Professional Outreach Project 2016

It’s August, and the Fellows are three months into this year’s Professional Outreach Project with the Delaware Center for Horticulture. The project will result in a Garden Site Vision Plan for TheDCH’s Demonstration Garden. Created in 1987 and dedicated in 1992, the original grounds of TheDCH “aimed to showcase urban gardening ideas”. Now almost thirty years later, the garden site is under renovation as TheDCH undergoes a new strategic planning phase. The Fellows will gather feedback from TheDCH’s stakeholders and community members to create a vision for what the garden site could be in the future.  

The 2017 LGP Fellows with Vikram Krishnamurthy, TheDCH Executive Director, and Ann Mattingly (TheDCH Director of Programs) on their first site visit!

The 2017 LGP Fellows on their first site visit with TheDCH Executive Director Vikram Krishnamurthy and Director of Programs Ann Mattingly.

To date, the Fellows have conducted site visits, staff interviews, external benchmarking, and community workshop planning. The Fellows will be holding a community workshop at TheDCH on September 7th from 6 – 8pm to invite feedback and discussion from local neighbors and supporters of the organization. Their final report will be presented on October 26th at TheDCH’s Annual Meeting.

2015 Outreach Project Update: Bright Spot Farms

Over the past few months, the Fellows have been busy working on their annual Professional Outreach Project. This experiential project is designed to offer the Fellows an opportunity to engage with regional professionals, gain project management experience, and work collaboratively within a specific area interest in public horticulture. This year the Fellows have partnered with Bright Spot Farms, a social enterprise program of West End Neighborhood House in Wilmington that offers hands-on horticultural job training to young adults aging out of Delaware’s foster care system. Together with the staff from Bright Spot, the Fellows are working to create an updated business and program plan to serve as a guide to increase the efficiency and sustainability of this unique and important initiative.

Bright Spot Farms Team at the Cool Spring Farmers' Market (photo courtesy of Bright Spot Farms)

Bright Spot Farms Team at the Cool Spring Farmers’ Market (photo courtesy of Bright Spot Farms)

So what exactly have they been busy doing all summer with this project? The Fellows have conducted interviews and surveys, engaged in benchmarking with similar programs all over the region and nation, become regulars at the Cool Spring Farmers’ Market (which is run by Bright Spot), followed the Mobile Market all over Wilmington, and have eaten some seriously delicious local produce grown at Bright Spot.

Read more about the great work of Bright Spot Farms or see (and taste) for yourself at the Cool Spring Farmers’ Market!

That’s a wrap! The completion of POP 2014.

The Fellows are proud to announce the completion of the 2014 Professional Outreach Project at Wyck Historic House, Garden, and Farm! September was a busy month, with several days spent planting, clearing and mulching.

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September kicked off with two weeding days on the 3rd and 5th. It was all hands on deck with both classes being involved in the process. These days mainly involved weeding, the clearing of unwanted woody material, and creating bench areas. The bench areas were leveled, lined with a weed cloth and edged with Wissahickon schist, which was already present on the property. The work was done in preparation for our planting days, but had a dual purpose of neatening up the site for the Honey Festival that was held at Wyck on September 6th.

The Fellows had the opportunity of being present at the Honey Festival, where they represented the Longwood Graduate Program and the Professional Outreach Project at Wyck, thoroughly enjoying the festivities, especially the man with the bee beard!

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Towards the end of September the Fellows dedicated two more days for planting and putting finishing touches on the project. We installed back up roses into their final positions in the planting beds along Germantown Avenue. Ferns originally donated from the Barnes Foundation, irises, peonies, hellebores, hostas, and shasta daisies were divided and planted into their final positions in various parts of the perimeter beds. We ended the day by planting plugs of Achillea, Monarda, and Amsonia in large groups, which helped to fill the gaps between some of the existing perennials mentioned above.

The final day involved planting some of the larger plants we purchased from Pleasant Run Nursery and the unveiling and installing interpretive signage. We also installed new benches for the guests. Once the planting was completed, it was time for the mulching, which required the help of all the Fellows, including several international students from Longwood Gardens and two staff members from Morris Arboretum. Many hands make light work, and all our hard work was rewarded with delicious pizza, kindly provided by the staff at Wyck.

Once the project was completed, we provided Wyck with a final report which included a summary of the project and tools that will be useful for the management and maintenance of the perimeter beds and the rose garden.

This project has been a wonderful opportunity for the Fellows. A definite highlight was the fact that we saw this project from the initial planning stages right through to completion; achieving the goals we set out in July. We would like to thank Wyck for this opportunity and we wish them the best of luck with all their future endeavors.

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Professional Outreach Project 2014: Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm

The Fellows are hard at work and well on the way to completing a successful Professional Outreach Project (POP) for 2014! Our 2014 POP project is at Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm located in Germantown in Philadelphia PA. Wyck has a rich Quaker history and was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1971. For 250 years Wyck was a working farm and this still continues today, with seasonal produce being sold at a weekly farmers market and at the many festivals that Wyck holds during the summer.

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One of the highlights at Wyck is the historic rose garden, which dates back to the 1820s and contains more than 50 varieties of antique roses. Many of these cultivars were thought to be lost to horticulture until they were rediscovered growing happily at Wyck. Three sides of the property, eac with their own perimeter beds, border the rose garden.  It is the task of the Longwood Graduate Fellows to redesign these beds so that they represent the look and feel of the mid 1820s, and serve as a backdrop, accentuating the rose garden.

Our first task was to visit the American Philosophical Society (APS) in Philadelphia as it holds many of the historical records from Wyck. We discovered plant lists from the 1800s, including many articles detailing flowering bulbs, various fruit trees, and herbs. All of our research helped to inform the new plant palette and design for the perimeter beds, which will be installed at the end of September.


We will also be providing two benches, which will fit the Quaker style of the garden and house. These will be installed directly in the beds, and will serve as a great resting spot on a hot summers day.

We have recently completed writing a grant to the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust that included a request for funds for the repair of several of the historic wooden structures at Wyck. The wooden structures are currently being used to house tools and equipment. The grant would also be used for the purchase of new tools and equipment for Wyck. The grant was submitted in mid-August, with an expected decision being made by early December. Until then, we are all keeping our fingers crossed!

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Another component of the project is the development of display labels for the historic rose collection, as well as interpretive signage for the historic rose garden and the perimeter beds. We are working closely with Wyck staff and designers at Longwood Gardens to develop copy and layout for the signs.

Stay tuned to see how our final month progresses, and if you’re in the area, why not pay a visit to Wyck, and come smell the roses.

Moving ahead with POP 2013!

We have all been working hard over the past couple of months and have made good progress at Tyler Arboretum. Here is a brief rundown of our activities:

The first big accomplishment was a certified assessment of all of the Painter trees in the collection. Robert Wells, Associate Director of Arboriculture at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Morris Arboretum Urban Forestry Consultant, performed this assessment. Mr. Wells provided us with expert advice on the maintenance of the Painter trees and their long-term preservation. Most of the trees are in a very good condition, with only a couple needing immediate attention, and a few with minor root damage and or dead wood in the crown.Image 4

To further our efforts to preserve the Painter trees we are starting partnerships with several local individuals and organizations regarding the propagation of the painter trees and the subsequent maintenance of the propagules. We have also updated Minshall Painter’s 1856 list of plants, with modern botanical names and their locations in the Arboretum and put it into an Excel format, for easier use by the Tyler Arboretum staff.

We are finishing up new postcards and rack cards using images from old slides of the Painter arboretum. These cards will raise awareness about Tyler Arboretum as well as funding opportunities for any interested donors.

Currently, we are in the process of redeveloping a Painter Plant Collection brochure highlighting a new route and different viewing areas for the Painter Plants. The map will be stylized according to the existing Tyler Arboretum brochure, and will contain information about the Painter brothers and their living legacy, as well as a look into the future of the collection.

We are also in the process of changing the signage and interpretation pertaining to the Painter Plant Collection. We have proposed the idea of viewing areas with large signboards depicting a group of plants, rather than individual trees, with the addition of interesting facts and anecdotes.

As we move through October, we will continue to work on these projects, wrapping up with a final meeting at the end of the month.

2013 Professional Outreach Project Begins

Each summer the Longwood Graduate Program partners with an outside organization to accomplish a task that is both beneficial to the partner organization and educational for the fellows. In April the (then) first-year fellows sat down for the first meeting of the 2013 Professional Outreach Project (POP). Since that meeting we sent out our Request for Proposals, attended the 2013 APGA national conference, selected our partner organization for POP, tearfully said good-bye to the graduating class, and cheerfully said hello to the incoming LGP class of 2014. With all that excitement behind us now, we have gotten to work on this year’s POP.

Tyler Arboretum's Logo

We are excited to be working with Tyler Arboretum this year in Media, PA; a historic arboretum and landscape, Tyler is home to the historic collection known as the Painter plants. The Painter plants were planted in the mid-1800s by the Painter brothers, who lived on what was then their family farm. They were two Quaker brothers, who were true amateur naturalists – interested in minerals, animals, plants, and all things scientific.

During their lives they planted over 1,000 trees, shrubs and perennials around their house and barn (which are both still standing today), in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the natural order of life. After their deaths, the estate continued to be passed down through the family, until it was finally transitioned into a public arboretum in 1944.Unfortunately, many of these plants have not survived the decades, but those that have are magnificent specimens, many of which are now state champion trees.

Tree at Tyler

This summer the Longwood graduate fellows are undertaking the task of preserving and reinterpreting these historic plants. We started our process by combing through boxes of archival material from the Painter brothers, now stored at Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College, and reaching out to other historic institutions to learn as much as we could about the brothers, their plants, and about the era in which they co-existed.

As we move forward we will be looking at modern-day best practices for maintaining the health of historic trees, ways to propagate these plants in order to preserve their unique genetics, and how to best showcase these plants to visitors of all ages at Tyler Arboretum. It is a very exciting project we are undertaking, and we are excited to move forward with it. Check back later in the summer for more updates!

Students at Tyler

Visiting Tyler in the Rain

POP 2012 Comes to an End

Summer is at an end, and so, sadly, is this year’s Professional Outreach Project (POP). On October 8th the Fellows had their third and final POP Advisory Committee (POPAC) meeting. Since the last POPAC meeting, we have been working to finish the internal way finding and interpretation material, compiling the final report, and printing our first real signs. The Fellows are now taking the final steps to finish the project and summary report.

To complete the internal signage portion of the project, Fellows first talked with staff members, studied maps, and analyzed the landscape. We wanted to find where material would be most effective in reaching guests with their message, as well as helping them navigate inside the garden. In total, six different garden landscapes were chosen for new interpretation signs. The goals in designing these signs was visual consistency throughout the whole garden, quick and easy to locate and read, and most importantly, informative. The design template and wording for all the interpretation signs were presented to POPAC and all agreed that they were very well done.

The Fellows also started work on the final report, the culmination of the past three-month’s work. Everyone chipped in to help write, revise, and compile the report, which has now been submitted. General Manager and POPAC member, Chris van de Velde and Awbury Arboretum’s board will now have the opportunity to review the work completed by the Fellows.

One of the most exciting events leading up to the final POPAC meeting was printing the first sign. With the help of Barry & Homer in Philadelphia, the Fellows were able to print a mock-up of one of the smaller entryway signs. After months of looking at computer images, it was exhilarating to hold the actual sign in our hands. Better yet was being able to present it to the committee. We have decided to try to print all the exterior signs and have them installed first, before going forward with printing and installing the internal signs.

Although the project is almost complete, and POPAC had great comments and feedback on our progress thus far, still, there are a few final tasks to be completed. The plant list for the entranceway areas will be completed in the coming weeks, but the beds won’t be planted until after the signs are installed. We are also in the process of updating the location of walking paths on Google maps.

This project has been a great learning experience for all of us. We would like to extend special thanks to Awbury Arboretum and to our Advisory Committee, which includes Chris van de Velde, General Manager of Awbury Arboretum, Dottie Miles, Interpretation and Exhibits Manager at Longwood Gardens, Beth Miner, Director of Outreach at Awbury Arboretum, and Dr. Robert Lyons, Chair, and Director of the Longwood Graduate Program.

POP 2012 Update

The Fellows have been hard at work all summer on the Professional Outreach Project at Awbury Arboretum.  The project began by researching examples of inviting entryways and effective internal signage at similar institutions so that the same could be developed at Awbury Arboretum.

After this initial research phase, the Fellows started phase two, Inviting Entryways.  In this phase the main goal was to attract visitors to the Arboretum by making each entryway consistent and inviting.  The Fellows created a general template with which they designed new signs to be placed at the various entrances to the Arboretum.  They also developed a plant list and plant installation garden design to add color and seasonal interest to four of the entrances to the Arboretum.

The second POP Advisory Committee (POPAC) produced positive feedback regarding the proposed signs and planting designs.  The entire POPAC includes Chris Van de Velde, General Manager, and Beth Miner, Director of Outreach, both of Awbury Arboretum, as well as Dottie Mile, Interpretation Manager at Longwood Gardens, and Robert Lyons, Professor and Director of the Longwood Graduate Program.

Now the Fellows are using the next two weeks to finish their work in Phase Three, Internal Signage.  They are currently addressing way-finding and interpretation needs inside the borders of the Arboretum and are developing way-finding signs to place in various locations around the Arboretum.  New interpretive signs are being designed for several areas, which correspond to places currently highlighted on the Awbury map.  This interpretive material will explain basic information about selected gardens and habitats to aid in informal education at the Arboretum.

The Fellows will spend the final two weeks in September compiling a summary document to share with Awbury’s staff. Going forward, the Fellows plan to produce the signs they have designed and to install the signs and selected plants.

POP 2012 at Awbury Arboretum

The Fellows received several excellent proposals for the Professional Outreach Project this spring and selected Awbury Arboretum.  Now that the First Year Fellows have joined the group, POP 2012 is officially underway!


The POP 2012 project aims to use interpretation to inform visitors and the community of where Awbury is, what an Arboretum is, and how visitors can enjoy Awbury’s resources.  The project will focus in two areas: creating inviting entryways around the perimeter of the Arboretum and creating additional way-finding strategies to help visitors navigate through the Arboretum.


The Fellows will be working as one team and moving through the phases of POP as a group.  The first phase of the project is “research”.  The Fellows are using interviews and written materials to better understand Awbury Arboretum’s history and to get to know its current staff, community and garden features.  Research will also include benchmarking institutions that face similar challenges to Awbury such as other free public institutions in urban settings.  The Fellows will use this research to help shape the interpretive material.

Beth Miner, Dottie Miles, and Bob Lyons, part of the POP Advisory Committee


The next phase of the project will be creating deliverables for Awbury.  The Fellows plan to create informational signage around the perimeter of the Arboretum and basic way finding signage to ease navigation and to inform visitors about the significance of various Arboretum features.  The Fellows are off to an exciting start and look forward the interesting research and creative work that will take place this summer!

Requests for Proposals

We are now accepting proposals for the 2012 Professional Outreach Project (POP) if you are located approximately within a 60 mile radius of Newark, DE! 

What is POP?
Each year the Fellows collaborate with a local client institution to create a project in a specific area of public horticulture.  Past projects include the development of a membership and programming plan for the Scott Arboretum and a meadow management plan for Bartram’s Garden.  Please follow this link to learn more about past Professional Outreach Projects.

How to get involved:
We are now accepting proposals for the 2012 Professional Outreach Project.  This year the Fellows are interested in pursuing a project in planning and development of interpretation efforts involving one of the following areas: natural habitat conservation efforts, community outreach, K-12 education, or ethnobotany.  We encourage submissions with a variety of interpretative methods.
Follow this link to learn more and to submit your proposal.

Please contact Sara Levin with any questions at