The Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund

We Flower the Avenue

Welcome to the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund

The Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the beautification of Chestnut Hill, a Philadelphia community famous for its colorful flower plantings and small parks along Germantown Avenue and beyond, all lovingly maintained by the Fund’s volunteers and staff.

Campaign For New Lamppost Flower Baskets

Starting this summer, the City of Philadelphia will erect new lampposts along Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. Help us fulfill the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund’s core mission of beautifying the Avenue by supporting the purchase of new flower baskets to hang from these new lampposts, each of which will be lovingly tended by generations of future volunteers.

Your donation can support a flower basket for one lamppost for $300 or half a flower basket for $150. Donate online today using the button below or send a check payable to the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund to us at 8514 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118.

Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund volunteers plant flowers in hanging basket on Germantown Avenue

Our Mission

Founded in 1999 by the late Dottie Sheffield — a longtime neighborhood resident beloved for her horticultural expertise, design sense, and fierce devotion to her community — the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund works to beautify the Chestnut Hill shopping district and Germantown Avenue, one of Philadelphia’s great main streets.

Our volunteers and professional staff live by our organization’s motto: We flower the Avenue. We plant and maintain flowers and other plants in about 200 baskets, boxes, barrels, and urns; in pocket parks (including Cliff Park, Memorial Park, and Peace Park); in parking lots; and at welcome signs on and around the Avenue.

The outcome of our hard work, our understanding of plants, and our love for our neighborhood? Gorgeous public outdoor spaces where neighbors, families, visitors, and shoppers can connect.

Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund volunteers plant flowers around welcome sign in Cliff Park

Our projects

No matter where you drive, walk, or cycle on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, from the peak of the Hill to its bottom at Cresheim Valley Drive, you can see beauty created by the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund.

Hanging baskets, barrels, and window boxes

Every year starting in the spring, Germantown Avenue and parts of Bethlehem Pike and Evergreen Avenue in Chestnut Hill explode with the riotous colors of flowering annuals planted in 32 storefront boxes and urns, 90 sidewalk barrels, and as many as 72 hanging baskets perched atop lampposts.

Managed by the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund, the flowers in these boxes, barrels, and baskets have become a signature of the Hill, and the annual spring planting — executed with the help of more than 50 volunteers over a period of weeks — has become one of the Fund’s flagship events.

Parks and Green Spaces

The Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund also maintains several of the lush pocket parks that adjoin Germantown Avenue like gems on a necklace. These intimate spaces offer residents and visitors green oases for meditation, conversation, enjoying a meal, or reading.

Parklets with plantings tended by the Fund (with help from our partners Burke Brothers, Pennsylvania Turf Company, Tom Ryan & Co., and others) include Cliff Park, Memorial Park, and Peace Park — all located near the bottom of Chestnut Hill — as well as the areas around the welcome signs that greet drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists as they enter and exit the Hill.

Parks and green spaces we maintain
Cliff Park
A tranquil island of green at the base of a rocky outcrop and wall that give the park its name, Cliff Park is part of a cluster of parks that serve as the Hill's southern gateway. In 2021, the Fund and its partners celebrated new landscaping, plantings, lighting, and signage here.
Memorial Park
Tiny Memorial Park is a triangular patch of green dominated by a large stone cross that honors residents of Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy who died in World War I in France in 1918. It's a lovely spot to wait for a northbound bus headed toward the top of the Hill.
Peace Park
Peace Park, located at Germantown and East Mermaid Lane, was renamed in 2019 in collaboration with the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism and the Chestnut Hill Rotary to honor the memory of Johanna Sigmund, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Welcome signs
The Fund maintains the spectacular flower plantings under and around the new welcome signs unveiled by the Chestnut Hill Business District in 2021 at the northern gateway to the Hill on Bethlehem Pike and the southern entrance on Germantown Avenue.

Meet our people

Bringing the beauty of flowers to Germantown Avenue and beyond in Chestnut Hill is a group effort. Meet the team behind the blossoms.

The Team

Since its founding, the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund has been led by volunteer board members and a small professional staff defined by energy, vision, design sense, an understanding of the natural world, a passion for flowers and gardening, and, most of all, a love for the neighborhood they call home, Chestnut Hill.

Get to know the current leadership team below — and if you share our commitment to beautifying the Hill, please consider joining us (see GET INVOLVED, bottom).

Meet our Board members
President of the Board of Directors
Garden club representative of the Wissahickon Garden Club
Board of Directors member and chair of the Spring Planting Committee
Garden club representative of the Garden Club of Philadelphia
Garden club representative of the Wissahickon Garden Club
Board of Directors member
Gail Detweiler
Board of Directors member
Barbara Anne Davey
Board of Directors member
Suzanne Duffy
Advisory Board member
Board of Directors member and garden club representative of the Weeders
Molly Hagan
Board of Directors member
Board of Directors member
Garden club representative of the Chestnut Hill Garden Club
Board of Directors member
Board of Directors member and co-chair of the Pocket Parks Committee
Advisory Board member
Alexander Nalle
Board of Directors member
Board of Directors member
Advisory Board member
Board of Directors member
Board of Directors member and co-chair of the Pocket Parks Committee
Board of Directors member
Carole B. Sheffield
Advisory Board member
Garden club representative of the Random Garden Club
Meet our Staff
Kate O'Neill
Interim executive director, Chestnut Hill Business District
A member of the Chestnut Hill Business District’s leadership team for 25 years, O’Neill engages in research and planning activities in order to maintain and improve the Chestnut Hill shopping district, including the planning and execution of the Hill’s many beloved annual festivals. She is the Fund's primary administrative assistant. A former elementary school teacher in Springfield Township, O’Neill also serves on committees at the Wistar Institute.
Judd Friedman
Streetscape gardener
To many visitors, Friedman is the face of the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund, and no one is as invested in the design and care of the Fund’s plantings. As the Fund’s gardening manager, he is often seen on Germantown Avenue in his green and yellow John Deere utility vehicle, lovingly tending flowers in boxes, baskets, barrels, and pocket parks. His greatest satisfaction is “seeing the smiles on the faces of residents and visitors as they take in the beauty of nature.”
Andrea Horos
Treasurer, Chestnut Hill Business District
Horos came to the Chestnut Hill Business District after 25 years in accounting, financing, and operational support roles with Fortune 500 corporations. An experienced project manager who serves as the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund’s treasurer, Horos is a longtime resident of Chestnut Hill, where she also sits on the boards of Our Mother of Consolation Parish School and Cub Scout Pack 1855.
Jonathan Dargan
Corridor maintenance, Chestnut Hill Business District
A fixture on Germantown Avenue and behind the scenes, Dargan has been a valued member of the Chestnut Hill Business District and the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund teams for a decade. One of the many tasks he handles for the Business District and the Fund is serving as an assistant gardener to Judd Friedman.

The latest

Keep up with the latest news, announcements, and events related to the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund and other subjects of interest, from life on the Hill to gardening.

September 8, 2022

Celebrating our donors and volunteers

Thanks to the hard work of dozens of Chestnut Hill Garden District Club volunteers and the support of our generous donors in 2021-2022, the Hill is more verdant and beautiful than ever. To honor their efforts, the Fund will be holding a special invitation-only celebration at Cliff Park on September 8 (details to come). We’ll toast our donors and volunteers, and we’ll officially kick off an exciting new campaign for the fall and beyond.

Interested in joining the fun on September 8 by volunteering or supporting other improvements on the Avenue in the future? Please contact Kate O’Neill at koneill@chestnuthillpa.com.

Get Involved

Do you share our vision of Germantown Avenue and its adjacent parks perpetually in bloom? Do you enjoy gardening, horticulture, and landscape architecture? The Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund needs you.

Please donate today to support our mission of flowering the Avenue and consider joining our team by volunteering to serve as one of the many expert helping hands needed for our annual spring planting.

To donate, use the button below; to volunteer, contact Kate O’Neill at koneill@chestnuthillpa.com.