Local lens on the last gleams of summer at Germantown’s historic Wyck House.
I grew up in gardens and surrounded by greenery. My mother was a herbal healer, and from her I was given my love of nature.
That need to be near and learn about local flora and fauna is what led me to visiting many places around the world and settling finally in the place I now call home, right here in Germantown.
Reaching for the nourishment and calmness of the earth throughout my life I have found places like the green hills of Scotland, the Rockies in Colorado, the ancient Appalachian wisdom of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, and hidden caves and rare birdsong in the Wissahickon. Visiting all of these places and many more have enriched me and supported my growth as a human being in the anthropocene attempting to live in harmony with the earth.
Recently, much closer to home, I stumbled upon the hyperlocal treasure that is The Wyck House and Gardens. The colonial era house, which was occupied from 1690 to 1973, is a remarkable example of early American Quaker living.
Outside of the home there are many original outbuildings from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. Upon entering the threshold of the warm and welcoming home, I spoke with the Wyck House caretaker who gave me a very informative and fascinating tour that included the home and the many artifacts that were saved from the nine generations of inhabitants.
I found the bizarre old medical specimens and ornate house dressings the most beautiful. The caretaker was quick to address the Lenape history of the land – she made sure to point out the significance of those who took care of the land prior to the Wyck House being built and the Wyck family becoming stewards of the land.
When she saw me peeking through the large windows of the home into the garden, she told me that the rose garden – which houses 4 species of otherwise thought to be extinct roses – is also the oldest rose garden in America. One of my favorite parts of the garden is watching all of the insects, such as the moths, bees, and ants.
In 2007 Wyck House was able to restore the fruit and vegetable garden, making way for the community farm club in which neighbors can visit Wyck’s historic Home Farm Tuesdays & Fridays through November for short lessons, hands-on experience, and a share of fresh produce when you volunteer!
What I have written only touches the surface of the rich legacy of this national historic landmark and treasure. To learn more, I urge you to visit The Wyck House website for more info and visit in person for a free tour Thursday-Saturday 12-4PM (arrive by 3:30 at the latest).
All photos by Charity Sage, see more @c.sagevisuals on Instagram.