At last weekend's Germantown Garden Festival at Vernon Park, community members swapped plants, attended gardening workshops and toured the park's rain garden.

Plants for the event were donated by members of the community, while additional funding was provided by the Friends of Vernon Park nonprofit group.

Molly Finch, a representative of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, was there to discuss the importance of green alternatives to waste management, among other topics.

"The [rain] garden collects and filters stormwater that flows from gutters and keeps it from washing over the streets, and picking up dirt and waste on its way to our watershed," said Finch.

Looking toward the future

As the rain garden has faced troubles including clogged gutters and repair of a nearby copper roof, Friends of Vernon Park President Ruth Seeley issued a call for help at the June 1 event.

"This project needs everyone in order to be successful," she said. "It needs the Parks and Recreation Department. It needs volunteers. It needs the city."

Vivian Rowe, a lifelong neighborhood resident who co-chaired the festival, said she saw a bright future for Vernon Park.

Along with planting more greenery, Rowe envisioned a more usable place "where people can feel safe and be outside."

Gabrielle S. Clark, Sarah E. Maceachern and Ryan A. Shellenberger are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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