Spring is here

It's not that it was such a hard winter, but this spring seems especially beautiful, doesn't it? The swaths of daffodils, the hedges of forsythia, the periwinkle, the bloodroots along the roadsides, the squill that pops up out of nowhere -- I'm even happy to see the weeds that I'll be yanking out before too long.

Fiddleheads are just starting to emerge from the lifeless-looking brownish-black "stumps" of ferns. The hellebores were late to bloom this spring but look beautiful now, and I was thrilled to see that the Valerian I planted last year made it through the winter.

My bleeding hearts, motherwort, and hostas are coming up, and it's going to be a jackpot year for the monkshood, but there's no sign of the jack in the pulpit in the shade garden quite yet.

When I removed the tarp from my porch furniture and garden "stuff" over the weekend, I found an anise hyssop very much alive in a planter that I thought I'd cleaned out. I knew they were very hardy but that was a surprise.

By the way, Saturday, May 11, is the date for the annual plant sale at London Grove Friends Meeting. Not only do they have great annuals, perennials, herbs and hanging baskets, but it's a highlight of the community's spring social calendar.


Zippers and bobbins

Tax preparers aren't the only busy people this time of year: so are seamstresses like Lynn Aceto, who are working overtime getting prom gowns dance-ready.

When I stopped by the other day to drop off a ripped exercise top that needed to be mended, Lynn was working on a pretty mauve beaded gown that needed to be shortened -- complicated by the fact that it had three very full layers. It was just one of the alteration and repair projects that filled her work table.

A few days later, when I went to pick up the top (better than new!), she and her son were just getting home. She said he'd noticed that she'd been working nonstop for hours and needed a break, so he insisted on taking her out for a late breakfast.

Lynn's business is called "Sew What?" (her email is and I'll bet she is one of the few seamstresses who shares her sewing room with two crested geckos.


Finding Rover

It seems as if every single day notices from frantic pet owners appear on my Facebook page, full of photos of their lost fur child. Less often, people post photos of lost animals that they've seen wandering around their neighborhood.

Some clever person has come up with a facial recognition app called "Finding Rover" that might be able to help reunite owner and animal. Registering and using it is free, and according to the site, "by registering your pet in the Finding Rover Community, your pet becomes searchable by thousands of users if he or she is ever lost." The service is sponsored by the Petco Foundation.


History of Longwood Gardens

The spring speaker for the Kennett Township Historical Commission will be Colvin Randall, who will discuss the history of Longwood Gardens. The lecture will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at the Kennett Township building, 801 Burrows Run Road, Chadds Ford.

Mr. Randall has written three books about Longwood and has worked there since 1977, serving as public relations manager, historian/information manager and since 2008 the first P. S. du Pont Fellow. He now oversees the fireworks displays, the pipe organ and the carillon.

His talk will cover "the complete story of Longwood Gardens over the past century from the planting of the original arboretum by a Quaker family, to Pierre du Pont’s creation of the gardens, conservatory and fountains, to its transformation from a private estate to one of the world’s greatest horticultural showplaces."


BBQ Fest

On Sunday, April 28, expect some amazing aromas to be emanating from the New Garden Township Park on Route 41: it's the second annual Brandywine Backyard BBQ Festival, a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts. The festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. and the admission fee is $3. There will be food trucks offering BBQ and other meals, beverage trucks (wine and beer), two live bands, games and activities for kids and teens, and a BBQ competition for backyard chefs that is sanctioned and will be judged by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. (Rules and registration for the competition are online.)

Parking for the fest will be at the township building, 299 Starr Road.


Gym clothes

The Jennersville YMCA instructors get all excited every time there's a new release of their choreographed Les Mills exercise programs (which happens four times a year). This time they decided the theme for "launch week" would be "rock and roll," which Y members interpreted in various ways. I spotted a tie-dyed "WXPN Funky Friday" T-shirt, along with other shirts depicting David Bowie, Motley Crue, AD/DC, the Rolling Stones and Def Leppard.

The woman standing next to me in class wore a vintage "New Kids on the Block" baseball cap, for which she received a great deal of ribbing from her hipper-than-thou children.

"I told them I didn't need to justify my life choices to them," she declared defiantly.


Looking for family members

Local genealogist Loraine Lucas asked me for help locating any descendants of Richard and Frances (Lambe) Barnard so she can invite them to a reunion this June at Barnard's Orchards. She thinks there are probably many family members still living here in Chester County. According to Loraine, Richard and Frances came to America in 1682 aboard one of William Penn's ships and were Abraham Lincoln's third-great-grandparents. Loraine's email address is


Another inefficient light

A Beversrede resident responded to my item in last week's column about the inefficient traffic light at Route 926 and Pocopson Road that lets only a few cars through at a time. He agrees that it needs to be reprogrammed and notes that he takes Route 52 or Route 1 home in the late afternoon to avoid the ensuing backup.

He adds, "Equally as bad and maddening is the light on Route 1 at Kendal & Woodchuck Way. As soon as a single car exiting Kendal approaches the light, the traffic on Rt. 1 gets a red light and dozens of cars must stop to let one car proceed. Why can't there be a simple process of reporting and resolving these issues?"

He makes an excellent point!


A new joint

A Landenberg friend is recuperating from shoulder surgery and reports that although finding a comfortable sleeping position is still a challenge, his shoulder feels pretty good -- so long as he does the things he's supposed to do per the surgeon and avoids the things he's not supposed to do. He can't drive for two weeks, adding ruefully that in his wife's opinion, it would be best for all concerned if he didn't drive even then.


A new honor

Corinne Sweeney, DVM, of Kennett Square has been named the new chairwoman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. She is associate dean at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. The former chairman was Maryland Racing Commission executive director Mike Hopkins.

In her non-veterinarian life, Corinne served for 18 years on the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District school board, retiring in 2011.

Write to Tilda at Thanks!
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