Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Creekside hideaway

How's this for creekside dining? We visited a friend in this delightful setting on Sunday night and enjoyed wine and finger food as the sun went down. I was struck by the natural beauty of this place, tucked away in a very conventional neighborhood, which just goes to show: You can't judge a place by its zip code. But I also noted that our host had carefully planted the hills on either side of the creek with ordinary ferns and hostas. They not only provided support for the eroding soil, plainly visible on the unfinished part of the creek downstream, but they created a lush effect you might have thought cost a fortune. The hostas in my garden (not the ferns, just yet) are ripe for dividing. They've been growing for five-plus years and are really thick and tall. Sitting on the bridge overlooking our host's do-it-yourself creek environment, I made a mental note to divide my hostas and spread the wealth this fall. This is the frugal gardener's alternative to unlimited spending at the garden center, which is easy to do. Still, no creek in my city garden, unless we get a monsoon. But at least I'll have the look. The rest, we imagine.

Creekside hideaway

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

How's this for creekside dining? We visited a friend in this delightful setting on Sunday night and enjoyed wine and finger food as the sun went down. I was struck by the natural beauty of this place, tucked away in a very conventional neighborhood, which just goes to show: You can't judge a place by its zip code. But I also noted that our host had carefully planted the hills on either side of the creek with ordinary ferns and hostas. They not only provided support for the eroding soil, plainly visible on the unfinished part of the creek downstream, but they created a lush effect you might have thought cost a fortune. The hostas in my garden (not the ferns, just yet) are ripe for dividing. They've been growing for five-plus years and are really thick and tall. Sitting on the bridge overlooking our host's do-it-yourself creek environment, I made a mental note to divide my hostas and spread the wealth this fall. This is the frugal gardener's alternative to unlimited spending at the garden center, which is easy to do. Still, no creek in my city garden, unless we get a monsoon. But at least I'll have the look. The rest, we imagine. 

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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