Se­cret Gar­den

Where Philadelphia - - Contents - BY RE­GAN STEPHENS

Hid­den gar­dens and city parks you can visit year-round.

Af­ter a win­ter filled with con­fus­ingly in­con­sis­tent weather and shame­less hi­ber­na­tion, spring is fast ap­proach­ing, and with it, a re­newed de­sire to head out­side. Luck­ily, when it comes to pub­lic green spa­ces, Philadel­phia — also known as Amer­ica’s Gar­den Cap­i­tal — boasts an em­bar­rass­ment of riches. While main squares like Rit­ten­house and Wash­ing­ton gar­ner most of the at­ten­tion, the city is brim­ming with lesser-known gems. Take a breather from sight­see­ing and seek out one of th­ese lush ur­ban oases. BY RE­GAN STEPHENS


Sit­u­ated in Old City amid the ex­pan­sive In­de­pen­dence Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Park, you’ll find In­de­pen­dence Hall, the Lib­erty Bell Cen­ter and the Se­cret Gar­dens. Four pe­tite green spa­ces pro­vide a shady respite for tourists tak­ing in the city’s his­toric of­fer­ings. The 18th Cen­tury Gar­den and neigh­bor­ing Bishop White Gar­den are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Colo­nial gar­dens of the 18th cen­tury, with fruit trees, a vine- covered per­gola and sym­met­ri­cal raised beds flour­ish­ing with flow­ers of the era. Nearby, the Rose Gar­den and the Mag­no­lia Gar­den pay homage to the sign­ers of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence and to Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton, who was known to have been fond of mag­no­lias. The trees are in peak bloom in the spring­time, so stop in around mid- March or later to ex­pe­ri­ence their beauty. Between Wal­nut St. and S. 3rd St.


Fair­mount Park may not be a se­cret, but, span­ning over 2,000 acres, there are plenty of hid­den gems to be dis­cov­ered in the city’s largest park. On the site of what used to be the early 19th cen­tury Spring Gar­den Wa­ter Works just off Kelly Drive, Glen­den­ning Rock Gar­den is a small, peace­ful area with a creek, wa­ter­fall and charm­ing stone steps that seem straight out of a fairy­tale. Come here for a quiet af­ter­noon and feel worlds away from the bustling city. Kelly Dr. and Brew­ery Hill Dr.


For­merly known as the BioPond, this three-acre botanic gar­den is the old­est green space on the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia’s cam­pus. While bi­ol­ogy and art classes are some­times con­ducted here, the park is open to the pub­lic daily from sun­rise to sun­set. Rich with wildlife, a re­cent rough cen­sus es­ti­mates it is home to over 100 dif­fer­ent species of birds, in­sects, mam­mals and lichen. Also find a pol­li­na­tor gar­den, pond, wood­land paths, benches and chess board- covered ta­bles — all wel­com­ing those in the know (or any­one lucky enough to stum­ble across it) to tem­po­rar­ily re­place the din of city life with war­bling birds and the sooth­ing sound of a wa­ter­fall. Hamil­ton Walk and 36th St.


Like many things in Philadel­phia, Penn Treaty Park is steeped in his­tory. The Fish­town neigh­bor­hood recre­ation area over­look­ing the Delaware River gets its name from a “Great Treaty” meet­ing Wil­liam Penn held with the Leni Le­nape Na­tive Amer­i­can In­di­ans, ac­cord­ing to leg­end, on the grounds in 1683. To­day, a statue of Penn stands on the ver­dant lawns wel­com­ing dog walk­ers, pic­nick­ers and the play­ground set, while the park hosts yoga classes, a yearly Easter egg hunt and fish­ing derby, and other com­mu­nity events. 1301 N. Beach St.


Known for its award-win­ning gar­dens, this com­mu­nity park in the city’s Mount Airy neigh­bor­hood has come to life with a team of green-thumbed vol­un­teers and funds from a yearly plant sale. Vi­brant, di­verse flow­ers dot the small green area, with benches and plenty of shady trees. The gar­den is host to com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties like lec­tures and Tai Chi classes, but at its core, the beloved green space is the per­fect place to en­joy a morn­ing coffee and a great book. 7018 McCal­lum St.


It would be easy to hus­tle past this tiny pocket park nes­tled between two build­ings on your way to the nearby Shops at Lib­erty Place. But be­hind artist Christo­pher T. Ray’s Wis­sahickon Gate and Es­tu­ary Gate, de­pict­ing plants and an­i­mals na­tive to the sur­round­ing ar­eas, find one of Cen­ter City’s most charm­ing green spa­ces. Ivy- covered walls, a mod­ern, serene foun­tain, abun­dant shade and plenty of benches and ta­bles, make this tiny park a true oa­sis in the midst of one of the busiest sec­tions of the city. Open year round, it’s nor­mally most crowded around midday when it’s filled with lo­cals on lunch break. Join them, or pick a qui­eter time to sa­vor the ur­ban sanc­tu­ary. 1707 Ch­est­nut St.

In­de­pen­dence Se­cret Gar­dens 18th Cen­tury Gar­den

John F. Collins Park

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