Native Plant Sales and Events in Delaware and Chester County

After that surprise spring snowstorm early April, it’s nice to finally hear the familiar hum of lawn mowers, and the most welcome sign of spring, tulips and daffodils dotting the local landscape. And for the serious gardeners, signs for local native plant sales! Plant Sales in Delaware and Chester counties

Every gardener knows that the best plants are the tried and true plants grown in a local garden or carefully selected by educated Master Gardeners. Going to a local plant sale is a great source of information and networking for novice gardeners as well. You’ll meet local gardeners who are happy to share their experience with particular plants .

Garden Geeks by Pam Cloud
This sign says it all!

At a local plant sale, you’ll find the regulars such as lilies and hostas, but you’ll likely also discover a few unusual treasures that are not carried in stores.

At a local plant sale, the salespeople are usually volunteers, and they are passionate about their hobby: gardening. They will know which plants do well in the sun or shade and also which deer resistant plants the deer will eat anyway.

With Earth Day right around the corner, here are a few local gardening events to get your spring planting off to a good start.

 

Media

Tyler Arboretum Benefit Plant Sale is held on the beautiful site of Tyler Arboretum in Media Pa. At Tyler you can stroll through the amazing grounds and see a wide collection of native species thriving in same the environment you would be planting in. Each season brings something new to its rich and diverse plantings, many of which you will see growing on the grounds of the arboretum.

Date: Saturday, May 7th  9am-3pm

Take the kids to see the tree houses and walk through the trails. Admission to the Arboretum is free to everyone for Saturday’s event!

Where: Tyler Arboretum, 515 Painter Road, Media Pa.

Shameless Plug: If you’d like to live close to the Arboretum, I have a listing at 66 Vineyard Lane that is within walking distance to Tyler’s entrance as well as the multi-use trail at Ridley Creek State Park!

66 Viineyard Lane in Media
Stop by for a refreshment, free plant and chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Wedgewood Gardens!

66 Vineyard Lane will be open from 11am-3pm on Friday. Stop by and see how convenient this home is to Tyler Arboretum! Visitors will receive a free plant while supplies last and a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Wedgewood Gardens!

Providence Garden Club Annual Plant Sale . This plant sale has been going on for well over 60 years and is held on the campus of Williamson College of the Trades in Middletown township. Funds raised through this plant sale are donated to various environmental programs in the local community and throughout the region. This year’s plant sale will feature plants that attract pollinators such at butterflies and birds so you can create your own backyard sanctuary.

Date: Friday April 29 (9am-2pm) & Saturday April 30 (8am-1pm)

Where: 106 S. New Middletown Road, Media Pa. (1/2 mile north of the Granite Run Mall)

Last year I spotted this unusual plant at the plant sale. With only two left, I purchased it on the spot!

Providence Garden Club Media Pa.
Disporum Flavens, aka “Mary Bells.”

Aston

Red Hill Farm  is open for a tour and a taste test some of their offerings this season. You can pick up some plants for your vegetable garden too! Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and an assortment of herbs and cut flowers will be available for sale. See you at the farm!

Date: May 7, 1pm-4pm

Where: Red Hill Farm, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston PA

Click here to read my previous post about Red Hill Farm!

West Chester

Friends of Everhart Park Annual Plant Sale to support Everhart Park. This sale has been going on as long as I can remember; I lived across from the park 20 years ago and used to contribute to this sale.  I still have the same Elephant Ears that I purchased way back when for $5. They have created many babies and the original bulb is about the size of a soccer ball! You’ll find lovingly grown plants that have been divided from local residents’ gardens so you know they’ll do well in yours.

Date: Saturday May 7, 10am-2pm

Where: Everhart Park,  park around Brandywine and Miner Streets in downtown West Chester.

The Paula Coyne Plant Sale/ West Chester Garden Club – great selection of native plants, herbs, vegetables. Find your treasure from members’ gardens. Also for sale in the garden boutique–gifts for the gardener, including hand made leaf castings!

Date: Thursday, April 28, 9am-4pm

Where: Landhope Farms  in Kennett Square at the intersection of Rees 82 and 926.

Newtown Square (Willistown Conservation Trust)

Rushton Farm Spring Plant Sale

A model of sustainable agriculture, open space and natural resource protection, this 6 acre farm is nestled within the 86 acre Rushton Preserve in Willistown Township. This farm has never been exposed to pesticides and herbicides. Stock up on organically grown vegetables and flowers, grown right on the Farm.

Date: May 7 & 8, 10am-3pm

Where: Rushton Farm, 911 Delchester Road, Newtown Square

Composting in Glen Mills, Thornbury township

Did you know that almost 2/3 of our landfills are comprised of organic materials such as yard waste, food scraps, paper and wood waste? While throwing all of these materials in the trash, millions of dollars are spent each year on plastic bags filled with “enriched” garden soil.

What if you could kill two birds with one stone by diverting landfill waste and creating your own rich compost at the same time? Your lawn and kitchen scraps are the only ingredients you need to produce your own”black gold!” Learn how it’s done at an upcoming free seminar in Thornbury! Your plants will love you for it!

Free Composting Seminar – sponsored by Thornbury’s Environmental Advisory Council and held at the township building in Thornbury Township. Presented by Sam Barnett of the Master Gardeners and Penn State Extension

Date: Saturday, May 14th from 1pm-2pm

Where: Thornbury Township Building, 6 Township Drive (off of Cheyney Road), Cheyney Pa.

Free Composters to the First Ten People to sign up!!

Thornbury Township
Thornbury Township Municipal Building on Township Drive in Cheyney, Pa.

Pamela Cloud is a Realtor (and avid gardener) with Coldwell Banker Preferred in Media Pa. serving the Western Philadelphia suburbs, with expertise in Media, Glen Mills and West Chester.

 

4 Bedroom French Colonial in Media

4 Moore Circle in Knowlton Charter is ideally located near all things green!

4 Moore Circle Media Pa.
Back on Market! 4 Moore Circle in Media. Fully inspected!

The Nature of Delaware County is all about connecting people to the wonderful places in Delaware County. Middletown township has a number of great natural attractions to be discovered, which is one of the attributes that make it a desirable place to live.

If you work in Philadelphia or Wilmington, you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice your down-time serenity due to a long commute if you live in Middletown. Middletown is served by The Media line and the Elwyn Station is your stop.  The train ride itself is only about a 45 minutes to center city Philadelphia.  I’ve known people to get there in less time driving, using I-95 or the Blue Route.

Knowlton Charter
Knowlton Charter is a community of 43 homes in Middletown Township

When you live in the development known as Knowlton Charter, located just off Route 352 and Knowlton Road in Media, you can enjoy the benefits of farm fresh produce without actually living on the farm.  This planned community consists of a 43 homes and is within walking distance to Linvilla Orchards. 

4 Moore Circlea wonderful 4 bedroom home in this community,  just came on the market. With all the amenities of a modern home, and the advantages of a Homeowner’s Association, you’ll enjoy year-round views of hundreds of acres of orchards and Christmas trees as you come and go from your Knowlton Charter home base.  An added benefit is that you can buy (or even pick) your produce at its peak, knowing it has had zero time on a delivery truck, which is ultimately the healthiest way to consume food.

Hidden Hollow Swim Cloub
Hidden Hollow Swim Club is located just off Knowlton Road

Hidden Hollow Swim Club is another reason to love this area.  Just around the corner from Knowlton Charter, it’s nestled in a culvert and surrounded by trees, you would barely know it was there. It’s the type of place that childhood memories are made of.

Linvilla is by far the most notable farm in the area, attracting visitors from all over the Philadelphia region. However, if you value organic food and enjoy picking your own, or have dreamed of  participating in its cultivation, there are a number of CSAs to consider.  In fact, now is the time to start exploring memberships in a CSA.

Down the road a mile or so is Hillside Farm at Elwyn, or Neumann’s Red Hill Farm in Aston, both of which I’ve written about before.  Also, did you know that as well as being America’s first Fair Trade Town, Media is also ramping up to be a Transition Town ? Basically, that means people are joining together  with the goal living a more healthy lifestyle, conserving resources; everything from energy co-ops to green living to recycling and reusing household items.

Hillside Farm Middletown township
Pick your own fruits and vegetables at Hillside Farm in Middletown township.

Here are a few more places to buy locally grown products that are near 4 Moore Circle:

As far as other natural attractions in this neck of the woods, there is Ridley Creek State Park, Tyler Arboretum, Arasapha Farms in Edgmont. Middletown affords you the best of both worlds, in that you can be in the midst of thousands of acres of open space in one minute and enjoy a variety of dining choices and great shopping in downtown Media the next.

Contact me for more information on the area or if you have questions on my listing at 4 Moore Circle in Knowlton Charter and start enjoying the Nature of Delaware County today!

 

 

In Search of Organic Food in Delaware County – Red Hill Farm

Signs of Spring at Red Hill Farm in Aston!

Margaret Lilley at Red Hill Farm in Aston, Pa.
Margaret Lilley, Farm Manager, in the potting shed at Red Hill Farm in Aston.

It’s hard to believe that with snow still on the ground and more coming, that spring is less than 20 days away!  Friday’s forecast was calling for another 6-12″ so I paid a visit to Margaret Lilley, the Farm Manager at Red Hill Farm in Aston, in search of something green.

According to Lilley, the farm workers don’t start until April 1st, however, there were signs of life in the potting shed that restored my faith that spring is near!

I caught a glimpse of tiny wisps of green poking out of seedling containers, marking the beginning of the planting season! As we stood in the 70 year old potting shed, Margaret, who goes by Lilley, spoke excitedly about what one could expect by becoming a member in Red Hill Farm.

Red Hill Farm is a CSA. A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a mutually beneficial partnership between a local farm and a neighborhood that desires fresher, healthier produce. As concerns grow over genetically modified food and its unintended consequences, people are looking for the “organic” label on their food.  Labeling is only as good as the company behind it, so the best way to know if your food is organic is to know where it is coming from and who is growing it.

Red Hill Farm, located in Aston, started about 15 years ago and is owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, as one of their many environmental initiatives.  The farm operates out of a six acre parcel, cradled within 265 acres of undeveloped land owned by the Sisters of St. Francis and is bordered by Convent and Red Hill Roads. If you are familiar with Neumann University, then you’ve probably driven by Red Hill Farm. It’s a peaceful oasis in an otherwise densely populated area of Delaware county: 2,825.8 people per square mile, according to the 2000 census.

Onion Seedlings On their Way!

Red Hill Farm Aston, Pa.
Onion sets being started at the potting shed at Red Hill Farm in Aston, Pa.

For those looking for organic produce, the farm’s location is easily accessible; located  8 miles from Glen Mills, Pa. and about 5 miles from downtown Chester, Pa., making it a convenient to get to from either direction.  Most members are local, many of whom have been with Red Hill from the beginning and are extremely loyal to the farm and what it stands for. However, according to Lilley, they have also attracted members from Philadelphia and the Main Line.

How Does a CSA Work?

Raspberry patch at Red Hill Farm in Aston, Pa.
I love seeing the powdery blue-purple branches of the raspberry bushes in winter.

The operating budget of a CSA farm is derived from shares that people buy each season. In this way, the risks and benefits of the agricultural season are shared among the members. The goal of this partnership is to break even.

In this case of Red Hill Farm, shares cost $750 for a full share and $375 for a half share. This entitles members to 24 weeks of produce and access to the U-pick garden. Any surplus produce is donated to local food pantries.

The farm offers about 30 different types of vegetables and the U-pick garden has flowers, berries and herbs.  Produce includes things like argula, beans, beets, blackberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, collards, cucumbers, escarole, eggplant, fennel, flowers, garlic, greens, herbs, hot peppers, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, melons, onions, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, salad mix, scallions, spinach, summer squashes, sweet peppers, tomatoes, tomatillo, turnips and winter squash.

Blackberry Patch located in front of the barn where produces is picked up. Solar panels power the well and other functions of the barn.
Blackberry Patch located in front of the barn where produces is picked up. Solar panels power the well and other functions of the barn.

Why Should I Care About Buying Locally?

Buying locally can take a little more work, however the payoff is great. If you don’t have space for a garden or if your garden is the target of deer and groundhogs as mine is, buying a share in a CSA might make sense for you.

The benefits of buying local food is that you eat fresher and healthier food and you also help sustain local agriculture, which in turn helps the environment and local economy.  And, I see this in my business all the time–real estate situated close to open space and nice views tends to hold its value. Anything that will preserve the landscape is a good thing for local homeowners.

According to the Red Hill website, this is what sustainable farming practices look like:

  • they believe healthy soil is an integral part of healthy food and healthy people
  • they use compost, cover crops and crop rotations to increase soil fertility
  • they grow produce without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides
  • they encourage an ecosystem of wildflowers to attract birds and pollinators
  • they encourage a sense of place by connecting people with the land and each other through local events at the farm

    Red Hill Farm, Aston Pa.
    Dormant blackberry bush at Red Hill Farm.

Why Buy Organic?

If you’d like to educate yourself o n the effects of pesticides, the Environmental Working Group, has a list of foods that traditionally carry high amounts of pesticide residue and the Organic Consumers Organization  has a newsletter you can sign up for. Pesticides, growth hormones and genetically modified foods have been linked to a host of ailments to people and the planet. You’ve probably heard about the die-off of bees and monarch butterflies. It has been suggested that pesticides have contributed to their plight as well, according to this article on Mercola.com.

Red Hill Farm is just one organic farm in our area that is making a positive impact on our local environment and the health of its people. There are still shares available and you can contact the farm here:

Red Hill Farm, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014
610-558-6799

If you would like to find a CSA in your area, check out Local Harvest, a website that will link you to CSAs all over the country.

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Living in Aston Township

Find Homes in Aston Township

Aston is a convenient place to live, with easy access to major routes, such as I-95 and Route 1 to get you to Philadelphia, Wilmington or across the bridge to New Jersey.  If you live in Aston, you have many choices in restaurants, shopping and entertainment throughout the 5.7 mile area that makes up the township.

Aston has many options in housing, from apartments to townhomes, condos and single family homes.  Aston, served by Penn Delco School District,  is particularly attractive to first time home buyers, where the average price for a home is $294K, with the lowest listed home at $203K and the highest at $494K according to a recent search on TrendMLS.  As of this writing, there are currently 43 homes for sale in Aston Township.

 

Pam Cloud is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred in Media. If you would like more information,  market reports or sales trends or would like to share information for the Aston area, please contact me or visit my website at www.pamcloudhomes.com.

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