An initiative by the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC).
This was the third year that the Cheltenham EAC ran this initiative to spotlight sustainable yards and spaces in Cheltenham. Residents, businesses, or organizations were encouraged to submit pictures or videos and a brief description of how they are maintaining a sustainable space/sustainable practices, meeting set criteria. (View Sustainable Spaces Details.)
The EAC and other Showcase sponsors, Primex Garden Center, Wyncote Audubon Society, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Friends of High School Park, would like to acknowledge this year's participants:
Entry #1 Glenside Free Library
Library Garden at the Glenside Free Library has come back to life after a
pandemic break. This year, we replaced timbers for the garden and
introduced more sustainable choices. We planted companion plants to reduce
pest activity (tomatoes and marigolds), planted pollinator-friendly plants to
attract more pollinators (Beebalm/Monarda and Sunflowers) and have relied
entirely on our rain-barrel for watering the garden.
Library uses the garden several times a week with multi-age groups. We
have Story-Time aged toddlers sampling lettuces and marveling at the growth of
broccoli and peas, and school-age groups (elementary, tweens, and teens) assist with
weeding and watering our entirely organic garden."
Entry #2 Cuker Family
"Some of the sustainable things
we do in our yard include:
- Flowers that attract bees and
- Using the back of the house for
climbing plants, which also provides a nesting spot for birds
- Using a rain barrel to
water our raised bed organic vegetable garden
- Never using pesticides or
herbicides on our lawn."
Entry #3 Coby Waks, Native Plant
Landscaping LLC, based from 324 Montier Rd Glenside, launched in Fall 2020.
"Creating and maintaining
beautiful ecologically-beneficial pollinator garden beds and landscapes, that's
what I do. Planting trees and sewing seeds. By using plants that naturally
occur, we are restoring our ecosystems and bringing nature back to our homes and
communities. Our goals are as large as reforesting and rewilding all of America, and as detailed and personal as planting one tree at a time. I am trying to do
my part, to preserve the natural North American Ecosystem, to absorb carbon
from the atmosphere and to put it into trunks and roots, and to fight back
against climate change. This is my company, this is who I am. I am proud of
what I have accomplished so far. This is just the beginning!"
Entry #4 Cathy Callan and Jim Napolitano
"Our journey into sustainable
gardening has been slow and steady, starting in upstate New York almost 20
years ago. We were on a tour of a native meadow near Thatcher's Park
outside of Albany, when our guide pointed out a plant that would never flower
because the wasp that pollinates that specific native plant had gone
extinct. We started learning as much as we could about how to preserve
our native plants, and their pollinators, about watersheds, and meadows and
"And now we are here, in
Cheltenham, for about 9 years, and our property has been transformed into a
native habitat sanctuary. A stream runs through the property. With
the help of TTF Watershed, we planted a riparian garden on both banks to protect
the water, affording us the added benefit of a variety of bird species
including mallard ducks, the occasional red tail hawk, and a screech owl.
We are gifted every year with hundreds of butterflies and native bees (although
I am sad to say that the native bees have diminished significantly in the past
two years). In the midst of a bustling suburban neighborhood we have a
quiet, shade dappled oasis that we pray will become the norm for homeowners in
Entry #5 Judith Gratz
"The goals for my garden are
fourfold: First, it must be as welcoming as possible to pollinators, birds, and
small animals. They are my greatest concern. Second, it must be planted with
mostly native perennials. Third, it must be casual, not perfect looking.
Fourth, it must have as little lawn as possible."
Entry #6 Kurt Ahrens
"I have always been a supporter
of growing food and reusing or returning resources to the earth. I am
including a picture of my 2-year compost pile, which I manually turn over each
spring, transferring the 2-year old section to my vegetable garden, and
starting a new section for yard waste and plant-based kitchen
scraps. My rain barrel captures water from the roof of my
garage. I use this water for the garden, but I also try to remember to
empty the barrel before it rains, so that it can capture water that would
otherwise run down the driveway. Among the fruit and vegetables I grow
are rhubarb, horseradish, okra, tomatoes, peppers, arugula, and raspberries."
Entry # 7 Friends of Curtis Arboretum
Since its inception as a
501(c)(3), Friends of Curtis Arboretum (FoCA) [1250 Church Rd, Wyncote, PA
19095] has been working on a more environmentally sustainable landscape for
this historic asset. It’s both daunting and exhilarating for committed
volunteers to coordinate with the public property owner for worthy stewardship
of more than 45 public acres. All this has been within the context of the
property’s Master Plan and no predictable, dedicated budget.
Entry #8 Brigette Potgieter
"When we moved into our home along Tookany Creek just over
two years ago, there were barely any native plants, the yard being mostly
daylilies and hostas. We have since planted the following native species:
pawpaw, spicebush, witch hazel, sweet bay magnolia, coral honeysuckle, fringe
tree, red maple, ninebark, big bluestem, coneflower, goldenrod, muhly grass,
river birch, black willow, wild bergamot, eastern prickly pear, and others."