Spring in Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park in Philadelphia, PA

I was walking in Center City (what we call our downtown) Philadelphia, last week and strolled by Washington Square Park.

18th & Walnut in Philadelphia, PA
18th & Walnut in Philadelphia, PA

I was struck by the clear levels of blooming. The ground level, then the understory then the canopy trees. The order of blooming is just like any deciduous forest.

Spring in Washington Square Park (Philadelphia, PA)

It just points out to us that we think we are creating something “outside the boundaries of nature”, but in truth we are not.

flower bed in Washington Square Park (Philadelphia, PA)
flower bed in Washington Square Park (Philadelphia, PA)

In my gardening presentations I try to stress this point. We garden within the natural order of the world, not outside of it.

Washington Park mimics the larger Eastern Deciduous Forest that Philadelphia sits in.

Each of our gardens is part of the local ecosystem whether we want it to be or not. So, what does this mean? Garden responsibly. I struggle with desires to plant any old plant that catches my eye, but I know that it is best for the land to plant locally indigenous native plants and not to use chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

Male House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) gathers dry grass to build a nest in Washington Square Park

We gardeners have great power. We can help conserve birds, butterflies and native plants. I want to use my power for good.


  1. Donna I applaud your efforts and am inspired by them…I was born in Philly but moved when I was 5…my family is from there and their family and so on…nice to see such lovely parks still…I too try to garden more responsibly and continue to learn more every day…wonderful post…

    • Hi, Donna

      As you moved when you were five, you probably would not remember much. But, your birthplace is a city on the move. The energy is very exciting. We are planting trees to restore tree canopy, rejuvenating parks, have good sustainability plans and so much more.
      Philly is a good place to be if you care about the environment.

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