Readers keep sending me photos of Lloyd Farm and I am grateful. A little dose of vertigo has kept me grounded.
Lloyd Farm. What can I say that hasn’t been said already? This is insanity that this farm house is coming down. Much like La Ronda in Bryn Mawr around 2009, it is a place that doesn’t have to come down, it’s a choice isn’t it?
La Ronda was in Lower Merion Township, which like Caln is a First Class Township. A big distinction is however, that Lower Merion agreed with residents that La Ronda should have been saved. Can we just say plainly that it seems like Caln doesn’t give a crap?
Other things about this site I wonder about is have they checked for graves? I have also heard people say that given the 200 + years of people living on the property there may be burial grounds and is this true?
I think it’s the wrong choice to tear down Lloyd Farm’s farmhouse. I am a defender of private property rights but this is NOT just about private property and somebody exercising their rights. This is about development superseding history.
And I’m sure that Caln’s commissioners and lovely solicitor really would prefer none of us were talking about Lloyd Farm, but how can we not? The Lloyd family gave and did much where they called home didn’t they?
How can we not wonder what it will take to slow the pace of development in Chester County?
Our county is being destroyed. Not all developments are bad but when is the last time we saw one that was thoughtful? They mostly seem like they are all about just cramming as many structures on the property as humanly possible and developers wherever moving onto their next projects.
And this property which as I’ve written before is part of a Penn land grant, has an 18th-century farmhouse that’s historically important with an equally important 1910 addition completed and designed by a noted Philadelphia architect also with ties to Chester County. The history is undeniable.
Lloyd Farm via the familial history is linked to yet another local treasure, Glen Isle.
I am told this developer whom I do not know and was never really aware of before is a local guy. I don’t understand why as a local guy he can’t see what a good thing it would be to save the farmhouse and a little bit of the land around it? I will go back to my point that even Toll Brothers saves the occasional farmhouse in their developments.
Now let’s talk about Caln Township for a hot minute. Time for the residents to change the faces of who govern them every election until they are gone. I don’t know who those commissioners in Caln are working for but it’s certainly not the residents is it? And what about the appointed officials there? Who are they working for? Maybe it’s time to change them up as well, huh? But you have to flip the board of commissioners in order to be able to do that don’t you?
Anyway these are photos that have been sent to me over the past couple of days which are in this post.
I urge residents to keep cool heads. You have every right to be angry about what is happening in Caln. Keep the faith, Caln residents.
I keep saying it but will say it again: our history should not always belong to the wrecking ball and bulldozer.
This is scary stuff and multiple fire companies have responded. My photos are from my readers. (Who are also reporting so many fire trucks that first responders are walking up the driveway.)
Below is from Chester County Working Fires. I think it is beyond 3 alarms. Thank God this building is unoccupied and please say prayers for all the first responders involved.
This last photo from another of my readers shows the long line of first responders. It makes you wonder about new construction doesn’t it?
Again, thank God this wasn’t occupied yet. Especially because it is for senior citizens I am told.
I will close with noting I have no idea what caused this fire. Some are speculating high winds, but I don’t know what the origin of the fire is. I will update the post if any of that is made known. I will update the post as additional media reports on it.
Many thanks to my readers for the photos and for Chester County Working Fires for covering it.
I do not know if the fire has been contained as I post this.
Sometimes photos just have to stand alone without much commentary. I have taken these photos because I am shocked at the continued deterioration of the historic farmhouse and outbuildings at Exton Main Street in West Whiteland Township.
I had always heard part of the deal for this mall was preservation of these structures and not demolition by neglect? Is it just me or is this actually demolition by neglect? WTF West Whiteland Township? Are you all so salivating over there in the township building at the prospect of more apartments or some other form of Tyvec-wrapped boxes that you can’t see what should smack you in the face since the township building is right there???
I don’t know what it is about early Sunday mornings. It is always when I have gotten some of my best nature shots. I don’t know if it is because the world is a little more still, or just dumb luck.
That squirrel loves to sit on top of Buddha. Yet until this morning he never sat there long enough to get the shot.
Sunday mornings early have always been among my most favorite times to be in the garden. Today is wet and damp, so I am looking and taking photos from my windows.
Some of my bulbs are starting to emerge. But I do not know where all my snowdrops are just yet. I have planted so many over the past few years, yet have thus far disovered none.
One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can. ~William Wordsworth, “The Tables Turned,” 1798
Watching my birds, gazing over the garden in her winter structure is a very peaceful thing. It’s a great way to envision what you want to do when the weather warms up and I just love watching the birds and critters.
I was rewarded with actually being able to photograph one of the hawks.
Stay dry today! Thanks for stopping by.
You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness – perhaps ignorance, credulity – helps your enjoyment of these things… ~Walt Whitman, Specimen Days, “Birds – And a Caution”
Many thanks to Abandoned Steve Explorations for the use of his gorgeous photo of Lloyd Farm in Caln Township.
Abandoned Steve Explorations took the glorious photo I am opening this post with. I am positively obsessed with the cool structures he covers. He was nice enough to lend us the use of this photo it’s part of an upcoming project. You can find him on Facebook , his website, and YouTube.
Lloyd Farm is haunting me. Part of a Penn Land Grant, dating its origins to the 1600s.
Then there is the 18th Century farmhouse with an equally historic 1901 addition.
What am I talking about? 1757 was when the farmhouse was originally built and 1910 when the Lloyd family commissioned Gilbert McIlvaine the Philadelphia architect to build a “modern” addition that paid homage and melded with the original farmhouse. Mr. McIlvaine maintained a home in Downingtown for many years and was also active in the Boy Scouts founding several troops I am told in Chester County.
Back to Lloyd Farm…except the people who have called it home or who had something to do with it are important to the very fabric of Lloyd Farm’s history.
From this form we learned quite a few things including that Lloyd Farm around or before the Civil War was a freaking stop on the Underground Railroad!
It’s just crazy and you have to ask what in the heck is going on in Caln Township? How long have these commissioners known the history of Lloyd Farm and why didn’t that historic designation proceed? Why wasn’t it pursued for a national historical status?
Did I mention the demolition permit? There is one. And what is with the date mismatch in that letter thing?
I don’t live in Caln. I do know amusingly enough like Lower Merion Township , it’s a First Class Township. But who runs the Township? Because it surely doesn’t seem like the elected commissioners does it? I know in Lower Merion Township years ago because I was part of it when the residents rose up after having had enough over the threat of eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore that we flipped half of the board of commissioners in one election.
And Caln residents are upset about this.
I want to know why the developer wants to tear down the house don’t you? Is this going to be like the death of Addison Mizner’s La Ronda in Bryn Mawr, PA? A case where a magnificent home was torn down for salvage just because someone could?
Caln resident submitted photo.
Look at the historic comparables in Chester County that are actually getting saved and restored: West Whiteland Inn, Exton. Benjamin Jacobs House, Exton. Fox Chase Inn and Barn, Exton. Linden Hall, Malvern (even if I don’t like some of what is being done it’s being saved, finally.) Loch Aerie, Malvern. The Jenny Lind House, Yellow Springs Village.
Also to be considered? Several Toll Brothers projects including in Chester County where similar vintage farmhouses and/or barns have been or are being saved. Now it is no secret how I feel about Toll Brothers developments, but if even they can preserve historic structures on properties they are developing why couldn’t the developer for Lloyd Farm do that? Or why couldn’t they contemplate something like selling off the farmhouse with a small plot of land around it to someone who might want to preserve it and live in it or something like that?
Caln resident submitted photo.
I don’t have the answers and every day I have more and more questions. This is one of those situations I just don’t get it. I just don’t get what is going on here. I don’t understand why this property isn’t more valued for the centuries of history involved here?
Our history should not always belong to the wrecking ball.
One of my neighbors was laughing at me yesterday. He drove down the street saw me outside with my hands on my hips staring at my giant pile of frozen woodchips. (Yes I know, like I was mentally willing them to thaw and lay themselves down.)
I was also staring with a scowl on my face because when you are piling woodchips, you can aim when they are being dumped, but they also just slide. This year they swallowed up my Kerria Japonica. Sadly, while a super tough shrub, I do not know if it will survive. I think I have to source another.
I have also been going over the Go Native Tree price list again. I am a believer in reforesting the woods and I want to plant hickories and American Chestnut too. I found out they won’t have American Chestnuts ready until at least the fall of 2019. But I am going to go ahead and buy 2 Shagbark Hickory seedlings and 2 Black Haw Viburnum.
RareFind Nursery will help with with my quest for Kerria Japonica. And I am also getting a Camellia japonica ‘Hokkaido Red’, Rhododendron ‘Mountain Marriage’ , (Witch hazel) Hamamelis ‘Beholden’ and (Witch hazel) Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Rochester’. All of these I think are for the back. Edge of woods or thereabouts. Jenny Rose Carey got me interested again in witch hazel and Catherine Renzi of Yellow Springs Farm is the first person who introduced me to them years ago. And Catherine will laugh at me, but I had forgotten I had planted some other witch hazels until I rediscovered them this summer on the edge of the woods. (Yes that happens when you have a plant habit!)
One of my witch hazels starting to bloom. It is an orange one. I believe I purchased this one from RareFind Nursery.
Now the Audrey Hepburn quote. She was a gardener. Years ago I had these VHS tapes called Gardens of the World With Audrey Hepburn. They got lost in a move. I wish I could find online or in a new DVD set. Only used sets are out there and they are outrageous in price for a used DVD set that may or may not work.
Anyway, I continue to wander around outside check on things. It’s what gardeners do in the winter. I also stop and listen to my birds. Some days they are very chatty. I noticed recently a mockingbird and today I saw the little bluebirds. And above, hawks circled calling to one and other. The cycle of life in the woods.
Out front I am mentally rearranging some plants. Like the shorter version of Joe Pye weed. Eupatorium dubium does not keep itself to 2-3 feet tall and in a front bed it is taking up too much real estate. So come spring I will dig it up, move it, and plant a new bare root David Austin rose.
Some of my roses have struggled because the damp wet summer bought borers. I lost one in the fall. I have two bare root David Austins coming – Benjamin Britten and England’s Rose.
How else do I get through the winter as a gardener? Reading. I subscribe to Gardeners World and Fine Gardening. I also have a gardening book problem. Like cookbooks, I love them. A lot of what I love is kind of out of print.
I have written many times of my appreciation of the late Suzy Bales, whom I wrote about a few times and most recently in 2016. There were a couple of her books I wanted but did not have. One of which was titled Gifts from Your Garden published in 1992, and before I get to that, there is a lovely archive of other articles she wrote on the Huffington Post website.
So Gifts from Your Garden arrived the other day. In her acknowledgements for this particular book she thanks Ken Druse. I never knew that connection and he is an author, gardener, podcast master whom I like and follow. As a matter of fact, his book The New Shade Gardenis also on my winter reading list. She introduced this book in the following manner:
“For a time, I was a closet gardener. Friends would call to invite me to play tennis, swim, or come for lunch. In the beginning, I tried to tell the truth. ” I’d love to, but I have some things I planned to do in my garden.” They felt gardening was a chore, and it was all but impossible to make them understand that I really loved gardening.”
I totally, completely, 100% understand that sentiment. I know many people out there who think I am completely bonkers.
Now my husband thinks I am bonkers when it comes to my little bits of garden art. Or my concrete zoo as he likes to call it. Oh the face when I purchased Chubby Checker from Brandywine View Antiques. Ok first of all, the squirrel was quite reasonably priced, and second of all WE HAVE LOTS OF SQUIRRELS some of which are quite rotund so this made me giggle.
Chubby Checker the chubby squirrel purchased from Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford, PA
So yes, that is what I do. I wander around the garden mentally placing new plants where I think they will go and rearranging in my head where existing plants should be moved to. And I will twitch about it until spring arrives and my shovels can hit the dirt once again. And I find garden accents…well let’s be honest, I do that all year round but I am picky. I do not add just anything.
I am also mentally planning out my pots and I am thinking of switching more to of the resin variety which are not as unattractive as they used to be if you buy the ones that are supposed to look like stone. I am getting tired of hauling pots in and out every year.
I also have to start my seeds. I start them in a highly scientific manner. No not really, just on my dining room table. Tomatoes and hatch chilies. That’s it. I am not a truck farmer and don’t have much veggie room so they grow in pots and grow bags and move around following the light. Well I have to, we are half in the woods, after all.
Gardening I think is one of the best things you can do for yourself. That connection to the earth, and the creative process of creating your garden. As in YOU create it, not a landscaping service. Put the time and work into a garden, and it will reward you every day of the year.
I look at my garden and wonder if in the future if someone will appreciate my handiwork. Will they love my garden as I do now? Will they care about what I planted? Will they keep up with what I have done? I hope so. My garden gives me so much joy.
The last word is my pussywillows are starting to bloom already.
So….Mike McGrath is one of my gardening idols. He’s kind of like Pennsylvania’s Monty Don, right? I have listened to his show off and on for years…long before I knew there was a Monty Don, truthfully (Sorry Monty!)
So I saw that post I screenshot above and thought what the heck and sent the show an email expressing interest in calling in. And O.M.G. Mike McGrath e-mailed me himself!! (Yes, the inner and outer gardener start to geek out simultaneously.)
So today I spent time chatting with Mike McGrath (inner gardener and outer gardener are completely geeking out now all hope is lost!) Yes ME. Ordinary rabid gardener ME.
He is SO cool. He is every bit as welcoming and nice as he sounds on the air when you listen. Having had a rather different experience this week when I was on a local talk radio show after being asked to call in, this was a welcome change. It was like he was sitting at my kitchen table having coffee.
Now I did not get to get his advice on Bishops Weed and ask whether or not there are actually true red cyclamen or if growers just feed pink ones dye. I did not get to tell him about my favorite seaweed feed Irish Organic Fertilizer…. Which is a bummer.
I admit I kind of did a wee short circuit like a teenage fan girl of David Cassidy or something. Dork city in other words. BUT nevertheless apparently I am on the show they will air on February 23.
If you have never checked out his show – you should – here are the times:
Saturdays at 10am
Mondays at 3pm
Wednesdays at 5pm
Suzy Bales who passed away in 2016 – two books in particular Down to Earth Gardener: Let Mother Nature Guide You to Success in Your Garden, The Garden in Winter. My unexpected pen pal for a short time when I wrote to say thank you for her garden writing. Her books can be found with used book dealers on Amazon and other places.
Black Creek is my spot for herb plants, vegetable plants, old fashioned perennials and annuals that no one else has and much more. They also sell supplies and tools fairly reasonably. They are the only place I will buy a pre-made hanging basket from. The best times of year to go? Spring until full-on summer hits and then the fall. The greenhouses are PACKED with plants.
Yellow Springs Farm is owned by Catherine and Al Renzi. Native plants organically grown and I have planted with them through three gardens. Catherine helped me do my first sort of riparian buffer. And they raise goats for award winning goat cheese.
Go Native is so cool. The owner literally forages in woods all over including places like West Virginia for seed and seedlings. I have bought Chestnut and Burr Oaks from them and they have a micro species called an “Amish Walnut” which when cut has a tiger grain – it is a natural cross between a walnut and I forget what but you only find them in Lancaster County.
Rhododendrons Direct in Oregonhttp://oregonrhododendron.com/ Yes you can visit if you go across the country. The guy who owns it is named Jim. He had all my crazy red rhododendrons I wanted. His shipping is impeccable and plants are flawless.
Camelia Forest Nurseryhttps://camforest.com/ Ok in NC and you can visit I have only done mail order. There was a winter hardy Camelia created by Morris Arboretum years ago I wanted they grow Sochi tea plants.
Applied Climatology at the West Chester Growers Marketappliedclimatologyllc@gmail.com -they are on Facebook and in season you find them Saturdays at West Chester Growers Market https://www.facebook.com/AppliedClimatologyLLC Chris Sann is a walking encyclopedia of plant interesting – he is like my gardening father. And I have gotten some amazing plants from him. He gets me to go out of my comfort zone and try new things like green Japanese peonies.
Morningstar Daylilies in Woodstown NJhttp://www.morningstardaylilies.com/ Mary Burgents. Open Farm days and mail order. And she manages Delaware Valley Daylily Society. LOVE her daylilies
Crownsville Nursery and Bridgewater Gardens for hostas and some woodland perennials https://www.crownsvillenursery.com/ in person and mail order in Virginia – I only use mail order – awesome plants
New Hampshire Hostas https://www.nhhostas.com/ in person and mail order – only have used mail order – also great plants. Unusual cultivars and old favorites.
Pickering Valley Feedon Gordon Drive in Exton. They have a Facebook Page. Plants, Supplies, and more….love them
West Chester Agway. Matlack Street in West Chester. They are so awesome and great plants, garden ornaments, supplies, garden carts and more. They also have a Facebook Page.
Uhler’s Feed & Seed Lancaster Ave Malvern. Plants. Supplies. Bird seed. Love them. They have a Facebook Page.