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.

Flower power, fueled by you

Our dedicated volunteers can’t accomplish our mission of bringing the beauty of flowers to Chestnut Hill’s sidewalks, storefronts, lampposts, and pocket parks without your support.

By now, many of you have received our cards in the mail asking you to do what you can to help keep our beloved neighborhood blooming. If you’ve already donated, we thank you. If you’ve yet to do so, please support our efforts today by using the button below or sending a check payable to the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund to us at 10 E. Springfield 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 nearly 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 (see video, below).

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.

Video by Georgia Forjohn, Chestnut Hill Business District

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, more than 90 sidewalk barrels, and about 70 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 (see video, above).

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
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 and treasurer
Board of Directors member and co-chair of the Pocket Parks Committee
Board of Directors member
Advisory Board 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
Director of operations, 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.
Elizabeth "Lizzy" Williamson
Bookkeeper
Williamson brings her experience in finance and administration to the Chestnut Hill Business District after graduating from Cabrini University and working as an office manager and accountant for an information technology firm in Blue Bell. A member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, she lives just outside of Chestnut Hill with her fiancé and Lulu the tabby/calico.
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.
Jim Ball
Assistant streetscape foreman
Pre-dawn risers on Chestnut Hill often see Ball at work as early as 4 a.m., when he can be found watering, weeding, and fertilizing the flowers on Germantown Avenue. A Temple University graduate with an affinity for plants, Ball serves as Streetscape Foreman Mike Adams’ deputy.

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.

October 2023

Remembering the late Paul W. Meyer

It is with great sadness that the Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund acknowledges the passing of Paul W. Meyer, scientist, humanitarian, brilliant gardener, and a member of the Board of Directors since the organization’s founding. Paul never missed a meeting, and his role grew exponentially after his retirement as F. Otto Haas Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. As co-chair of our Pocket Parks Committee with Susan Peck, he co-led efforts to transform Cliff Park, Peace Park, Memorial Park, and the green spaces around the signs welcoming visitors to the Hill. No one helped Philadelphians enjoy plants more than Paul, whose latest contribution was the publication of a revised edition of Philadelphia Trees: A Field Guide to the City and the Surrounding Delaware Valley. We were lucky to have him as our friend and neighbor.

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.