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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Walkabout Wednesdays: Secret Gardens and Roof Top Decks

Behind 18th and Spruce Street on Manning - a fire escape becomes
an escape from a small apartment in the city
I was walking into work the other day and I took a slightly different direction.  I'll do this - walk somewhere I always go but letting my instincts direct me down side streets or other routes.  More often that not my instincts lead me to great finds. Money, street art, interesting houses, what have you.  On this morning, I cut down a side alley street off of 18th and Locust, next to the Curtis School of Music. As I came up another in-between street and parking lot.  I happen to look up and I saw two or three balconies, decks and upper level roof top retreats. I snapped a few photos, tucking the photo ideas into my brain-files. It didn't take me but a moment to realize that already had the makings of a series of photos of "secret gardens" or city retreats.  Little pockets of surprise and serenity behind the busy main streets of Philadelphia.
High up and feeling superior!
 Some places are pretty, well-maintained and lush within the small confines of the space available.  Other spots are whatever peace and pretty the home dweller can cobble out.  Pretty, practical, useful or just  a spot to "veg" and grill, all of these Rittenhouse Square locales are not your typical tony garden.   When we lived in Philadelphia, two of my three South Philly homes had outdoor spaces.  We made the most of the spaces.  You'd be amazed at what you could do with a 5 by 10 spot! We felt like we hit the big time when our 2nd house had a 16 x 16 patio! Of course, now that I live in bucolic New Jersey, my perception of yards, gardens, and lawns has changed dramatically.  I still appreciate a small tucked away yard though.

Add color, prayer flags, and ivy and your cement and brick patio feels like a tiny oasis.

 This yard/garden was down a long narrow alley way. I love how the dwellers here added a large statue and nice lounge chairs.  Small doesn't mean it can't be used.  I've seen breeze ways and trash areas utilized to maximum pleasure!
 This house clearly has owners with some money and good taste.  Fancy sports car, grape vines and well maintained back area.  There are twinkle lights and some other amenities. Pull the car out, add in a few tables and chairs and I could make this a happening alfresco dining spot!
Not so much a garden, but I was intrigued by the climbing trumpet vines and the barn-like doors.  Even this little entry way or garage could be a fun party spot if you put a cafe table and two small chairs out here.
And then there's this over-grown spot.  I pass by here often and NEVER realized that the over-grown weeds are over-taking a car AND a pick up truck!  Hidden and reclaimed by nature.  It's really too bad this has happened. On either side of this lot/driveway/potential garden of delights are two very nicely appointed back yards.  The pick up and the car don't look to be in bad shape either.  Knowing how fast weeds grow, my guess is this is only a summer's season's worth of growth.  The ghetto palm tree may be a few years old.

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