Contributed by: Pamela Olshefski, Curatorial Assistant at Morris Arboretum

Spring is coming to a close with its pastel hues and loads of rain. As we shift into the warm summer months, the heat kicks up, the days lengthen and we see less rain. Managing the garden through these months by keeping up on all the weeding and watering can seem a bit overwhelming.

Organizing your tasks by month helps maximize your efforts. While weeding and watering are always a focus of the summer season, this to-do list will help you prioritize your garden chores and keep your garden looking great.   

 

June

  • Weeding, weeding and more weeding. Not only do weeds detract from the beauty of the garden, they rob your plants of valuable nutrients, light and water.
  • Your garden requires an inch of rain per week, so be sure to check your rain gauge (pick one up if you don’t have one) and soak to the root zone when you need to water.
  • Make sure to dead head bulbs and perennials who need a haircut for some fresh growth.
  • Now is the time to plant dahlias and cannas, and to begin staking your annual vines with twine, wire or even a trellis.
  • Now is the time to prune spring flowering shrubs such as lilacs after they have flowered. Pruning out dead or diseased wood from trees is also a good thing to do in June when things have leafed out.
  • Edging your beds and keeping them trimmed adds a finished look to your garden beds.

July

  • When daylilies and Siberian irises have finished blooming this month you can trim them back and divide them. Water them in well and keep them watered to easily put on growth before fall.
  • Observe while weeding. As you make your weekly pass through the garden, make note of what looks good and what is not doing so well. There is still time to rework an existing bed or plan for a new one.
  • Trees both young and old are especially susceptible to drought. Very old and newly planted trees should be kept well-watered. Be sure to soak them to the roots when you water!
  • Japanese beetles can be a real problem. In the morning and evening you can use a spray them with soapy water and also hand pick them off the plants. You will never eliminate them, but you can help to manage them and the damage they do to your plants.

August

  • Weeding and editing the garden is still a common theme through the end of the summer.
  • Deadheading perennials will keep things looking clean and will encourage rebloom in some cases. Spring flowering perennials can also be cut and divided this month.
  • Watering the garden is still very Be sure to water thoroughly and deeply. This is also true also for containers and hanging baskets. Watch for water coming from the bottom of the pot. Then you know you have watered enough.
  • Peonies are best divided in late August since they put out such quick growth in the spring. When you replant them, make sure the ‘eyes’ are buried beneath the soil surface by about an inch, and water them in well.
  • Order your flower bulbs for fall planting now! Early orders ensure better selection.
  • Summer blooming shrubs can be pruned for shape once they are finished flowering. Remove any dead or diseased branches at this time too.

September

  • Weeding through the fall can really give you a jump start on the weeds for next year, and minimize your spring cleanup.
  • Keep in mind which perennials, biennials and annuals you would like collect seed from (such as nicotiana, annual poppies and clary sage), but leave bird-loving seed heads up as long as possible, like coneflower, liatris and grasses. The birds will thank you!
  • A light top dressing of mulch put down now will help suppress weeds next spring.
  • Keep trees and shrubs well-watered through September so that they will enter winter dormancy well-hydrated.
  • Last but not least, complement yourself on how wonderful your garden looked this summer and enjoy the just emerging colors of fall!

Contributed by Robert Gutowski, Director of Education and Visitor Experience, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania  

Figure 1. A sketch from the Morris Family of Philadelphia

“Where did the wealth of John and Lydia Morris come from?” is a frequently asked question about the Morris Arboretum’s founders.  The quick answer is that John T. Morris was regarded as one of the wealthiest Philadelphia Quakers.  He was primarily known as a civic-minded philanthropist and engineer-industrialist who inherited, operated and sold Port Richmond Iron Works, the creation of his father Isaac Paschall Morris (1803-1869). 

A more complete answer traces the accumulation and transfer of wealth back through seven Morris family generations of elite Quaker, Philadelphians to John’s and Lydia’s paternal ancestor, emigrant Friend, Anthony Morris.  He was a wealthy merchant who arrived at the time of William Penn and was a business and political associate with Penn and the early Philadelphia “Quaker Grandees.”   

While the story of the Morris family wealth through the generations involves seafaring merchants, land deals and investment, oceanic trade, grist mills, iron mining and foundries, engine and machinery manufacture, sugar refining and other pursuits, that first Philadelphia Anthony Morris, despite civic offices and other businesses, including lucrative foreign trade, was known as a “brewer,” a respectable and profitable occupation.  Brewing beer and malting was among his earliest capital endeavors and was one of the most successful commercial pursuits available for capitalists in the Colonial and early Republic periods, particularly those with merchant and shipping connections in one of the British Empire’s largest port cities.  

At least part of John and Lydia’s wealth can be traced to the Anthony Morris Brewhouse and the later brewery at Dock and Pear Street. These two of the Morris breweries were operated by Anthony Morris, Anthony Morris, Jr., Anthony Morris III and his surviving brother Thomas Morris.  The businesses operated under various names during periods of partnership changes.  A third brewery between Second and Bread Streets and possibly a fourth Morris brewery at Vine Street were outside the direct line of inheritance and had little impact on the wealth of John and Lydia Morris.   

 Anthony Morris emigrated here with his year-old son in 1682, about the time the first successful barley crop was growing in Pennsylvania.  Barley (Hordeum vulgare) was the agricultural product needed locally to advance the brewing and malting industries and compete successfully with imports of beer, barley.  Malting barley (steeping it in water then spreading it out to germinate before drying and roasting) begins the ale brewing process.  During malting, enzymes convert starches to fermentable sugars.  Other grains, such as wheat, corn or oats, can be malted (“indian corn” was mentioned in 1683) but barley is preferred by many.  Locally sourced hops (Humulus lupulus) became important agriculturally when Parliament banned other bittering agents in beer and imposed a hops tax on brewers in 1710.

At the time of that first harvest there were about 85 houses and 500 inhabitants in Philadelphia for whom beer was consumed as a staple of their diet.  Many Philadelphians at that time drank a common beer, commonly home brewed, based on fermented molasses with the addition of pine or sassafras.  There is much written of beer consumption as a way to avoid water-borne illness, such as cholera, that plagued early urban areas known for the lack of sanitary conditions or knowledge.    

“… beer was the dominant drink of the new American colonies.  Wherever settlements sprang up, beer was loaded ashore.  It was always considered a necessary food source, but it was more.  Beer was the one comfort.  More important, it was the one connection with a distant home, an element of constant routine as the settler adjusted to life in a strange and often frightening land.  …  As settlement, towns, and villages were established, breweries followed, and when colonial economies first blossomed, taverns appeared.  Colonial North America and beer were inseparable. “(Smith) 

In 1683 the first brewery in Philadelphia was approved by William Penn for merchant William Frampton.  There were three Philadelphia breweries by 1685.  Beer brewed by the prominent Friends in Philadelphia was highly esteemed for its purity and strength.  It earned a better reputation and value than the British beer then brewed in the Barbadoes and was considered equal in strength to London’s ales.  It sold in 1696 for fifteen shillings per barrel of half ale and half stout.

Anthony Morris Brewhouse, Front and Water Streets 1687-c.1745

Anthony Morris (1654-1721) appears to have built the fourth Philadelphia brewery (thought by some to be the largest commercial brewery of the time) in 1687 along with a malt house and residence adjacent to his dock at Front and Water Streets, the start of a family business interest that survived in some form for almost 300 years.  All of the early breweries were close to the town center near the waterfront wharves.  The Anthony Morris Brewhouse supplied ships and the colonial taverns and public houses which were social centers for public discourse as well as entertainment and hospitality of a primitive nature.  

Anthony Morris brewed a bitter, English-style ale that was reputed to be nutritious and invigorating. Peter Cooper’s painting of the Philadelphia waterfront, the first ever published, shows the “Ant. Morris Brew Ho” at Water Street by the Dock Creek drawbridge below Walnut Street. 

Figure 2. Painting by Peter Cooper, The South East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia, circa 1720 showing Ant. Morris Brew Ho. on the waterfront of a thriving commercial port. Library Company of Philadelphia. A print copy of this painting hung in the home of John and Lydia Morris.

Anthony’s first son, Anthony Morris, Jr. (1682-1763) apprenticed at the age of fourteen years for seven years with brewer Henry Bradcock, to learn the “art and mysteries of brewing.”  This was a good arrangement in that the indenture stated that the apprenticed Anthony  “shall not [be put] to drive the dray or cart; carrying of casks, grinding at the hand mill or such like slavish work not fit for an apprentice of his degree… .”  The choice of the term “slavish work” may have had a specific meaning in that “negroes” were included in the properties he later inherited.    It was not until 1776 that the Friends decided that any members who continued to hold slaves were to be disowned and not until 1781 that the Society seems to have become entirely clear of holding slaves. 

Anthony Morris, Jr., who like his father served as Philadelphia’s Mayor, inherited the “…bank and water lot in Philadelphia with Brewhouse, Malthouses, brewing utensils, negroes, horses, and cattle (except one cow which he intends for his wife)….” He gave his son Anthony Morris III a half interest in that brewery in 1741 just as he had received it from his father, although negroes are not included as they were in 1721.  This may suggest that Anthony, Jr. supported the early movement for abolition.  The deed reads, in part:

“…In consideration of the natural affection which they [Anthony III’s parents] have and bear for their said son, Anthony Morris, and for divers other good causes [give over to him] a half share of all the Messuage or Tenement and Brewhouse, and Bank lot and Wharf thereunto belonging, situate and Philadelphia… from Front Street to the Street then called King Street… Together also with ye one full moiety or half part of all and singular ye messuages, tenements, brewhouse, Malthouse, granaries, stables, outhouses, ways, water courses, lights, easements ….and also all and singular ye Malt mills, Cauldrons, Copper, pumps and other implements and utensils of Brewing in the use or service of said Brewhouse or Malthouse.”

The brewhouse then operated under the name of Anthony Morris & Co.

It should be noted that Anthony Morris, Jr. was not just a brewer.  By the time of his election as Mayor in 1738, he had “acquired a considerable amount of property, and was one of the leading men of the community” with substantial interests in flour mills, one of the largest financiers of iron furnaces and forges, and an owner of bake houses and wharves, among other holdings.  His land holdings at his death, valued at over 11,000 Pounds, ranked him among the largest landowners.

Figure 3. The Morris Mansion and gardens fronted the brewhouse.

The Anthony Morris Brewhouse also served, by Anthony’s invitation, as a Baptist meeting house and refuge when the Baptists and Presbyterians were in dispute.  

Morris Brewery, Second and Arch Streets, 1741 – c. 1836

Anthony Morris, Jr. in, 1741, started a new brewery and malt house between Second and Bread streets above Arch Street, including underground vaults for beer storage.  He lived in the mansion there on 2nd Street with his son, Anthony (III) and his son Anthony’s son, Anthony (IV), until his death in 1763.   The residence, known as the Morris Mansion House, was said to be in a fair state of preservation as late as 1898 when there was still affixed to the house Benjamin Franklin’s first lightening rod.

His grandson Anthony Morris IV (1738-1777) purchased the brewery and mansion from the rest of the heirs as stipulated in the Will of Anthony, Jr., but died at the Battle of Princeton.  Thomas Morris (1774-1841), half-brother of deceased Major Anthony Morris, and also born at 2nd and Arch, in time came to operate this brewery. 

About 1810 Thomas Morris took on Francis Perot as an apprentice. This would lead to a merger of families and business when Francis married Thomas’s daughter Elizabeth Marshall Morris.  This arrangement would carry the family malting into the 1960s as the “Oldest Business House in America” under the name Francis Perot’s Sons Malting Company.  Francis was joined in his brewery on Vine Street by his brother William Perot.  Together they installed some of the earliest stationary steam engines in America, automating the brewery to the amazement of observers in this country and abroad.   While it is not yet known where the Perot’s sourced their machinery, steam engines and pumps were products that the Morris manufacturers were famous for.  There was a portrait of Thomas Morris painted by Thomas Sully in 1825, in the possession of his great-grandson T. Morris Perot.

The sons of Thomas Morris operated the brewery at Bread Street until selling it about 1836 to associates James Abbot and Robert Newlin, who continued to brew there.  James Abbot and Robert Newlin were earlier involved in the Anthony Morris Brewhouse.

Dock and Pear Streets Brewery, 1745 – 1810

Anthony Morris III (1705 or 6 -1780), after inheriting and operating the family brewing business for some years, closed the original Anthony Morris Brew House on the waterfront and purchased a lot at Dock and Pear Streets, building a brewery there in 1745, using water from several springs under the lot.  This access to quality water was a guarded secret.  The brewery long prospered under various family managers and owners.  

Figure 4. Morris Brewery at Dock and Pear Streets, drawing from a photograph in Moon's "Morris Family of Philadelphia"

Anthony III was a signer of the Non-importation Agreement of 1765 whereby the merchants and traders of the city resolved to “not import any goods from Great Britain until the Stamp Act was repealed.”  The Brewers of Philadelphia sustained the resolution and turned back a cargo of Malt in 1769 that had to return to Yarmouth, England.

Anthony III’s brewer-grandson, Luke Wistar Morris (1768-1830), marched with other barley shock wielding Philadelphia brewers in the 1787 parade celebrating the Declaration of Independence and Pennsylvania’s ratification of the Constitution.  Luke’s banner read “Home brewed is best.”  It is suggested that the nearby City Tavern probably served Morris-brewed beer to the delegates as they dined, drank and debated the Constitution.  George Washington was reported to favor a good porter.

 

In January, 1790 the Pennsylvania Gazette announced:  “The New Brewery, at the corner of Dock and Pear Streets, is now completed. And the different qualities of Malt liquor in readiness, to deliver to those who please to encourage it.  Luke W. Morris & Co., Philadelphia, Jan. 20, 1790.” 

Luke Wistar Morris expanded the brewery at Dock and Pear Street, then known as the Luke W. Morris & Co., and operated it with his brother – grandfather of John and Lydia Morris - Isaac Wistar Morris (1770-1831) until retiring in 1810 and ending five generations of Morris brewers.  They shipped hogsheads of mixed old and new porter to other port cities, including Baltimore.  They also introduced a method of step infusion mashing that improved the extraction of sugar from malt. In 1805 Isaac Wistar Morris introduced a mashing machine in his brewery that was effective but broke down often and was too costly to operate. The brewery changed ownerships, beginning with William Abbott and Caleb Steward in 1810, and closed in 1842.  


It was observed in 1898, that the Dock and Pear Street Brewery, then out of the Morris Family hands, had been repurposed as a mahogany saw-mill.  “It now seems likely to give way to the march of improvements.  The old brewery building is one of the old land-marks of Philadelphia, ranking in antiquity with the State House, and a few other structures still standing.”  Society Hill’s Ritz Movie theatre now stands in place of the brewery.

 

References

Baltzwell, E. Digby. Philadelphia Gentleman, The making of a National Upper Class. The Free Press, 1958.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Collection 2000B: Morris Family Papers.

Leach, Frank W. Morris Family, The Historical Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1932.

Moon, Robert C. The Morris Family of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1898.

Smith, Gregg.  Beer in America: The Early Years, 1587-1840. Boulder, CO, Siris Press, 1998.

Tolles, Frederick B. Meeting House and Counting House: The Quaker Merchants in Colonial Philadelphia, 1682-1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1948.

Wagner, Richard.  Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty.  Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2012. 

Wagner, Richard. “The Beers and Breweries of Colonial Philadelphia,” Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, December 2005/January 2006.

 

Contributed by Peggy Harris 

In the cool basement of a farmhouse outside Philadelphia, Owen Taylor is carefully counting seeds, some tinier than a spider’s eye. He drops them by the teaspoonful into paper packets. It is seed-selling season, and Taylor is busy filling orders from farmers and gardeners. Spring is near.

Taylor’s new company – Truelove Seeds – offers uncommon varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers, with names like Potawatomi Pole Lima Beans, Banana Legs Tomato and Feathery Plume Celosia. The rare seeds - some 80 organically grown varieties - are emblems of Taylor’s gardening ethic. 

Lunga di Napoli Winter Squash, Photo by Uwa Michael Williams

“This isn’t just a personal hobby for me,” he says during a lunchbreak for a meal of Sea Island Red Peas from a community garden in Philadelphia and peppers from his Mill Hollow Farm. “Food is kind of the great connector as a way to talk about bigger social issues and offer opportunities to people who need them.”

By opportunities, he means the chance to reduce reliance on commercially grown crops, feed one’s family, build community connection and strengthen cultural ties. Besides their unique character and fanciful names, Truelove seeds are rare for their stories and can bring growers literally in touch with their heritage.

The humongous Lunga di Napoli winter squash “can feed your whole village,” Taylor says on his website. They were grown in the Italian villages where his great-grandparents were born. The Fish Pepper plant, used by black caterers in Baltimore in the late 1800s, makes an excellent hot sauce. Bloody Butcher corn, popular in Virginia and North Carolina generations ago, is good for several satisfying (and colorful) servings of grits.

“I fell in love with Owen because he is not only a keeper of the seed. He is a keeper of the story,” says city farmer Nykisha Madison of Urban Tree Connection, which produces as much as 10,000 pounds of food a year.

Paul Robeson Tomato, Photo by Lan Dinh

Last summer, Urban Tree grew a tomato variety from Russia, named in honor of the renowned black actor Paul Robeson, who loved and was loved by Moscovites for their shared egalitarian ideals. The undertaking, not far from where Robeson spent his final years, was a way to teach children and others about “the excellence within our own community,” Madison says. Seeds saved from that crop are sold by Truelove.

The company also sells bitter melon seed from Resilient Roots Community Farm, a New Jersey community garden in Camden, tended by Vietnamese War-era refugees and younger generations. Gardener Lan Dinh says they’ve been seed keeping for years, but Truelove is a way to possibly bring in some funds to support their half-acre operation. Bitter melon, known among Asians for its health benefits, is an important cultural crop that can’t be found in local grocery stores, she says.

Smooth Bitter Melon, Photo by Lan Dinh

Taylor’s spent more than two decades immersed in the practical and cultural aspects of food and farming since he started his own vegetable garden when he was 14. He worked on farms in Virginia and his home state of Connecticut, studied urban agriculture in San Francisco and worked for years with neighborhoods in New York City that at one point included building 20 chicken coops. After meeting Pennsylvania food-historian William Woys Weaver, he became manager of Weaver’s Roughwood Seed Collection.

“Managing his collection of around some 4,000 varieties of heirloom seeds was a four-year crash course in seed keeping,” Taylor says. “I fell in love with not just the particular heirloom seeds that we worked with, but the whole art and science of keeping seeds.”

For Truelove, Taylor collaborates with urban and rural farmers from Maine to Georgia to California to cultivate, save and disseminate rare seeds. The seeds are planted certain distances from other varieties to prevent hybridization and preserve their genetic code. They are open pollinated, meaning naturally by wind, bees or other insects.

For those who work in the dirt, Truelove’s seeds are as easy to grow as any and produce flavorful bounties. And while he wants customers to return each seed-selling season, he will gladly swap information on how to save them for planting next year.

Taylor runs the Philadelphia Seed Exchange and organizes workshops in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia and other groups. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. His website is trueloveseeds.com. In a nod to his own heritage, he named his company after his great-great-grandmother Letitia Truelove.

 

Peggy Harris is a freelance writer and Truelove Seeds volunteer.

Contributed by Joyce H. Munro

 

When two society ladies from Philadelphia spend the season at Lake Placid during the 1920s, exactly how do they spend it? And what if one lady is in her fifties and the other in her seventies? Knowing the older lady’s inclination to motor through the gardens of her summer place rather than stroll around, they probably don’t hike up Cascade Mountain or go swimming in the 65-degree lake. And what if these two ladies are not related, do not hold similar religious views and have only known each other a few years?

The younger lady was reared in an Episcopalian church whose Rector was a proponent of Christian socialism; the older was Quaker. Friendship would appear to be unlikely. But they were close enough to go on vacation together—several years running—at the lake-side resort famed for its “desirable social environment,” the Whiteface Inn.

By now you’ve surmised the older lady was Lydia Thompson Morris of Compton. And the younger? Bessie was her nickname, Elizabeth Herbert Stark her maiden name and Mrs. William Pierre Robert her formal name. Bessie married Captain Robert in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1902 and sailed right after the wedding reception for the Philippines—not exactly an ideal honeymoon spot. But the up-and-coming Captain—who by the way, graduated first in his class at the United States Naval Academy—had just received orders to take charge of ship repair at the Cavite Naval Station. When Robert’s tour of duty ended, orders took the couple to New Jersey, on to New Hampshire, Maine, Washington, DC, Virginia, then to the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1920.

Postcard courtesy of the author

And immediately upon arrival, Bessie was accepted into Philadelphia society, thanks to some impressive connections. Perhaps not to any lady of social standing per se, but to families who could trace their lineage to colonial days—and that was a connection dear to Lydia’s heart. They were both members of the Society of the Colonial Dames of America. In fact, Lydia was a co-founder of the Pennsylvania society and had signed the charter in 1891, she being a seventh generation descendant of Anthony Morris of Philadelphia. Bessie traced her family line to Dr. Richard Starke of the Virginia colony.

And from that colonial kinship, other connections could be made; in particular, connections to the Acorn Club, the first women-only club in the United States. And a friendship could be built at events like the luncheon for Bessie at the clubhouse on Walnut Street in 1921, and at afternoon tea at the Colonial Dames house on Latimer Street.

By the mid ‘20s, the Acorn Club had become a popular location for luncheons and dinner-dances, especially during debutante season in December. One such luncheon was given in 1927 in honor of Bessie’s daughter, Elizabeth Stark Robert, a student at Smith College, hosted by Mrs. Edward Stalker Sayres. Two weeks later, Elizabeth was the guest of honor at a dinner at the Bellevue-Stratford given by Mr. and Mrs. Francis Reeve Strawbridge. To top off Elizabeth’s debut, Lydia threw a dinner-dance for her right after Christmas.

Exactly what year Lydia and Bessie began going to Lake Placid together is unclear; but in 1926 their arrival made the local newspaper. That was the year the innkeeper hired a new orchestra and a new French chef. The inn’s weekly schedule provided Lydia and Bessie plenty of options for spending their time—Saturday evening treasure hunt, Sunday afternoon concert, formal tea every afternoon. If they played bridge, they could join the Monday night bridge club. Then there were cruises around the lake, occasional masquerade balls in the Wigwam, jaunts to the Kismet Shop for gifts imported from Turkey, Persia, Egypt and Kashmir (I bet Lydia couldn’t resist shopping there, given her penchant for imported goods).

And during free time, they probably read a lot—I’m guessing the latest historical novels like Mistress Nell Gwynne. Or maybe they took a break from all things historical and binge-read Agatha Christie mysteries. On rainy afternoons, they could take in a movie at the Palace Theatre—“The Little Snob” with Vitaphone sound or “Stage Struck” starring Gloria Swanson in two-color Technicolor.

In 1929, Bessie’s daughter, Elizabeth, joined them for a week or two and then she headed to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. I’d bet a dozen tea cakes that Lydia hosted a bon voyage party in the inn’s tea room for Elizabeth before she sailed.

The following year, Bessie’s husband was ordered back to Washington, D.C. and Lydia went to Whiteface Inn without a companion. At the end of her six-week stay, Lydia was honored at a musicale with solos by guest artists and selections by the orchestra.

Then in 1931, as a two-year economic downturn worsened and international relations degenerated, Lydia managed to return to Lake Placid. But work undoubtedly kept Captain and Mrs. Robert close to D.C. as he began to modernize the nation’s naval fleet, in case war came.