We met Eric Sternfels, the organizer and local gardener and artist, at the first gardens, a row of homes on McCallum Street. A European feel with a great sense of community and gardens with obscurely placed sculptures and other pieces of art. Sternfels selected the sites by scouring the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Gardens Contest winners, leaning on his local gardening network and the old-fashioned method of revisiting gardens he liked, with the hope he might run into someone. “It’s really astonishing the amount of knowledge you’ll find is available if you get involved in this little local garden community, it’s amazing how much these spaces have filled in since I saw them the beginning of May. When you’re a gardener, you’re always just missing something. Something’s always just coming into season or just going.”
The next Mt. Airy garden we visited was built in the 1950s by a colleague of renowned modern architect Louis Kahn. Gardeners are friendly people, the host offered us cookies and told us his wife had planned the central feature, a 5,000 gallon garden pond stocked with Koi with an upper bog area that biologically filtered the water without the use of mechanical skimmers.
Only one garden on the tour really stood out, but what was special was the passion evident in the gardeners and the friendship and reciprocity emanating between them. No wine this time but we had a great crepes and coffee at a Mt. Airy cafe we discovered last year on another garden tour.