-foot trees. They are a southern flowering bush, just barely hardy this far North, so it pays to shelter them a little when you plant them. For the most part, blooming flowers in Haddonfield are mostly found in the back yards during August. The annuals are too numerous to mention, so an experienced gardener groups color schemes. Another trick is to plant seven-foot sunflowers in the back, five-foot gladioli in front of them, and three-foot phlox in front of that. Let's not forget to mention crabgrass. When the ground is wet they are relatively easy to pull up, when they get to be twelve-inch mounds they are almost impossible to pull. Newcomers are pleased crabgrass is such a quick-growing thick green turf, but they are the enemy and don't you forget it. They are an annual, so the first frost turns them brown, and they seed themselves relentlessly. Part of enjoying a garden is learning to enjoy pulling up crabgrass.


SEPTEMBER, remember, as the mariners say about hurricanes. Somewhere it is written that 80% of the rainfall along the Atlantic coast in the autumn is caused by coastal storms, sometimes hurricanes, sometimes nor'easters, sometimes just storms. Variability of the rainfall in autumn is one of the main causes of variability in spring gardens. Since September is the perfect time to put in new grass seed, the quality of lawns has a lot to do with coastal storms the year before. It's almost three months since the days started getting shorter on June 21, so the flowering plants are starting to fade. Crape myrtle is good for the first two weeks, and spider plant gets three or four feet tall, an annual that looks like a flowering bush. The August blooms, of sunflowers and phlox, are starting to droop a little. It's definitely time to go to the local plant store and get a dozen or so chrysanthemum plants. Yes, it's possible to debut them in the summer, prune them into tight bushes, and have a perennial that comes back every year. But you have to be a slave to chrysanthemums all spring and summer in order to have anything as full and compact as you can buy at the store. There are lots of 'mums in Haddonfield all fall, but almost all of them are purchased in pots in September.

September is the critical moment for good lawns. Permanent lawns go dormant around the end of August, and even the best of them look a little shaggy then. The most neglected lawns die at this time, for lack of water, fertilizer, excess heat, and so on. However, permanent lawns with lots of bluegrass will respond to this weather signal by thickening up, one shoot dividing into three or four, and after a week or ten days will produce the best lawn of the year. Now is the time to fertilize, now is the time to reseed bare patches; every few years it may be time to thatch and thin out, although the lawn will look terrible for a month after hatching. If you seed, mainly use bluegrass plus a little fescue for shady areas. When reading the box of seed, just ignore the ryegrass, even if it says "permanent" ryegrass. Treat ryegrass as just so much sand diluting the good grasses; only use it if you are planning a quick sale of your house and want it to look nice for a few months. The secret of a good lawn is fertilizer, but of course, you can't grow wheat if you plant corn, you must give it some good seed worth fertilizing.

{Fall Leaves}
Fall Leaves

OCTOBER, according to the New England college drinking songs, is when the leaves do fall, so early in October. However, those who prefer the advantages of living in Haddonfield have the additional advantage of finding that in Haddonfield, the leaves turn brilliant and start to fall, so late in October. The rest of the color in October is left-over from the September fall revival. Lots of colored leaves lead to lots of leaves on the ground to rake. And you better rake them off the lawn, too, or else they will rot and kill the grass, leading to bare ground, which washes away from the tree roots and looks just terrible. So rake, and rake cheerfully. Blessings on the Borough, which sends trucks around to suck them up into trucks and takes them away, so they don't clog up the storm sewers with disheartening floods in the streets when it rains, as it frequently does when fall hurricanes sent storms up our way. Remember, do your share of leaf raking, and do it both quickly and cheerfully.


NOVEMBER has some late-blooming flowers, especially chrysanthemums and others of what Linnaeus called the Aster family, but which DNA studies show are just late-blooming flowers that sort of look like chrysanthemums. We're not going to get into this argument since the use of DNA typing seems to lead to placing the typical florist's chrysanthemum outside the chrysanthemum family, and endless other confusion which would serve this website no particular good until it settles down in forty or fifty years. A few stragglers like the spider plant will continue to bloom into November unless there's an early frost, along with "Asters" and dahlias, but all of that is a lot of trouble for a suburban landscape after school has begun, and the leaves are piling up, taking time to rake during short daylight hours. Be content with the glorious colors of the many maple trees, especially those lining the long straight streets like golden arches. We don't have much red color in the maples, such as you see in Vermont, so it's a good idea to plant some Euonymus bushes which will soon grow into trees and have stunning scarlet leaves in early November. The one really good fall-blooming shrub is the fall Carmelia, which comes in a variety of colors, but the white shows up best in my opinion. Camellias, whether of the fall-blooming or Japonica variety, are truly best suited to more southern climates. However, if you can find a place that is both sunny and protected -- a difficult combination to find -- they can grow to a height of six or eight feet, covered with blossoms at a time when foundation shrubbery is ordinarily pretty drab. After ten or fifteen years you can expect an early frost finally to get them, so don't be disheartened if that happens, just start over. If you have the sort of employer who transfers people every two years, just stick with pots of florists' chrysanthemums.

{Glory of the Snow}
The glory of the Snow
{Spring Budding}
Spring Budding
{Spring Budding}
Spring Budding
{Japanese Cherry}
Japanese Cherry
{Grape Hyacinth}
Grape Hyacinth
{Lily of Valley}
Lily of Valley
{Money Bush}
Money Bush
{Forget Me nots}
Forget Me Nots



There are lots of mundane activities involved in having a prize show garden, like compost heaps, cold frames, mud rooms, and the like, which competitive show-gardeners never think of talking about, let alone putting on display. However, someone who feels very competitive about the garden usually lets that competitiveness spill over into the greenhouse. Most working greenhouses are muddy and disreputable-looking. When you see a big greenhouse with a spotless floor, however, you know you are learning something about the owner. When tidiness extends to spotless tools and well-sharpened pencils, there's a message. This greenhouse is not merely a tool shed, it's part of the display.

Let's talk about three outstanding greenhouses in the Philadelphia region which are adjuncts to three outstanding horticultural competitors. To spare the feelings of all concerned, the names of the owners will not be mentioned. In one case, the plants are preponderantly indoor plants, a second one is preponderantly filled with outdoor plants, and the third is full of rarities.

The greenhouse full of indoor plants reflects an owner who primarily competes in flower shows in that type of plant, it is true. But this lady obviously brings the flowers to a peak of perfection and then shifts them into the house. The result is a dining area with twenty-five potted flowers scattered tastefully around, dressing up the house. One presumes the flower pots go back to the greenhouse when they start to wilt a little, and probably an effort is made to have plants which flower at different seasons of the year. Back out in the greenhouse, there are dozens of blue ribbons arranged within picture frames to produce pleasing arrangements in themselves. Although this is a famous horticulturalist of long standing, the blue ribbons on display are only awards from fairly recent shows.

{Greenhouse 2}

The second greenhouse to be mentioned is primarily devoted to outdoor plants, being bred and hybridized in controlled circumstances. The owner has created a garden in the interior of a suburban block on the Main Line, and although the houses are all part of the estate, the effect is one of the certain types of plantings in several backyards, a set of sculpted topiaries in one, a formal arrangement of boxwood designs in another, annuals in another. Although the rotation of plantings back and forth from the greenhouse is here probably more of a one-way trip, essentially the greenhouse is serving the same function as the one servicing the indoor display, a place to nurture plantings which are not quite ready for prime time.

{Greenhouse Pipes}

And the third greenhouse is primarily run by a husband and wife team of horticultural competitors. The other two gardens look as though they employed a dozen or so gardeners, while this one looks like it supports a two-person hobby. It contains a most unusual fern with its own nickname, and dozens of other display specimens of rare and unusual plants to compete in specialty shows of particular varieties. This greenhouse is just as spotless as the ones with much larger staff to do the cleaning, but it seems to have a wider variety of gardener conveniences to lighten the load and increase productivity. One quickly senses that the husband of the team pores over greenhouse catalogs and quickly adopts labor-saving devices. Space is at a premium in this greenhouse, and one guesses its results as much from a need to conserve steps as to conserve space. The effect faintly starts to resemble the jam-packed cockpit of a space-ship.

One technology advance seems to be so superior they all have it. The exterior surface of the greenhouses is not made of glass, but of polycarbonate plastic, sometimes known as "bullet-proof glass". Greenhouses seem a safe enough use for polycarbonate, although widespread use in disposable plastic water bottles seems a more questionable direction for environmental enthusiasm. This transparent material admits the light of a much wider wavelength, particularly ultra-violet, and no doubt greatly extends the season and the effectiveness of indoor nurture. From the photographer's point of view, the resulting pictures are far more pleasing, with diffused light and greater color brilliance. Thus, science has finally achieved for the Philadelphia region the same striking color of light that was so attractive to French Impressionists in southern France, and to vacationers in Hawaii.

The other thing this plastic invention has done has been to increase the general attractiveness of greenhouses. Until rather recently, it was the custom to paint white-wash on the glass and let it slowly weather away as increased sunlight is needed for the plants. Thus, greenhouses once almost always looked shabby and disreputable; not a place you would want seeing by visitors. But nowadays, you just keep them spic and span. And hold a cocktail party there.


Standardized Plant Names: American Joint Committee on Horticultural, Frederick Law Olmsted Google Books

Gardening Survives

Adam Levine, the author of a new book about the Philadelphia public garden scene was recently the featured guest speaker at the Franklin Inn. He's a charming person, and has given us a great book.

He draws to our attention that the Philadelphia region is pre-eminent in the garden world, and has been so for several centuries. While it is true that Philadelphia has a mild enough climate to be suitable to two climate zones, the early settlers came from a region of middle England that has been a garden center since Roman times. And they were Quakers, uncomfortable with the outward show in buildings and furnishings, but flowers were innocent instruments of the display. Although Chanticleer was created by a Pennsylvania German family, the great centers of public gardens are mostly traceable to the influence of Quakers, and the du Pont family. Since one or two years of neglect will ruin almost any garden, the essence of great gardens lies in the ability to survive.

{The Horticultural Society}
The Horticultural Society

In fact, the Philadelphia area contains hundreds of gardens which have decayed and virtually disappeared. The Horticultural Society is at the heart of garden preservation, financed in large part by the annual flower show, but even that thriving organization is hard pressed to do justice to the vast areas that need tending. Woodlands would be an example of an area needing tending, and Friends Hospital is an object lesson. When that venerable institution was sold to sharp pencil types from out of town, the Azalea gardens on the grounds were closed to visitors, except for two hours a year. It makes you tremble to imagine how long this famous azalea collection will probably survive. Meanwhile, Germantown's famous gardens are maintained in a minimal way, stretching the resources of the owners who have more urgent demands to meet in their buildings and furniture. Indeed, it is hard to name a really outstanding garden within the city limits, with the exception of the Morris Arboretum, which barely makes it within city boundaries. The area back of the Art Museum along Boathouse Row makes a brave attempt in the spring, but it's a pale reminder of the glory which used to be seen in East Fairmount Park, especially at Lemon Hill, Stenton, and Cliveden. Stotesbury is just a relic.

Morris Arboretum

Gardens have moved to the suburbs. Chanticleer, the Morris Arboretum, Longwood Gardens, Nemours, the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore, West Laurel Hill, The University of Delaware in Newark, Cabrini College in Villanova, Haverford College Arboretum, Temple University's Ambler campus, and the Trenton Sculpture Gardens on the old fairgrounds -- all would demand mention in any list of outstanding gardens in America. But only a few of them aspire to the standards of an outdoor sculpture garden, where the goal was to surround each piece of sculpture with a garden in such a way that only one sculpture could be seen at a time. Now, that was gardening on the grand scale.

Hidden in a regional garden scene is the seed merchants, starting with John Bartram and famous under the Burpees, which make gardens possible. After all, there has to be a place to find these things. Perhaps the catalog stores, like Wayside Gardens, are the hope for the future. Every shrub or tree transported from a nursery takes up a ball of topsoil along with the specimen, and the appearance of nurseries around the periphery of a city is usually the first step in the development of housing projects. If there is an investment of topsoil in every garden, perhaps we ought to think a little bit about the way we let the investment dry up and blow away.


Gardens of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley William Klein Jr. ISBN-10: 1566393132 Amazon



As explained by the curator of The Morris Arboretum, there are a few other ferneries in the world, but the Morris has the only Victorian fernery still in existence in North America. That doesn't count a few shops that sell ferns and call themselves ferneries; we're talking about the rich man's expensive hobby of collecting rare examples of the fern family in an elaborate structure. That's called a Victorian fernery. The one we have in our neighborhood is really pretty interesting; worth a trip to Chestnut Hill to see it.

Although our fernery was first built by the siblings John and Lydia Morris, it was rebuilt at truly substantial cost by the philanthropist Dorrance Hamilton. It is partly above ground as a sort of greenhouse, and partly below ground, with goldfish and bridges over its pond. Maintaining an even temperature is accomplished by a complicated arrangement of heating pipes. The temperature the gardener chooses affects both the heating bill and the species of fern that will thrive there. You could go for 90 degrees, but practical considerations led to the choice of 58 degrees. The prevailing humidity will affect whether the fern reproduction is sexual or asexual, a source of great excitement in 1840, but survivors of Haight-Asbury are often more complacent on the humidity point.

There are little ferns, big ferns, tree ferns, green ferns, and not-so-green ferns; the known extent of ferns runs to around five hundred species. Not all of them can be found in Chestnut Hill, what with humidity and all, but there are enough to make a very attractive and interesting display. For botanists, this is a must-see exhibit. For the rest of us, it's probably the only one of its kind we will ever see, a jewel in Philadelphia's crown, and shame on you if you pass it by.

Day Two: Rehoboth to Kennett Square

{top quote}
So, if you want a glimpse of Delaware as it once was before the migrations, get in your car quick and take the tour. {bottom quote}

Once you step off the Cape May-Lewes Ferry in Delaware, you can still find an occasional old soul who remembers when "the road" was built. The road they mean is the highway that finally connected Southern Delaware to Wilmington. Before 1925, travel between the two ends of that little state was by railroad, or by boat, mostly the Wilson Line. It is natural to suspect the railroad and the boat line might have lobbied against road building, and they certainly had an economic incentive. But there were social factors, too. Although it is a tiny state, Delaware has long been a collection of independent tribes. New Castle County is of course very Ivy League; the Wilmington area claims to have more PhDs than any other American county. Southern Delaware was a slave region, forcing the state to be in favor of the Union, but also in favor of slavery -- a border state. Furthermore, pirate lairs seem to have created a mixed race along the shore calling themselves "Moors"; intermarriage with Indians and/or Portuguese pirates has been speculated as a source of swarthiness. Along the Atlantic coast, it is claimed that pure Elizabethan English is still spoken. Furthermore, the maritime orientation of Lewes created more social affinity to Cape May and Philadelphia than to New Castle and Wilmington. Eastern shore Maryland was even closer. Finally, in 1923, Coleman DuPont gave up on persuasion, built a 98-mile highway from one end of his state to the other at a cost of $50,000 a mile, and just gave it to the state. The legislature at first wouldn't take it, thinking it was clever to let the rich DuPont fellow pay for its upkeep. However, the sight of a DuPont cavalry of highway patrolmen raised even more discomfort, so the legislature reconsidered, accepted the gift.

The legislature was right, in a perverse sort of way, because Wilmington folk promptly poured down to the beaches in the summer, to the duck blinds in the fall, retirees built houses where living was cheaper, southern Delaware children wanted to go North to college, the blonde girls of Swedish or Dutch ancestry went north to become someone's secretary, maybe marry him. The railroad and the boat line went bankrupt, segregation was declared unconstitutional, everybody got television and a pickup. Eventually, someone in the Chamber of Commerce got the idea of jiggering tax laws to encourage out-of-state retail, then banking, then credit cards. The transformation of Delaware into a tax haven brought welcome socio-economic competition to the monolithic Dupont Company, abating the benign hereditary aristocracy that had grown out of it. So, if you want a glimpse of Delaware as it once was before the migrations, get in your car quickly and take the tour. There have even been rumors that the Cape May ferry may close.

Lewes Ferry

Lewes was once a little seaport, but mostly a home for river pilots. There is a canal across the base of Cape Henlopen peninsula, and the pilots' imposing houses line the canal. But vacationers and sportsmen are now building waterfront houses as fast as they can, so old Lewes is getting lost. Rehoboth down the road has ocean beaches and higher land, so it offers suburban living at the beach, year-round. We don't plan to visit nearby Georgetown on this tour, but it's only ten miles away and presents an interesting legal anachronism in the Court of Chancery, for lawyers and historians to admire.

To take the Delaware turnpike from Lewes to Wilmington is quicker, but history is to be found by winding along Route 9, through the moors, marshes, and farmland. The Wesley Chapel is a place where John Wesley really preached in his tour to extend Anglicanism, and unintentionally to found the Methodist Church. The Bombay wildlife sanctuary is an interesting place to see migrating birds, although the birds may enjoy mosquitoes more than you do. You will be astonished to learn there were once so many peach trees in this area that Delaware was nicknamed the Peach State. Just outside Dover is the Air Force base, which somehow specializes in mortuary affairs during shooting wars. But there are real warplanes there, too, as became very evident during the Cuban Missle crisis. The sky seemed filled with huge eight-engine bombers, just circling around, waiting for orders to go lay an egg or two. The Air Force Base is a peculiarly international community to be living in rural Delaware; a pilot making regular trips to Guam had no difficulty keeping monthly appointments with me for a while.


If you watch for directions just south of the airbase, you can travel out in the farm country to the Delaware estate of John Dickinson. As a young man, Dickinson fought a bitter battle in the Pennsylvania Assembly against Benjamin Franklin's efforts to remove the Penn Family from control, and although he lost the King's decision, winning that decision caused Franklin to be essentially banished to England for years as a consequence. Much later, Dickinson swung the critical vote toward Independence by abstaining from voting on the point at the Continental Congress, but wouldn't sign the Declaration. Nevertheless, he volunteered to fight as a private when the British invaded. He started and ended life as a Quaker but was the richest man in the state in between times, was Governor of Pennsylvania and Delaware at the same time, freed his slaves but kept secret the discovery that it actually made his farms more profitable to hire farm workers. A truly remarkable person, living in what you will see were rather plain circumstances.


Dover itself is worth a quick trip to the colonial heart of it unless you become engulfed in traffic to the race track. Then a quick visit to the Blackbird pirate sanctuary of the pirate Blackbeard, and on to Odessa and New Castle, which are both real jewels. You can scarcely miss Odessa, which is at the narrowest neck in the Delmarva Peninsula, an isthmus that necessarily must eventually choke up with highways; Odessa has a Christmas festival worth a trip just for it. New Castle is far more uniform in appearance because it burned shortly after the Revolution and was rebuilt in pure Federalist style, then froze in time when the capital moved to Dover.

Then, skirt around Wilmington to the chateau country and try to decide between visiting Winterthur, Longwood Gardens, the Brandywine (Wyeth) Museum, the Brandywine Battlefield, and the mushroom area around Kennett Square. Generally speaking, Winterthur is at the top of the list.

If you left enough time, you may want to circle back through the Main Line suburbs, or through Swarthmore, to Chestnut Hill and Germantown, then down to center city Philadelphia. However, you may be tired, and just want to buzz back from Kennett Square by way of I-95.

Camden NJ: The Third, or Irish, Tenth

{Camden in 1662}
Camden in 1662

The early Swedish and Dutch settlers tended to sail up the Delaware Bay, and settle on the right-hand bank, which we now call New Jersey. In time, Seventeenth-century settlers, even William Penn, switched over to the left, or Pennsylvania, side. The Dutch, who had experience with dikes on the Zuider Zee, knew that it was quicker and easier to drain the lowlands than to chop down big trees and dig up the roots. Although the Dutch were more interested in fur trading than agriculture, they had to eat. Fish, crabs, oysters and truck gardens were enough for that purpose. After establishing a Fort Nassau at what is now the town of Gloucester, on the south edge of Camden, fur trading on the New Jersey side began to fall off, and the Dutch settlement was moved across the river as Fort Casimir, next to the mouth of the hidden river, the Schuylkill, just south of what is now the international airport. That was fine for the Dutch to stay close to their ships, but the Indians on the far side of the swamp resisted coming down the swampy river and held back to do their fur trading at Gray's Landing, on the high ground between Bartram's Gardens and the University of Pennsylvania. For the Dutch it was a pleasant paddle up from the mouth of the river at Fort Casimir, and anyway you never know about strangers.

William Penn followed the same path, buying and reselling farmland in New Jersey for a decade before he asked for, and King Charles gave him, Pennsylvania. Skipping many of the details, northern New Jersey, called East Jersey, was given to Scottish Quakers, while what we call South Jersey and they called West Jersey, was divided into ten parts among the English Quakers. The Third Tenth around the Cooper River roughly corresponds to Camden County, and was mainly purchased by Irish Quakers and for a while was called the "Irish Tenth". In time, Gloucester County was split off from Camden County, which was mainly known originally as Newton Township. After a century, the Irish origins of the local inhabitants of Newton and Haddonfield were largely forgotten. The town of Gloucester, however, was situated on the river next to what was to be the vast shipyards of New York Shipbuilding Corp.(1899-1967). First addressing the oak forests of West Jersey for the masts of sailing ships, sailing ships were built with lumber logs floated down the Susquehanna River in rafts during the Nineteenth century. This industry attracted later Irish immigrants during the time of the great Irish migrations, and still more were attracted when World War I made Camden a major steamship building center. The experience was repeated during World War II, reaching its eventual high point when the nuclear Aircraft carrier Eisenhower could be seen under construction by commuters going over the Walt Whitman Bridge.

Shipbuilding, like other heavy industry of the rust belt, moved abroad seeking cheaper labor, and what little remained on American soil moved to Norfolk, Virginia. The response of protectionist legislation made America even less attractive for unionized industry. The wiser workers saw what was happening and sought jobs in other industries, elsewhere. But Gloucester City, underneath the bridge girders and surrounded by winding creeks, held out as an oasis of working-class Irish as the southern anchor of crumbling, decaying Camden. About a thousand homes had been built by the federal government during the labor shortages of World War I, as Fairview. These two little Irish enclaves, 97% Caucasian, continue to hold out for a day that will likely never return, gathering in their taverns to sing songs about old martyrs, fighting to maintain control of the industrial unions, and dominating the Democrat politics of the county. There was a time when leverage might have established political control of South Jersey, and through that to the domination of the whole state, but that gets progressively less likely. Tough politics essentially met more than its match in the river towns of North Jersey, other groups learned to play the ethnic game, and the recent uproar about child molestation has loosened the hold of their church on young adherents with school children. The same pattern seems to be emerging on the Pennsylvania side of the river in Delaware County, where however the political machine has historically been Republican.

Meanwhile, just a little to the north, the city of Camden steadily decays and deteriorates. Now only half the size of its 125,000 "Citadel of Republicanism" in 1950, the title of America's poorest city is applied to an average income of $18,000, and various statistics of violent crime make it the first or second most dangerous place in America to live. The City is 53% black, 29% of Puerto Rican origin, and 44% below the official poverty level. In 2001, its Mayor was sent to jail as an affiliate of the Mafia, and the state took over the running of the city. In 2009, a state auditor reported that the books were in such chaotic condition that it was impossible to say where they stood, financially. Along the way to this sorry state, RCA Victor (1901-1986) finally moved out, after decades of watching its employees migrate to the suburbs, taking their tax revenue with them. Although Campbell Soup loyally maintains and is even expanding its national headquarters in Camden, the soup is made elsewhere. Frozen chicken dinners are made by the hundreds of thousands in Delaware, assembling the tinfoil, chickens, and peas from hundreds of miles to the moment when it is packaged mechanically in a manner that would shame the Japanese. There was a time in living memory when truckloads of Jersey tomatoes were lined up at the Camden soup factory for miles, but all that has moved to California. Jersey tomatoes ripened sequentially throughout the season, requiring human tomato pickers to tell green ones from red ones. A new form of hybrid tomato ripens all the fruit simultaneously, allowing it to be mechanically harvested, and taking advantage of three crops a year in California. The Golden State on our western coast seems to be having labor and tax trouble, too; but that is small comfort to Camden.

As factories close, people abandon their homes, slums result. The schools deteriorate, migration and crime increase. Most people would say it is a mess. A recent sociological study, called Camden After the Fall describes in painful detail how every idea anyone has ever had about how to turn Camden around -- has been tried, amply funded and found to be an utter and discouraging failure. The highway system has been modernized, only to allow commuters to buzz through Camden somewhat faster. Public buildings have been built, only to underline the fact that no new construction has taken place with private money in decades. Building a prison in the center of town created jobs, and now more jobs are being created to tear it down. Rutgers, the state university, has a branch under the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge. The battleship New Jersey is at anchor in a lovely riverside park, there's a nice little minor league baseball park. Anything you can build with tax money has been built. There's just no private industry, or business, or profession. Anyone who has a bright idea is welcome to read Camden After the Fall . It's just possible something to try has been overlooked, though it isn't very likely. Except for law, order and good schools.

After decades of watching Camden get steadily worse as I commuted hastily through it, I would say there actually is sort of a plan visible. As houses decay, they are torn down, and the grass is planted. It seems likely that the plan is to wait until a large enough plot of land is cleared ecentlyand planted to grass, so it eventually becomes attractive to a developer. And then the developer will make tons of money with raw land that even the Indians in 1640 could see was very well situated.

Recently, a long, long movie has appeared, purporting to tell the story of an housepainter who claims to have shot Hoffa. However truthful this account may or may not be, it is a lousy picture. If you want to see what the Teamsters looked like when they got twenty or thirty years older, well, go ahead. But it's still a lousy movie. Not at all in a class with Godfather I or even II. It's called The Irishman.

Barnes Arboretum

{William Bingham class=}
The Barnes Foundation

If you want to live on City Line Avenue, safely in Montgomery County, you put your entrance on Latches Lane, which is parallel to City Line. It used to be said that the Barnes Foundation was next to Episcopal Academy, but that has moved further West, and St. Joseph's University now owns the property. When St. Joseph's decides what to do with the land, we can possibly describe a better landmark. The Barnes Foundation has always faced away from Philadelphia and is a little hard to find, all of which may have something to do with Dr. Barnes' strong dislike of the City.

{William Bingham class=}
The Barnes Museum

When you go there now, the old Museum is still there, but already showing signs of neglect. The house the Barnes family lived in is still, right next door. But it's harder to move an Arboretum than a group of paintings, so the Arboretum School, which was Mrs. Barnes' hobby, is still at the same place, likely to stay awhile. It's still a very nice place to visit, especially right at Labor Day when the very large Franklinia Trees are in full bloom. Like all Franklinia trees, these are direct descendants of the only example John Bartram was able to find, in Georgia or anywhere else.

{William Bingham class=}
Medicinal Garden

We're going to have to leave the decision to former Governor Rendell, about what you do with an empty museum since he is said to have had a lot to do with making it that way. We came to see the Arboretum.

The first thing which strikes you is that many of the big old trees are much older than the Barnes Foundation would have been. The brochure helpfully explains that a 19th Century tree fancier started it in 1880, and the Barnes acquired it in 1922. That still wouldn't account for a massive tree which is lying on the ground all cut up, opposite the Medicinal Garden. The base of the tree must be three or more hundred years old, so perhaps there was a grove of old oaks, just over the line of William Penn's city, which every owner tended carefully until the bugs got it. There are a considerable number of Chinese trees that look about right for 1880, but without a guide, it's pretty conjectural.

{William Bingham class=}
Japanese Beetle

Ever since someone imported the Japanese beetle along with some plants, to Moorestown, New Jersey, there have been laws prohibiting the importation of plants from abroad, but there must be some regulatory rigamarole which allows museums to do it. Korea and Japan are at the same latitude as Philadelphia, and the glaciers spared some ancient dinosaur food in those regions, so quite a few strange plants have come here from that source. Since the Barnes is a school, and since it only has a few acres, many if not most of the specimens in the gardens are one or two of a kind. That either means they have a feeder garden somewhere to store backups or a good relationship with government officials. Like all Arboretums, it attracts insects, so be prepared to do some swatting if you go. The school is said to be outstanding and quite conveniently located, but even just a stroll around is quite a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Azaleas and Rhodedendrons at Tyler Arboretum

Tyler Arboretum

Philadelphia has more arboretums than anywhere else, probably dating from the days when Quakers frowned on aesthetic entertainments, but held lots and lots of land. Curiously, azaleas are a Quaker thing (remember Swarthmore College and Friends Hospital), while anti-azalea feelings are growing among non-Quakers. It all has to do with bugs.

Azaleas flourish in Korea

Azaleas flourish in Korea, where the hills are covered with pink bushes in the spring, and Quaker merchant ships brought them home to sell as curiosities. Both Korea and Philadelphia are on the 40th parallel, so azaleas flourish in both places. But Japan and Korea escaped the glaciers, so their plant life was sort of isolated and unique until intercontinental merchants came along. The rest of the world, therefore, contained few natural predators, and they grew unhindered, here. Generally speaking, azaleas are an East Coast phenomenon; it is not uncommon for midwestern visitors to exclaim they never saw them before, although it is true rhododendrons love acid soil, and rather suffer from the alkaline midwestern soil left over from the seashells of the ancient central sea bottom.


On the other hand, there is a growing anti-azalea craze among avid gardeners, taking the form of pro-nativist feelings much like R vs. D. The recent hatred of imported flowers reflect a reaction to "invasive" weeds brought here by importing other globalized products and dumping them along the banks and shorelines. The common denominator is lack of native weed enemies to both the globalized weeds, and azaleas, which caused a withering of the bugs which eat the plants, and in turn, are eaten by birds. So this discovery by the University of Delaware took root in Mount Cuba, the DuPont estate which is exclusively and consciously planted with nativist plants, and promoted by socially prominent families who like birds more than show-gardens -- and enjoy tax benefits from botany favored land preservation.

Philadelphia Arboreta

This results in an alarming pressure to encourage Philadelphia's many arboreta to play down the showy azaleas they formerly favored, making enemies out of friends. It seemingly pits those who love birds against those barbarians who love gardens. It seems unnecessary for the bird lovers to attack the innocent gardeners when the focus might be turned against the bugs, where many fewer would take offense. Just think of the possibilities of Girl Scouts taking up the cause of bug hybridization, running around the countryside with glass jars to capture likely natural predators to the bugs which plant- predators favor to promote the right kind of birds. That way, we might have our birds -- and preserve our azaleas too. Meanwhile breeding the right sort of bug no one would notice, or inhibiting the wrong sort of bug if that proves the easier path to follow. Maybe Dow Chemicals could make a fortune with a selective bug-killer spray, and keep the former DuPont company from entering this dispute between seemingly natural friends.

CSS Zen Garden Suggestions

Here is a list of links (that open in their own pages) that show some of my favorite web designs. The CSS Zen Garden is a website that illustrates what can be done with clever CSS design. The HTML and the content are exactly the same in each of these links, only the CSS changes; but what a difference!

C Note

Dark Rose

Dead or Alive

Egyptian Dawn






Zen Pool


White Lily

Another website to consider is


Please Let Us Know What You Think


(HTML tags provide better formatting)

40 Blogs

Philadelphia Gardens
Philadelphia loves its gardens, particularly boxwood and azalea.

Rubberneck Tours of Philadelphia (1)
A very enjoyable two-hour drive, up to one side of the Schuylkill and down the other, encircles dozens of points of interest. Even if you don't know and don't care that this area was once the training ground for most of the Union Army.

Philadelphia Green
Pennyslvania HorticuralPhiladelphia outdoor beautification effort linked up with its traditional community spirit of volunteerism for a smashing success.

John Bartram's Garden
Bartram's farm dates back to the earliest days of Philadelphia, and it's still much the same farm, right in the midst of urban.

Inazo Nitobe, Quaker Samurai
One of the most revered leaders of modern Japan was a converted Samurai, married to a Philadelphia Quaker. His father was an advisor to the Emperor, a family of famous warriors.

Fair Mount
Philadelphia's acropolis is Faire Mount, where the Art Museum marks the entrance to Fairmount Park. Stretching beyond is Boathouse Row and its rowing races. When the azaleas are in bloom, it's the match of any place in the world.

A Few Rooms of Your Own
The way we live changes what we are.

Gardening is making a comeback. Retirees are right in there.

Gardens for Posterity
New flowers can be planted each year, but forests take generations to grow. What you plant depends on who is meant to look at the result.

Terse Verse: Green Aches Topic: Gardening
New blog 2016-05-05 17:55:39 description

Terse Verse: Land Scrape Topic: Gardening
New blog 2015-09-11 15:31:35 description

The Real Obamacare, Unveiled
The method of Obamacare enactment made it hard to know what was enacted. The entirely unexpected bungle of insurance exchange introduction made the public ask pointed questions about big issues, without getting lost in little ones. Underpromise but overperform is certainly a forgotten guideline.

Terse Verse: What's Up Topic: Gardening
New blog 2015-03-18 18:00:43 description

Terse Verse: All Thumbs Topic: Gardening
New blog 2016-05-03 21:04:22 description

Terse Verse: Land Hoe Topic: Gardening
New blog 2015-04-28 19:16:58 description

Terse Verse: Tuft Love Topic: Gardening
New blog 2015-08-13 16:04:52 description

Terse Verse: Golds Age Topic: Gardening
New blog 2015-03-05 20:50:38 description

Terse Verse: Lawn Gone : Topic: Gardening
New blog 2015-03-05 16:29:22 description

Tyler Arboretum
A 650-acre Arboretum next to a 2500-acre state park makes for a lot of nature walks and bird watching, as well as a gazillion azaleas and tree specimens. The only serpentine barren in Delaware County is located there.

ZNOTE: Gardens Flowers and Horticulture

Short Tour of Philadelphia's West Country
Philadelpia County had two hundred farms in 1950, but is now thickly settled in all directions. Western regions along the Schuylkill are still spread out somewhat; with many historic estates.

Secret Places
Some rich people are ostentatious about where they live. In Philadelphia, they are more likely to go into hiding, but in special places.

REPLICATED COPY of Tokyo, Japan Trip 1998 08/02/17 08:28 pm
Mary Stuart and George III paid a visit to George IV, Peggy and George V in Tokyo in 1998. George IV was Managing Director of Morgan Stanley for the Far East.

References for Philadelphia-Reflections (1)
New blog 2012-08-15 17:10:49 description

Currencies Owned by Nations, or by People?

Sidney George Fisher's Mount Harmon
Cecil County, Maryland is considered part of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. Awkwardly, it was settled a half-century before William Penn arrived, so one of Philadelphia's most famous diarists was born in a mansion built in 1651. Fronting on the Chesapeake Bay, it's the most northern of the Tidewater tobacco plantations, but it's in Philadelphia.

Thomas Say
Thomas Say's portrait hangs in the Ewell Sale Stewart Library at the Academy of Natural Sciences in remembrance of his love of bugs and passion for the Academy.

The Garden Show Evolves
Exhibitors at the Philadelphia Garden Show have gradually evolved from amateurs to nurserymen, and from nurserymen to florists.

Native Habitat
Increased foreign trade, especially to Asia, has brought us some new plant types. Lacking natural enemies, they are taking over.

New Jersey: A Keg Tapped at Both Ends (1)
Trenton has an urban revival but -- so far -- very few visitors tour the much-restored Statehouse. It's worth a trip.

Morris Arboretum
At the furthermost corner of Fairmount Park, the former estate of John and Lydia Morris is run as a public arboretum, one of the two or three finest in North America.

Haddonfield Blooming Outdoors, Year-Round
A calendar (in progress) of outdoor blooming in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

A greenhouse is a greenhouse, until you know something about them.

Gardening Survives
A new book has arrived, describing the 90 great public gardens of the Philadelphia regions, and discussing the best 40 of them in detail.

Around 1840, there was a brief worldwide craze for ferns, related to the exciting discovery of their complicated reproductive process. Only one Victorian fernery still exists in North America, at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia.

Day Two: Rehoboth to Kennett Square
The southwestern shore of Delaware Bay was an isolated swampy world until a couple of decades ago. It now seems to hurtle toward a resemblance to Luxembourg or Liechtenstein. Any way you look at it, the State of Delaware is very charming.

Camden NJ: The Third, or Irish, Tenth
Early settlers of the Delaware Bay, generally picked the eastern, now New Jersey, side of the river because the terrain was easier to farm. In time, the vast wilderness on the western, or Pennsylvania, side led to more commerce.

Barnes Arboretum
The Barnes impressionistic art has moved to the Parkway in Philadelphia, where Dr. Barnes said he never wanted it to be, But the Arboretum remains on Latches Lane in Merion, just across City Line Avenue, next to where Episcopal Academy used to be, and now is occupied by St. Joseph's.

Azaleas and Rhodedendrons at Tyler Arboretum
All azaleas are rhodedendrons, but all rhodedendrons are not azaleas.

CSS Zen Garden Suggestions
Here's a list of the designs I think are worth a look, illustrating the great power of CSS.