Bloom Where You Are Planted

Our monthly Bloom Where You Are Planted articles offer seasonal inspiration and guidance from experts about trees and plants, animals and bugs, City water quality, stormwater management, and the beautiful green space that sustains the Wissahickon watershed.

April Tree of the Month

by Paul W. Meyer, Conservancy Board Member and
Morris Arboretum’s Retired F. Otto Haas Executive Director

Trees are essential to Chestnut Hill’s sense of place. Not only do they beautify our community, but they also clean and cool the air and fix co2 while producing life-giving oxygen. Trees are critical in protecting our watershed, ensuring a steady and clean water supply.  

Residents of Chestnut Hill are fortunate to have inherited a bounty of large canopy trees and smaller flowering trees. But we can’t take this wonderful legacy for granted. We must not only care for our aging trees but also plan and plant for the future urban forest of Chestnut Hill.

Pawpaw – Asimina triloba

Pawpaw flower in May at the Morris Arboretum, 03/2023. Paul Meyer.

Pawpaw is a small tree with a large, delicious fruit native to the southeastern United States. Though its native range includes southern Pennsylvania, it is seldom cultivated in local gardens and is best known through folklore. Some may know the popular folk ballet, ” Where is Pretty Little Susie? Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.”

It naturally spreads by root sprouts, and in the wild, it can be found in clonal groves growing along streams in rich alluvial soil. Typically, it matures at 35 feet, though larger trees have been noted. It is a northern outlier of the largely tropical Custard-apple Family.


Pawpaw illustration by Pierre-Joseph Redouté from The Trees of North America by Francois-André Michaux, 03/2023.

The large, oblong fruits are green, turning yellowish as it ripens. When fully mature, the large central seeds are enclosed by soft, custardy flesh and leathery skin. The fruit must be fully ripe to be tasty; even then, there can be great variation in flavor from one tree to another. Fruits can be enjoyed raw or used to make ice cream, jams, or pastries. Fruits are seldom seen in markets because once they ripen, they bruise easily and degrade quickly.

In-home landscapes, the Pawpaw is a handsome tree, usually upright and pyramidal. It is relatively disease and insect resistant, though its leaves support the larval stage of the desirable zebra swallowtail. The flowers are interesting, but they are not showy in the landscape. Autumn color is an attractive, clear, butter yellow.

A growing number of specialists are working with Pawpaw, and small specialty nurseries selling small plants can be found online. Currently, demand seems to be exceeding supply, so order early if you want to grow a pawpaw patch of your own! A different clone must cross-pollinate flowers, so order several different clones to ensure a good fruit set.


A mature Pawpaw patch growing at the Morris Arboretum along the stream opposite and below the log cabin, 03/2023. Paul Meyer.

Watersheds and Easements Walking Tour

Join us on Saturday, May 6, from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM for a guided walking tour with Rob Fleming. Click HERE to purchase your ticket.


Join the Chestnut Hill Conservancy on a walking tour of Norwood Avenue. The tour will explore the impact of conservation easements on the Wissahickon watershed. With a unique collection of permanently eased properties nearby, Norwood Avenue offers an opportunity to discover how owners and the Conservancy are working to address stormwater runoff while preserving open space proactively.


Rob Fleming, Landscape Architect, and historian will lead the tour. The tour will start at 33 East Chestnut Hill Avenue, at the intersection of Norwood Avenue and Chestnut Hill Avenue. Please wear clothing and shoes appropriate for walking on uneven, hilly terrain.
Refreshments and snacks will be provided at the end of the tour. Headsets will be used, and disposable earpieces will be provided. You are welcome to bring your own headphones.

Learn more from our website and click HERE to purchase tickets and reserve your space for our expected sold-out walking tour on Saturday, May 6.

Home + Garden Festival

Chestnut Hill’s Spring Home + Garden Festival returns on Sunday, May 7, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Visit us during the Festival to ask questions and cast your vote for the 2023 Chestnut Hill Architectural Hall of Fame. The Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Architectural Hall of Fame is a distinguished list of Chestnut Hill’s most treasured significant buildings, structures, and landscapes chosen by the public.
Voting for the 2023 Chestnut Hill Architectural Hall of Fame is divided into three categories: Residential, Institutional, Commercial and Public. Voting ends on Monday, May 15, and the winners are announced at our Gala on Saturday, June 3.

During the Festival, we will have our Historic District Inventory of houses built in the corridor through the 1980s. Stay tuned for our May Newsletter for more information about the Festival, including our booth location.

Healthy Trees in a Healthy Landscape

Get your free tree! Complete this form by May 1st

Chestnut Hill Tree Tenders, under the guidance of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, has planted and maintained hundreds of free trees in Chestnut Hill. If you want a free tree planted, please complete the linked form HERE.


Every effort is made to see the tree planted correctly in an appropriately sized tree pit with ample room to grow and mature. A trained Arborist checks the placement of every tree to ensure that the tree will not block sight lines, utilities, or driveways. Trees are also chosen to fit the overhead urban environment. The deadline to apply is Monday, May 1.

Send your application by May 1st to Chestnut Hill Tree Tenders Co-chairs Christopher Sohnly or Leslie Cerf.

Support Our Work

Join or renew your membership so you can access all your exclusive benefits, or make a gift anytime throughout the year to support our ongoing work in the community.







2023 Bloom Where You’re Planted Presenting Sponsors
Interesting in sponsoring the Conservancy in 2023? Learn more about our opportunities or contact Danielle Marino, Development Manager, to discuss your options!
Sponsor the Conservancy
Great architecture is in our nature.

215-247-9329 | 8708 Germantown Avenue, Phila., PA 19118 | info@chconservancy.org 

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