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Secret Gardens and Parks in Philly

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Philly experienced record-breaking warm weather this weekend, and it doesn't look like any snow is in the forecast. Inspired by the 70-degree weather we're experiencing, we decided to update our Curbed map of lesser-known and under-appreciated gardens and green spaces in the city. So put away the parka, don a fall jacket, and head to one of these secret gardens while you still can. We know there's plenty more places than below, so if you have other suggestions of secret green spaces, let us know in the comments!

· Secret gardens, parks, and green spaces in Philadelphia [Curbed Philly]
· Cold reality: A December without winter [Philly.com]

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1. Julian Abele Park

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917 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146

This expansive park in Graduate Hospital "became the first new Philadelphia public park in over a decade when it was opened in 2008," according to SOSNA. This year, the park serves as the check-in location for the wildly popular South Philly Food Co-op garden tour. The self-guided tour gives visitors the the opportunity to peek into the lives (and freaking amazing gardens) of urban farmers and horticulturists around the city. This year, the tour will take place throughout Graduate Hospital, Point Breeze, Newbold and West Passyunk. Head on over to the South Philly Food Co-op Website to find out more about the tour.

2. The Spring Gardens

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North 18th Street & Wallace Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

The Spring Gardens was built by neighbors from the ground up starting in 1995 and helps families grow food and flowers for themselves and for donation through two large City Harvest sections. The garden serves as an outdoor classroom hosting cooking workshops, gardening classes, school education tours, farm bike tours, and provides hands-on learning for student interns, visitors and volunteer groups.

3. Powelton Summer/Winter Garden

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North 33rd Street & Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Summer Winter Community Garden is one of the oldest community gardens in Philadelphia. It is located in the Powelton Village section of the city, near Drexel University. The name of the gardens is derived from nearby Summer and Winter streets.It is run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of its members. The Summer Winter Community Gardens provide sustenance, beauty and a sense of calm within its confines.

4. Henry Cope Garden

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1 Awbury Road
Philadelphia, PA 19138

This “Secret Garden” at Awbury Arboretum is also known as the Henry Cope Garden, and dates to the earliest days of Awbury. It held a small, formal boxwood garden and a long grass lawn. The wall surrounding the garden, however, was a WPA project built during the Great Depression. You can find similar walls along Washington lane. These were also constructed as WPA projects.The Secret Garden now includes understory trees and shrubs such as winterberry holly, shadbush, witchhazel, spicebush, viburnums and dogwood species. The garden also exhibits very tall, old persimmons. Visits to the Secret Garden must be planned in advance.

5. Chanticleer Pleasure Garden

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786 Church Road
Wayne, PA 19087

The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. Now, the gardens are open to the public on select days throughout the week, and offers tours, workshops, and classes.

6. PECO Green Roof

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Market Street & North 23rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

At 45,000 square feet, it's the largest urban green roof installation on an existing building in Pennsylvania. The roof captures 60-70% of the estimated 1.5 million gallons of runoff from the building annually, and the vegetation consists mainly of hardy sedum varieties. PECO and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society have teamed up to once again offer tours of PECO’s giant “living roof” on the third Tuesday of every month at 5 p.m. starting in April and ending in October. The fee is $5 for Pennsylvania Horticultural Society members and $10 for nonmembers. Space is limited and pre-registration at least two business days before the tour is required.

7. Kaskey Memorial Botanical Garden

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University of Pennsylvania, Hamilton Walk & 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Known best as simply "Biopond," this treasure tucked away on UPenn's campus is probably the best place to take your lunch if you work on or near campus. The pond has a full-time staff attending to it, and it can be reserved for special occasions.

8. Free Library Green Roof

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1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Philadelphia's first municipal green roof is located on the roof of the Free Library on Vine Street. It's approximately 5,000 square-feet big, divided into two areas which flank either side of the central roof terrace. The Library roof terrace is accessible from the 4th floor of the central library Skyline room. A beautiful view of central Philadelphia can be seen from the terrace while also allowing one access to the green roof. Private booking of the terrace and skyline room are also available through the Free Library.

9. The Fountain Street Steps

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Umbria Street & Fountain Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127

The Fountain Street Steps at the intersection of Fountain St. and Umbria St. in Manayunk is a little gem tended to by the community. "Back in the early ’90’s, two young mothers living on Umbria Street, Colleen Long and Amy Turella, decided to tackle the steps at the bottom of Fountain Street that lead to the Manayunk Canal. At that time, the steps were overgrown with weeds, the gutters to the sewer inlets were filled with trash, the area had rodents, people were afraid to walk down the steps to get to and from the Canal or to the factories on Venice Island." Now, the Steps have become a beautiful green space and safe access to the Canal.

10. Perth and Addison Park

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Addison Street & South Perth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

According to several Yelp users (and a Curbed editor or two), Perth and Addison Park, tucked away in a little corner of Washington Square West, may "simply be the most romantic spot in Philadelphia."

11. The Secret Gardens of Independence Park

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Walnut Street & South 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

There are actually a whopping 55 acres of land that make up Independence National Historical Park down in Old City. Down in the shadow of 500 Walnut, what was briefly rumored to be Beyonce and Jay Z's future Philadelphia pied-a-terre, are the so-called "Secret Gardens of Independence Park," a series of rose and magnolia gardens created by the National Park Service. It's a perfect place to get out of the office for a spell, or escape the summer tourist tsunami, to stroll, read, or let your kid tumble down a very tumble-friendly hill next to Carpenter's Hall.

12. The Glendinning Rock Garden

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Kelly Drive & Brewery Hill Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19130

This little park used to be the home of the "Spring Garden Water Works,' built in the mid 1840's. The foundation still stands, now overgrown with flora. There are some steps that take you into the woods adjacent to the park, and there is a pond, waterfalls, and probably some of the best secluded picnic spots in all of Philly.

13. John F. Collins Park

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1707 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

This secluded little pocket park is located in the shadow of Liberty Place, and is one of the best places to get out from under those fluorescent lights and into the sunshine for a mid-day lunch break. It's open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays on a slightly more abbreviated schedule. There's free music (head to the website to check out the schedule), and you can book the space for special events.

14. Harry O's Passyunk Gardens

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1304 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Harry O’s Passyunk Gardens was created in 2011 for a taping of the Rachael Ray Show.The garden continues as a volunteer-run space administered by Passyunk Square Civic Association with plants and supplies provided by Camden Children’s Garden.For 2015, open hours are Sundays from 4-6 and some weekday mornings – check Facebook (link below) for more details.

15. Bardascino Park

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Bardascino Park, South 10th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

One word: Bocce. This hidden gem in Bella Vista is a lovingly-maintained public space that provides a place for locals who want to take part in a friendly game, or just hang out in the shade. Per Yelp Reviewer Peter D: "I really like the bocce court and the atmosphere. It's totally regular."

16. Coxe Park

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2136 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

This is a hidden gem off Cherry Street. A great place to bring the tots and let them run amok among some pretty rad, slightly old-fashioned playground equipment.

17. Benjamin Rush State Park

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Benjamin Rush State Park
Philadelphia, PA 19154

This 275-acre park runs between the Boulevard and Poquessing Creek in the very far Northeast. It’s a largely undeveloped park, save for a large community garden. It's popular with hikers, bicyclers, birders and wildlife enthusiasts, and there's a large area devoted to flying radio controlled model airplanes. (Image: PA DCNR)

18. Ned Wolf Park

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McCallum Street & West Ellet Street
Philadelphia, PA 19119

This community park in Mt. Airy began a transformation a half a dozen years ago. Now they're known for their skilled gardeners and resulting plant sales. There are weekend Tai Chi classes, annual plant sales, garden lectures, a clothesline art show, and you can even book the park for your Big Day.

19. Konrad Square Park

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Tulip Street & East Dauphin Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

This Fishtown gem provides plenty of lawn space for general hanging-out, and has Saturday flea markets, Thursday night barbecues, and the occasional movie night. Head on over to their Facebook page (below) to find out more about what's going on at the park.

20. Old Swede's Church

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916 South Swanson Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

If it's good enough for "Spruce Street Harbor Park Mastermind" David Fierabend, it's good enough for us. His pick for the best-kept secret garden in Philly is Old Swede's Church in Southwark. The historic church is an architectural treasure with beautifully-kept, shaded grounds that provide a respite from the summer heat, and also holds events such as yoga, flea markets, and bring-your-own-wine jazz Fourth Thursdays.

21. Bartram's Garden

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5400 Lindbergh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19143

It's more than just a garden—Bartram's is the oldest surviving botanical garden in the U.S. What initially began as owner John Bartram's landscaped garden is now a quiet respite on the west side of the Schuylkill River. Next summer the garden will be connected to the east side of the Schuylkill River banks via the Bartram's Mile trail.

22. Cira Green

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Chestnut St & S 30th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The recently opened Cira Green offers gorgeous skyline views of Philly. It sits on top of a parking garage in University City, and is open to the public from 7 AM to 8 PM during the winter.

1. Julian Abele Park

917 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146

This expansive park in Graduate Hospital "became the first new Philadelphia public park in over a decade when it was opened in 2008," according to SOSNA. This year, the park serves as the check-in location for the wildly popular South Philly Food Co-op garden tour. The self-guided tour gives visitors the the opportunity to peek into the lives (and freaking amazing gardens) of urban farmers and horticulturists around the city. This year, the tour will take place throughout Graduate Hospital, Point Breeze, Newbold and West Passyunk. Head on over to the South Philly Food Co-op Website to find out more about the tour.

917 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146

2. The Spring Gardens

North 18th Street & Wallace Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

The Spring Gardens was built by neighbors from the ground up starting in 1995 and helps families grow food and flowers for themselves and for donation through two large City Harvest sections. The garden serves as an outdoor classroom hosting cooking workshops, gardening classes, school education tours, farm bike tours, and provides hands-on learning for student interns, visitors and volunteer groups.

North 18th Street & Wallace Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

3. Powelton Summer/Winter Garden

North 33rd Street & Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Summer Winter Community Garden is one of the oldest community gardens in Philadelphia. It is located in the Powelton Village section of the city, near Drexel University. The name of the gardens is derived from nearby Summer and Winter streets.It is run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of its members. The Summer Winter Community Gardens provide sustenance, beauty and a sense of calm within its confines.

North 33rd Street & Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

4. Henry Cope Garden

1 Awbury Road, Philadelphia, PA 19138

This “Secret Garden” at Awbury Arboretum is also known as the Henry Cope Garden, and dates to the earliest days of Awbury. It held a small, formal boxwood garden and a long grass lawn. The wall surrounding the garden, however, was a WPA project built during the Great Depression. You can find similar walls along Washington lane. These were also constructed as WPA projects.The Secret Garden now includes understory trees and shrubs such as winterberry holly, shadbush, witchhazel, spicebush, viburnums and dogwood species. The garden also exhibits very tall, old persimmons. Visits to the Secret Garden must be planned in advance.

1 Awbury Road
Philadelphia, PA 19138

5. Chanticleer Pleasure Garden

786 Church Road, Wayne, PA 19087

The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. Now, the gardens are open to the public on select days throughout the week, and offers tours, workshops, and classes.

786 Church Road
Wayne, PA 19087

6. PECO Green Roof

Market Street & North 23rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

At 45,000 square feet, it's the largest urban green roof installation on an existing building in Pennsylvania. The roof captures 60-70% of the estimated 1.5 million gallons of runoff from the building annually, and the vegetation consists mainly of hardy sedum varieties. PECO and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society have teamed up to once again offer tours of PECO’s giant “living roof” on the third Tuesday of every month at 5 p.m. starting in April and ending in October. The fee is $5 for Pennsylvania Horticultural Society members and $10 for nonmembers. Space is limited and pre-registration at least two business days before the tour is required.

Market Street & North 23rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

7. Kaskey Memorial Botanical Garden

University of Pennsylvania, Hamilton Walk & 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Known best as simply "Biopond," this treasure tucked away on UPenn's campus is probably the best place to take your lunch if you work on or near campus. The pond has a full-time staff attending to it, and it can be reserved for special occasions.

University of Pennsylvania, Hamilton Walk & 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

8. Free Library Green Roof

1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Philadelphia's first municipal green roof is located on the roof of the Free Library on Vine Street. It's approximately 5,000 square-feet big, divided into two areas which flank either side of the central roof terrace. The Library roof terrace is accessible from the 4th floor of the central library Skyline room. A beautiful view of central Philadelphia can be seen from the terrace while also allowing one access to the green roof. Private booking of the terrace and skyline room are also available through the Free Library.

1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

9. The Fountain Street Steps

Umbria Street & Fountain Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127

The Fountain Street Steps at the intersection of Fountain St. and Umbria St. in Manayunk is a little gem tended to by the community. "Back in the early ’90’s, two young mothers living on Umbria Street, Colleen Long and Amy Turella, decided to tackle the steps at the bottom of Fountain Street that lead to the Manayunk Canal. At that time, the steps were overgrown with weeds, the gutters to the sewer inlets were filled with trash, the area had rodents, people were afraid to walk down the steps to get to and from the Canal or to the factories on Venice Island." Now, the Steps have become a beautiful green space and safe access to the Canal.

Umbria Street & Fountain Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127

10. Perth and Addison Park

Addison Street & South Perth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

According to several Yelp users (and a Curbed editor or two), Perth and Addison Park, tucked away in a little corner of Washington Square West, may "simply be the most romantic spot in Philadelphia."

Addison Street & South Perth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

11. The Secret Gardens of Independence Park

Walnut Street & South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

There are actually a whopping 55 acres of land that make up Independence National Historical Park down in Old City. Down in the shadow of 500 Walnut, what was briefly rumored to be Beyonce and Jay Z's future Philadelphia pied-a-terre, are the so-called "Secret Gardens of Independence Park," a series of rose and magnolia gardens created by the National Park Service. It's a perfect place to get out of the office for a spell, or escape the summer tourist tsunami, to stroll, read, or let your kid tumble down a very tumble-friendly hill next to Carpenter's Hall.

Walnut Street & South 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

12. The Glendinning Rock Garden

Kelly Drive & Brewery Hill Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19130

This little park used to be the home of the "Spring Garden Water Works,' built in the mid 1840's. The foundation still stands, now overgrown with flora. There are some steps that take you into the woods adjacent to the park, and there is a pond, waterfalls, and probably some of the best secluded picnic spots in all of Philly.

Kelly Drive & Brewery Hill Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19130

13. John F. Collins Park

1707 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

This secluded little pocket park is located in the shadow of Liberty Place, and is one of the best places to get out from under those fluorescent lights and into the sunshine for a mid-day lunch break. It's open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays on a slightly more abbreviated schedule. There's free music (head to the website to check out the schedule), and you can book the space for special events.

1707 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

14. Harry O's Passyunk Gardens

1304 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Harry O’s Passyunk Gardens was created in 2011 for a taping of the Rachael Ray Show.The garden continues as a volunteer-run space administered by Passyunk Square Civic Association with plants and supplies provided by Camden Children’s Garden.For 2015, open hours are Sundays from 4-6 and some weekday mornings – check Facebook (link below) for more details.

1304 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147

15. Bardascino Park

Bardascino Park, South 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

One word: Bocce. This hidden gem in Bella Vista is a lovingly-maintained public space that provides a place for locals who want to take part in a friendly game, or just hang out in the shade. Per Yelp Reviewer Peter D: "I really like the bocce court and the atmosphere. It's totally regular."

Bardascino Park, South 10th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

16. Coxe Park

2136 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

This is a hidden gem off Cherry Street. A great place to bring the tots and let them run amok among some pretty rad, slightly old-fashioned playground equipment.

2136 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

17. Benjamin Rush State Park

Benjamin Rush State Park, Philadelphia, PA 19154

This 275-acre park runs between the Boulevard and Poquessing Creek in the very far Northeast. It’s a largely undeveloped park, save for a large community garden. It's popular with hikers, bicyclers, birders and wildlife enthusiasts, and there's a large area devoted to flying radio controlled model airplanes. (Image: PA DCNR)

Benjamin Rush State Park
Philadelphia, PA 19154

18. Ned Wolf Park

McCallum Street & West Ellet Street, Philadelphia, PA 19119

This community park in Mt. Airy began a transformation a half a dozen years ago. Now they're known for their skilled gardeners and resulting plant sales. There are weekend Tai Chi classes, annual plant sales, garden lectures, a clothesline art show, and you can even book the park for your Big Day.

McCallum Street & West Ellet Street
Philadelphia, PA 19119

19. Konrad Square Park

Tulip Street & East Dauphin Street, Philadelphia, PA 19125

This Fishtown gem provides plenty of lawn space for general hanging-out, and has Saturday flea markets, Thursday night barbecues, and the occasional movie night. Head on over to their Facebook page (below) to find out more about what's going on at the park.

Tulip Street & East Dauphin Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

20. Old Swede's Church

916 South Swanson Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

If it's good enough for "Spruce Street Harbor Park Mastermind" David Fierabend, it's good enough for us. His pick for the best-kept secret garden in Philly is Old Swede's Church in Southwark. The historic church is an architectural treasure with beautifully-kept, shaded grounds that provide a respite from the summer heat, and also holds events such as yoga, flea markets, and bring-your-own-wine jazz Fourth Thursdays.

916 South Swanson Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

21. Bartram's Garden

5400 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19143

It's more than just a garden—Bartram's is the oldest surviving botanical garden in the U.S. What initially began as owner John Bartram's landscaped garden is now a quiet respite on the west side of the Schuylkill River. Next summer the garden will be connected to the east side of the Schuylkill River banks via the Bartram's Mile trail.

5400 Lindbergh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19143

22. Cira Green

Chestnut St & S 30th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The recently opened Cira Green offers gorgeous skyline views of Philly. It sits on top of a parking garage in University City, and is open to the public from 7 AM to 8 PM during the winter.

Chestnut St & S 30th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104