The Wyck Rose Garden

The Wyck Rose Garden dates to 1824 and is widely recognized as the oldest rose garden in original plan in America, with 70 cultivars of old roses currently. Included in the garden are the original rose plants from the 19th century design, as well as plants from the earlier, 18th century kitchen garden. Several old roses in cultivation today had been thought lost until they were discovered growing at Wyck, and all specimens of these varieties in commercial trade descend from Wyck plants. Beginning with Rosa spinosissima in early May and ending with Rosa moschata in late October, Wyck’s heritage roses are remarkable for their beauty as well as for their fragrance, which fills the garden. Wyck is a rare wonder for garden lovers and an important repository of plants that have disappeared from other historic gardens. Visit the Wyck Rose Garden at the Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm during Rose Week or Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 1st- December 15th and Fridays during Market Season (June- November).

There is no better subject then a rose who only blesses the world with its beauty once a year.


Moralers’ Chilly Night Chili

This is a recipe post, I promise.
For the past three years, I have been part of an amazing group of people who have experienced tragedy and heartache and found the strength, courage, wisdom and honesty to not only survive it, but to the make it their mission “to raise awareness of the Four Diamonds Fund in every community that [we] run while bridging the gap between the patients on Marathon Avenue and the students at PSU THON.”

It’s impossible to explain what The Hope Express really is. Technically, it’s the dream of the Angus Family that has evolved into a year-long effort to raise funds and awareness for the Four Diamonds Fund with the finale being a 135-mile Hope Team and 140-mile Extreme Team relay run from the 7th floor of the Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA to the THON stage at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA, carrying letters and art from the children at Hershey who were too sick to attend THON.

But how do you really explain the essence of a spirit greater than words?

The Hope Express is unique to each person whose life it touches. Individually we hold it in our hearts, as we are spread throughout the United States living our lives, fighting through the difficult days and rejoicing in the good ones. And somewhere in the busy everyday, we prepare for our yearly journey- raising money, networking, raising awareness, caring for the kids, planning, etc. And when that one day each year finally arrives, we all come together (the founding family, drivers, runners, moralers, Four Diamonds’ children and families, doctors, and many others) to embark on our 135-mile/140-mile journey over the next 24 hours, For The Kids.  

But let’s go back one week to the weekend my team, the moralers, gather to put the finishing touches on the many facets that make up The Hope Express. The is the weekend that the moralers, those that are responsible for keeping everyone spirits up, receive our final boost of strength, courage, wisdom and honesty needed to carry their runners and drivers through the night and onward to State College.

Together we glue, paint, glitter, construct, organize, decorate and create. We are inspired by stories from Four Diamonds families and their children, who have survived cancer and together with siblings and friends, help us to help kids who still have a lot more fighting to do.

One tradition of the weekend is for everyone to bring a special dish or snack. It may be regional, seasonal, homemade, or a little something picked up en route. As we gather, share, eat and talk, we learn each other’s personal stories of Hope and prepare our souls for the next week’s momentous run.

Moments like this, on any occasion, are often shared over a good meal.  I think that is what makes taking recipes and making them your own so special. These recipes are made with care and nourish the body and the soul alike. They are then put in a little box for safe keeping to one day be passed down, both directions and memories.

This is the recipe for Moralers’ Chilly Night Chili, which the special dish that I bring every year to Moralers’ Weekend. It is simple, classic and can be manipulated in a variety of ways so that you can create your own signature chili. Enjoy.

 Moralers’ Chilly Night Chili
  •  24 oz Fresh or Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 16 oz Gravy (Tomato Sauce) 
  • 1 pack Extra Firm Tofu or 1 pound Choice Ground Meat
  • 3 Fresh or Frozen Bell Peppers
  • 1 large Chopped Onions
  • 1 cup Frozen or Fresh Corn  
  • 1 Chili Packet Mix or a Mix of Choice Spices
    • Suggestion: 3 tbl Chili Powder, 1 tsp Cumin, 1 tsp Black Pepper, Salt, 1 tbl Tabasco sauce
  • Garlic
  • Choose two (or three or four) canned beans totaling 16 oz
    • Kidney Beans
    • Black Beans
    • Pinto Beans
    • Garbanzo Beans
Optional: Craft beer is always an option in my recipes.

Optional: Because the heat index is a personal preference, the above will be very mild. For more heat, add chillies, additional chili powder and spices, or a variety of hot peppers.
The measurements above are guesses and suggestions. My cooking and recipe writing is very old fashion. I don't measure what I add, I just add what I like and list the ingredients. If you have any suggestions or additions for ingredients or measurements (or anything) please comment. I would love try them.  

  1. Brown and chop the meat or tofu
  2. Put everything together on a crock pot (can be made stove top if with meat)
  3. The amount of each ingredient of entirely up to you. More of what you like best, less or none of others. I usual put a 16 oz can of diced tomatoes and try to evenly distribute everything else to about a cup each.
  4. Add spices and stir thoroughly
  5. Cook in a crock pot on medium for 4-5 hours or until the taste and texture is as you like it. I suggest eating it next day to give all of the flavors to come together.
Garnish: Shredded cheese, sour cream and/or green onions
Leftovers: Try using left overs on hot dogs, or in a taco or quesadilla.

 There is only one week until Moralers' Weekend, so photographs to accompany this recipe are coming soon!

Think Summer!

It's that time of the year, again!  The weather is cold outside, but it's time to think summer. Just close your eyes and picture it- sunshine, shady trees, song birds, blooming flowers, ripening gardens, lightning bugs, green grass between your toes... can you see it?
Now imagine all those summers days through your child's eyes and they becomes simply magical.
Your child can experience this summer magic in a unique summer oasis in the city. In Historic Germantown, as busy city life hurries all around it, there is a certain white-washed fence that stands unassuming in the middle of it all. But behind this fence is a historic homestead that has stood for 323 years. This homestead is the setting for a summer of fun in the sunshine, under the shady trees, and amongst the blooming flowers and ripening garden. Your child can have it all at the Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm summer camps.
Summer is my favorite season for all the above reasons and summer camp is my favorite time to teach. There is a certain feeling of freedom that the kids experience when they are at camp. Us teachers feel it too.  No school, no homework, just play. But little do they know they are learning and growing- socially, emotionally, physically and academically- while they are creating, planting, cooking, laughing, exploring, etc. Teachers call it learning through play, the kids just call it play but we all will remember it as fun. And as the years go by and the kids grow up, they will look back and see it as magical.   
Below is more information about the summer camps at the Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm in Philadelphia. But no matter where live, there is a camp near you that will provide your child with that magical feeling of a summer in the natural world, even in the middle of a city.

Please comment below with the city and information for your favorite camp and why you love it. Thank you!   
For more information, pricing or to register click here or contact Christina Moresi, Youth Education Coordinator, at 215.848.1690 or

Wyck welcomes donations of any amount to support our camp scholarships. Email Christina at for more information.
For fun, visit and follow Wyck's education and summer camp pin boards.
For a glimpse into Wyck's summer camps, like Wyck on Facebook and view 2012 camp photos.

 For more Art. Nature. Service. like 3 Black Cats / A Godmother's Love on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest.