I have been writing about Wildflower Farm in Willistown for a while now. Why? The unending the nonsense they are put through by the NOFIMBY (No Farm In My Back Yard) folk.
I am not and never have been the Wildflower Farm spokesperson, but they are my friends and what they are going through is just awful. And unnecessary.
Recently I have been taking a lot of flak from those I presume to be the friends of the NOFIMBY neighbors. One person in particular kind of just takes one’s breath away. You would think she was the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey, but no she’s just from the Main-gy Line originally. She’s very big on assigning people their place. To her I am one of “those people”.
Not sure what “those people” entails. Fabulous, maybe? (LOL 🤣🤣) This person is significantly older, so I never encountered her (thankfully) before now. Her affect is rather amusing. Maybe I should genuflect and kiss the ring?
Anyway Ryan from Wildflower Farm decided to speak to Willistown neighbors via a local group. I have his permission to share with my readers. I am also sharing a couple of comments from the Democrat who ran for Supervisor in Willistown and failed. As a now former candidate for public office she made herself a public personage by doing this. Some say she will run again, hope not, but if she does I hope she gets a basic grasp on the issues and the basic way government works, other than her interpretation of what is somewhat supercilious / self serving.
Next in screenshots is what Ryan had to say to his extended neighbors. And in part this vindicates his friends and supporters as we are basically called nasty names etc for sticking up for them. Willistown has issues, and it’s too bad a lot of the Grande Dames are gone because they used to settle peoples’ arses down quite nicely.
So there you have it. Hopefully you find the information helpful.
Lily the flower truck was the happy spot to be over in Willistown Township today. And no, there was no neighborhood disruption, no people partying in the street, lines on the road, and parking on neighbors’ lawns. But people were stopping and. buying flowers before a holiday weekend. From Wildflower Farm. It was nice, and not frantic or unpleasant like those more shall we say NOFIMBY would have you think.
How do I know? Simple. They are my friends and I pitched in and helped make the arrangements a lot of you purchased today. And before someone thinks something nefarious, I volunteered to help. I had stopped by to drop off fresh vegetables from my weekly vegetable box that no one in my house will eat, and to take some flower photos. I have taken flower photos there before. I love flowers and gardening.
Wildflower Farm has a big hoop house. Right now with the sea of daffodils growing outside, there is this hoop house full of Ranunculus of many colors that were just so spectacular. It was flower heaven today. But with two little kids home on Good Friday and flowers to cut and arrange for people, I pitched in this afternoon.
This is an actual working farm. I had plenty of time to observe on a beautiful spring day. Their property is a little slice of heaven.
The neighbors would have you believe this property is something that it’s not. Sending out a double sided glossy mailer no better than some nasty political season piece is not inexpensive, but it’s a little obvious and in my opinion is not having their desired effect.
Several people who stopped by Lily’s honor flower “bar” remarked that the reason they showed up was the nasty misleading junk mail they received. They showed up to buy flowers and bear witness to the fact that (wait for it) Wildflower Farm REALLY IS A FLOWER FARM!
The noisiest thing on Castlebar Lane today were the landscaping trucks who literally took up more than half the width of a fairly wide street – they were down at the bottom of the street on the right before Providence Road. I also did notice a man driving a nice red pickup truck driving back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm who didn’t stop to buy flowers. Some woman went by on foot all dressed in black, and a neighbor on one side of the farm parked his vehicle at the top of his driveway for a bit. Guess he was getting his mail.
But other than that, nothing remarkable. It was a lovely day. As I assembled little flower arrangements I pondered why again this is such a threat to these NOFIMBY neighbors? Why can’t they see how nice this is?
I loved working with all of those fresh cut from the field and hoop house flowers. Many of the daffodils had a wonderful and sometimes heady fragrance.
I also saw first hand how hard the Heenans are working. Are they our traditional ideal of what farmers are supposed to be or perhaps even look like? But what are farmers supposed to look like anyway? Is there a farmer stereotype handbook somewhere?
Anyway, for those who doubt? It is a flower farm. For real. Also for real? Those neighbors are NOFIMBY.
I make no secret about how I feel about the nasty NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown.
NOFIMBY = No Farm(s) In My Back Yard.
These people treat their neighbors horribly. They have waged a campaign of terror against the Heenans. The Heenans crime? They came to Willistown with a dream: to create a beautiful small farm and grow flowers.
I have written about this several times now. Truthfully, I am somewhat astounded at how hate for their neighbors drives these NOFIMBY neighbors. How their hate for farms in a township that grew on farms seemingly drives them. I mean what is the public supposed to interpret from their actions? Apparently they would prefer a townhouse development or some other form of plastic mushroom development instead of a FLOWER farm?
Of course I am also astounded that I still don’t see Willistown Conservation Trust coming to the defense of Wildflower Farm, aren’t you? But given how many great swaths of land are in play in Willistown in general these days, I wonder what they are doing? How can they stand idly by and not truly take a stand for small farms at least?
But I digress.
Wildflower Farm needs our help. Please write to Willistown’s Township Manager Sally Slook at email@example.com
Please tell Willistown to amend the zoning so farms and agricultural uses of land are protected. It also can’t hurt to tell the township that you specifically support Wildflower Farm and the Heenan family specifically.
I will also point out that Willistown Township has been very supportive of Wildflower Farm. This crap is NOFIMBY neighbor driven IMHO.
This is a post I have been struggling with. I am a big supporter of Natural Lands. But I am not sure what to think here.
Summerhill Preserve is acreage in Willistown. It was put in preservation. But was the intent of the gift of this land and the preservation of it to make it a public access site, or just a preserved swath of land?
I used to see stuff fly by the past few years mostly about birds and Summerhill. Here are some screenshots and note that these screenshots don’t seem to go anywhere now when you click on the link:
Ok well stuff gets updated and moved around on websites and links get broken. No biggie. But when you go to Natural Lands website and put in Summerhill all you get now is a handful of very old articles mentioning but not centered on Summerhill. I never thought much of it, because I never thought Summerhill was like a place you could just visit, although I am sure I would love it like I love so many of Natural Lands properties. But Summerhill? Not on their list of places to visit. I just checked again today.
Again, no big deal. I have always thought, whether it is right or wrong, even if land is in conservation/preservation, it is not necessarily just open to the public. And Natural Lands kind of always said that about Summerhill. Note this screenshot from a few years ago I found for an event listing about Summerhill :
So then someone randomly asked me what was going on with Summerhill. I replied truthfully, wouldn’t know, had forgotten about it. Why had I forgotten? Because I never knew you could visit it and it had been ages since I even saw something mentioning it.
Well there is a wee problem and Natural Lands is in court with the Summerhill neighbors. And Willistown too I guess? But this is not the same as the strange case of Wildflower Farm and those neighbors. No comparison. Among other things so much of this land abuts private property. It’s not a working farm, it’s land — open space.
If you ever ask anybody who lives adjacent to a trail or conserved land or even a park they will tell you there is good and bad and living La Vida COVID in some cases has made it awkward at times. Sometimes stupid human tricks prevail – leaving trash, trespassing on private property and taking stuff, even urinating and worse from our much loved trails onto private property. It happens. Sadly, it happens. I have heard about it on the Chester Valley Trail and the Radnor Trail even in years past on the trail at Haverford College. People have told me similar stories like this near Willisbrook in Willistown. Stupid human tricks and a lack of respecting boundaries and private property, and of course it makes you wonder if they even respect the actual nature preserve or trail?
This is not the fault of the people responsible for the trails or nature preserves, in my humble opinion. It is probably impossible to babysit all of these properties all of the time and how many operate is somewhat on an honor system of dawn to dusk without real actual bodies on site to close and open properties?
So it begs the question of ironing things out so people know what will happen with what they donate land maybe? And ironing out what the public can and can’t do also perhaps? Is it not OK for preserved/conserved land to just be well passive, pristine, and preserved? As in maybe it’s left alone or maybe it’s an occasional very special space not open dusk ’til dawn to the public? And what if that is what a donor or grantor said in the first place? What if that is what conservation easements said? So maybe you can’t just pave paradise after all and put up a parking lot or you can but not necessarily everywhere?
I remember when the Summerhill place was for sale, conserved land was a selling point (and it was in the Willistown Conservation Trust Barns and BBQ as well):
So yes, neighbors moved in here knowing about the land preservation/conservation. But I think the question from reading an Orphan’s Court thing is original intent vs. I guess Natural Lands wanting to open this up and build a parking lot, etc? But I am having a hard time envisioning how they would even do this because of all of the properties that touch what Natural Lands has if that makes sense?
After reading this Orphan’s Court thing, it makes a person wonder if the neighbors here are wrong? Because if the original intent was just preserved land and that can be proven, are they wrong?
I love Natural Lands. I know some will think me horrible for raising this issue. But isn’t it important? After all you want people to donate land but land in conservation and save it from development, right? That is why I feel this case bears watching. It also looks like there is other stuff other than what is in Orphan’s Court brewing.
I am sharing the Orphan’s Court thing. Not trying to slam Willistown Township or Natural Lands. But this makes for interesting reading and pondering. And these strike me as VERY different neighbors than the OTHER Wildflower Farm thing and a different situation altogether, correct? To me this will be a case that no matter what happens will possibly lay things out a little more clearly for others in the future and will you agree when all is said in done? I am all for the race to preserve open space to quote another organization, but it should be less foggy, and simple right? Or wrong?
Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT) used to be an organization I thought was awesome… but to be honest that was many years ago when some I knew worked there and were involved there. As time has passed I have wondered like many of these nonprofits, if they are more about being like a club and social than their actual mission? And are they a little insular and perhaps not as welcoming as they should be to what their membership perceives as outsiders? (Radnor Conservancy also comes to mind with this train of thought because what do they actually do and what have they done in years?)
I was wondering about them (WCT) when we all found out what Wildflower Farm was going through because of their “neighbors”. I put “neighbors” in quotes because these people don’t act like neighbors and I’m allowed that opinion. I found it strange that Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT) hadn’t spoken up in favor of this farm. And if they did speak up in favor of Wildflower Farm by all means someone tell me and I will stand corrected but I can’t find it anywhere can you?
And then I found out that the family that owns the farm is supportive of Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT) so now that a settlement agreement has been inked between Willistown Township and Wildflower Farm will they actually support a farm, family, and business that kinda sorta live the philosophies espoused by WCT?
And then there is the whole Rock Hill Farm of it all, isn’t there? Considering who’s on the board of WCT, is it just me who finds it odd that after all these years none of the land on that farm made it into conservation before someone died?
I don’t really have a horse in the race of Rock Hill Farm, but considering the sheer amount of acreage and history, it would be nice if at least a good part of it was conserved, right ? How many fields of McMansions do we need in one county? And if it’s not McMansions it’s fake carriage homes and town houses where everyone is squeezed in like lemmings. And then the third option of course are unattractive institutional looking apartment buildings.
Now tonight there is a meeting about Rock Hill Farm. The Daily Local has an article about it:
📌📌WILLISTOWN — Professionals in the legal, land planning and engineering professions are assisting neighbors and community members working to save Rock Hill Farm, one of the township’s most scenic, environmentally threatened and historic estates, from unwanted and potentially destructive development.
Plans have been proposed to develop large sections of the property, located in the Great Valley School District. More than 100 people attended each of two township planning commission meetings at which these plans were presented.
Doubts have been raised, suggesting that these plans do not comply with the Township Zoning Code. Large sections of the Rural Zoning District of Willistown are conserved farms and nothing like the proposed plans exists in that agricultural and natural area of the township.
The Rock Hill Farm property has long been a Willistown Township ecological gem worthy of protection. The property, located at 2320 South Valley Road and 185 Grubb Road, includes more than 200 acres of old-growth forests, wetlands, rolling hills and streams. Crum Creek, one of the purest waterways in the region, runs through the property.
Those interested in assisting in community efforts to influence the future of Rock Hill Farm are invited to attend a public meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, at 7 p.m. at Waynesborough Country Club, 440 Darby Paoli Road, Paoli.
The speakers will include a team of professionals, including attorney George Asimos, land planner Tom Comitta and engineer Chuck Dobson….Rock Hill, since 1985, has been preserved by the family of Tristram C. Colket Jr., a grandson of John T. Dorrance Sr., founder of the Campbell Soup fortune…Rock Hill has been an operating farm, growing plants in the greenhouses, bee keeping, raising chickens and harvesting an apple orchard.
The property came up for sale after his death in 2020.📌📌
So I just wonder about stuff sometimes. I also wonder who else wonders?
If you are interested in Rock Hill Farm I suggest you make time for this meeting this evening. I believe it to be ONLY in person I have not heard anything about virtual streaming.
I never stopped at this holiday market before today. I always meant to, but today it was pure impulse and OH. MY. CHRISTMAS. Why haven’t I done this the past few years???
The Burkholder Holiday Market is freaking AMAZING! It opened today and runs through December 23rd!! It’s apparently a whole holiday season of festiveness!! There will be not only this amazing holiday market but events through the season and you can also buy your Christmas tree from them! Seriously they are ALL about holiday family fun and their website has the entire schedule!
Now let’s talk about their Christmas shop. I loved it! So much to choose from that is beautiful and tasteful. And it smelled like Christmas in the shop. And the owners were so very nice.
My friend and I had so much fun! We found some really fun holiday decor and super cute ornaments and got some gifts for people. I think one reason why I liked it so much is because what I really love is a vintage Christmas feel, and a lot of what they had although modern, had that vintage emotion to the products they carry.
Burkholder Holiday Market – 359 Paoli Pike, Malvern, PA (Paoli Pike and Sugartown Road, enter on Paoli Pike.)
The Holiday Market runs November 12 – December 23 Tuesday – Thursday: 10am to 5pm
🎈UPDATE 🎈 the neighbors on Castlebar against Wildflower Farm in Willistown apparently had their zoning appeal tossed by zoning last evening. I am told the phrase used was “lack of jurisdiction” to hear their appeal.
Wildflower Farm will be back in front of zoning in a few weeks.
I will also note that not all neighbors on and adjacent to that street are against the farm. I think that is an important distinction not always noted. Also important to note is that not all of the “neighbors“ who have been involved with these zoning challenges of Wildflower Farm actually physically live on Castlebar Lane. That is a matter of public record, isn’t it?
And I am stating for the record that I am not the spokesperson of the Heenan family or their attorneys which is the latest rumor being spread. I am a friend of the Heenans, have a brain in my head, a legal right to express how I feel about this issue, and am an occasional customer of their farm. I am also a gardener, so I appreciate their efforts to rejuvenate their farm which frankly needed cleaning up, and their interest in flowers and trees and native plants and bee-keeping.
This Wildflower Farm property is zoned agricultural, BUT truthfully they could have IGNORED all that and built a giant McMansion when they purchased it. But instead they opted to restore the house and the barn and bring a viable adaptive reuse to existing farmland.
The Heenans should have been welcomed into their neighborhood, yet they have been treated most poorly by some. For the record I happen to live on a cul-de-sac, and if this farm was on my street I would be unbelievably happy.
I think Willistown folk and other related people interested in this topic that it is really great that you are interested in supporting Wildflower Farm through this process and please continue.
🌸🐝Flowers bring happiness. We know, it’s why we garden.🌸🐝
I am using some of my photos of the farm taken last week, and I am also sharing a photo of the Radnor Hunt which does go through their property sometimes. Not all property owners allow the hunt to pass through any longer.
The man above wishes to be famous, so I am obliging.
I received this comment overnight to this blog. I perceive it to be threatening in nature.
One funny thing is I had to look up what NPC was (Non Player Character), and it still means nothing to me because I do not live by video game jargon.
I know people on school boards and elected officials and even reporters are no stranger to nasty comments and emails like this these days, but it seems like since 2020 and prior to that because of the election, people have no boundaries and feel behavior like this is acceptable.
It is not. I am not a public figure or elected official, I am essentially a housewife who blogs sometimes.
This person is obviously male and very angry. If by his IP address you know who he is, someone should have a chat with him. This behavior is not acceptable towards anyone.
Obviously his email is fake.
He says he lives in Willistown so his comment in situ went to the Great Valley School District superintendent and school board, Willistown and East Whiteland supervisors and police departments.
What he said for those who will complain about having to read a screenshot is as follows:
I am a Willistown homeowner and father of current students. Several distinct but loosely related points that constitute fair warning to the renegade officials we unwisely trusted with our institutions:
* The “mask dictatorship” is reprehensible, driven by propaganda of fear and “othering” that is shockingly effective. I know this because I am a student of propaganda otherwise known as marketing.”The school board is typically dictatorial, fragile, and evidently low IQ “electing” to punt their responsibilities to some mid-level nurse in West Chester that runs the health department. Pussy is an understatement for people so frightened of the literal bogeyman as to extra-legally and casually inflict this on their neighbors.
(don’t even get me going on the Willistown sewer smash-and-grab scheme.)
* And this latter point is the most enraging: “covid” is a weaponization to deprive citizens of information from and directions to their supposedly elected representatives, notably LOCAL officials re GVSB. The GVSD is behaving like the small-minded dictators one might expect in a Latin American banana republic from the 19th C. than elected officials in the United States.
* The irresponsible government situation is intolerable. After a year of pompous official indifference to the nationwide burning, looting, mayhem and murder of BLM/Antifa, the FUD fueled “covid” sanctimony is enraging on a visceral level. When the sleepy, gentlemanly yeomen of Willistown rise in righteous anger, you should understand the boiling point has been reached.
* LEsson Learned: as a political experiment, “democracy” has proven a complete and total failure thanks to corruption and easy public manipulability if not outright idiocy. You liberal-leftist dreamers are about to see your life-long aspiration achieved but you are not going to like how it turns out with a mafia version of old school feudalism that will replace this joke of government. That is to say, the law of the jungle is kill or be killed or sometime put as Only the strong survive. A motley coalition of rabbit people stands no chance.
IDGAF if you agree with my points, if you hate them, or if they inspire you to roll your eyes while spewing some stupid canned insult so typical of NPCs.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. NO MORE.
He’s right. Enough is enough. No one should put up with this brand of verbal abuse. And it is happening everywhere.
I do not have a horse in this race but this is one of these properties that if it all gets chopped up for development it would be horrible. This property is in Willistown Township and Great Valley School District. The Great Valley School District is bursting at the seams already, so all of these developments add up.
So according to what I saw posted in Willistown Community Page it is like 14 houses. Big questions include: if the property is 222 acres per realtor and media descriptions are these homes all going to be on like 15+ acre lots? Or will these McMansions be built on smaller parcels and what happens to the rest?
If you are interested in this meeting the Willistown Planning Commission is TONIGHT June 9 at 7:30 PM. It is a ZOOM meeting and you can register for it here:
Hopefully a good chunk of this land is in conservation, but given what we have see happen with other large parcels including what is still being fought over at Crebilly in Westtown, the devil is in the details. Tune in!
People should be tuning into Willistown now anyway given all sorts of things like….why are there only TWO supervisors now????