Bartram's Garden, the oldest botanic garden in North America, is reopening Friday after completing renovations to its historic home and adding a new garden.
The historic Bartram house, the 18th-century home of famed Philly naturalist John Bartram, now boasts a brand new cedar roof and a geothermal heating system, among other interior touches, said Bartram's Garden Director of Marketing Pete Prown.
"It's going to keep the house in great shape for decades to come," Prown said. "All the houses now have museum-quality heating and cooling. The new cedar roof looks beautiful."
The popular spot for naturalists, dog-walkers, joggers and the curious sits nestled in Southwest Philly against the Schuylkill River off of 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard. Visitors can kayak for free from Bartram's Garden, part of the organization's mission of connecting the populace to the Schuylkill River.
"We're one of the few places that will definitely get you out on the water," Prown said.
Prown predicted they'll see even more visitors as work continues on Bartram's Mile, a trail along the Schuylkill River, which will connect from the north end of the Garden down to 56th Street.
"It's a 45-acre oasis in Southwest Philly," Prown said. "Once Bartam's mile is complete, I think a lot of people in Center City and the rest of Philly will discover this 300-year-old farm."
This summer will also see the opening of the Ann Bartram Carr Garden, named after John Bartram's granddaughter who took over the nursery and kept it going in the early 19th century. She brought Asian plants from new trade routes to the nursery, so the garden named in her honor will be populated with Asian plants, Prown said.
Work on the Bartram's Mile trail is forecast to take another year to complete.
Funding for the renovations and work on the land came from the city's Parks and Recreation Department, the William Penn Foundation, and the PA Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.