How do Rydal Park residents grow their gardens?

July 20, 2014


With Carolyn Ramsey and Nancy Seitz

When the calendar turns to spring, many Rydal Park residents’ minds begin to wander outdoors and to thoughts of putting their green thumbs into action. For two of our residents – Carolyn Ramsey and Nancy Seitz – gardening has been a lifelong pursuit and they can’t wait to get their hands dirty again.

NANCY: As a kid many years ago, I said to my mother ‘Where can I have a garden?’ and she said, ‘Nowhere, there’s no place for a garden.’ But I found on the side of our house in Elkins Park a small rocky place that I cleared out and I brought in some dirt and yup, I made a little garden there.

CAROLYN: As a child, we lived in a rowhouse in Philadelphia and we had a postage-stamp-sized garden that my father tended to. He planted tomatoes and other vegetables and I planted snapdragons. In fact, my mother and father met each other at a horticultural society group so, in a way, gardening was responsible for growing my family.

Years later, both women are still fine-tuning their horticultural skills in the gardening beds at Rydal Park and are eager for the warm weather so they can begin planting their favorite flowers.

CAROLYN: I just love the whole process. Watching things go from a seed to a seedling to a sprout and then a flower. I enjoy the preparation of the soil and then reaping the rewards of all your work when you see the beautiful flowers later.

NANCY: I love impatiens. I just love the colors and they’re so pretty, but still easy to care for. In the winter I have green plants in my apartment, but I can’t wait to get out in the spring and plant things that are going to be colorful. I also like marigolds and petunias, but impatiens are definitely my favorite.

For both ladies, gardening gives them a sense of peace unlike anything else. They view gardening as a labor of love that they have cultivated for many, many years…and will continue to cultivate for years to come. And, both gave us a tip for all gardeners to keep in mind.

CAROLYN: Look for worms. If you turn the soil and you don’t find any worms then you don’t have healthy soil. If you find worms, then you know it’s good soil for planting.

NANCY: First you have to have nice, clean, rockfree soil and add nutrients. Also, don’t plant anything until after Mother’s Day. After that, we generally don’t have any more cold snaps.”

From humble beginnings in small garden plots as children to being avid gardeners at Rydal Park as adults, Nancy and Carolyn have cultivated a lifelong hobby that brings them both peace of mind and adds color to their world.