ESP - that's Eastern State Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue, which I pass every day on my way to and from work. Lately I've noticed the garden around the perimeter. It's wild! and I like it that way.
Yestererday Julie Snell from PHS gave me a walking tour. She calls this a "terrace garden," and I gotta tell you, that is some terrace. It's 800 feet long, 10 feet wide, smack up against 30-foot walls in a hot, south-facing exposure.
The plants that thrive here are tough - ornamental grasses, butterfly bush, a few crape myrtles, the biggest viburnums I've ever seen, hundreds of bulbs, lavender, santolina and yarrow, and lots more that I'll detail in a story on Aug. 5.
Sally Elk, president of ESP, the nonprofit that operates the prison as a national historic site, offered an interesting thought. The prison designers' original intent was "to evoke a dungeon, a castle, that would scare people walking by," she said. (Good job there.)