Old Economy greenhouse is the place to be on a cold day

February 8, 2018 | Doug Oster comments

Old Economy’s historic horticulturalist Dean Sylvester is looking over some geraniums that are battling insects. He’s not reaching for a pesticide though, Sylvester uses something called a yellow sticky trap to solve the problem.

I love to sit in the greenhouse and talk with him. We compare notes on the previous season and discuss the upcoming spring. He’s busy even in the winter. Benches are filled with cuttings of grapes, herbs and some annual flowers. Some orchids have shiny deep red buds, ready to explode into bloom and others are already in their full glory. You would think the purple spines on a watermelon leaf begonia would be sharp, but Sylvester tells me to run my hands across them to see how soft they are.

Dean Sylvester is historical horticulturalist at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

Dean Sylvester is historical horticulturalist at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

It’s a glorious place to be on a cold winter day. I visit when I can, on this day I was meeting with some of the team who put together the annual Spring Garden Workshop. I’ve been appearing there for years as a way to help out this historic treasure. As soon as the date is set, I’ll post some information, it’s going to be a wonderful day of garden fellowship and learning.

Old Economy Village in Ambridge is a National Historic Landmark. It tells the story of the Harmony Society, one of the oldest and most successful religious communal groups of the nineteenth century. The Society sought to create a utopia inhabited by German Lutheran separatists who subscribed to the mystical religious teachings of their leader George Rapp (1757-1847). In Economy, they waited for the second coming of the Messiah. Visitors can see how the Harmonists lived at Old Economy.

The gardens are spectacular too, Sylvester works hard to make sure they are beautiful all season long.

For now, the both of us just lament the hard winter and dream of warmer days.

This story about Old Economy Village explains more about the National Landmark.

These orchids are budding and preparing to bloom in the greenhouse at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

These orchids are budding and preparing to bloom in the greenhouse at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

These jade plants have a beautiful red hue in the greenhouse at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

These jade plants have a beautiful red hue in the greenhouse at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

These orchids are in bloom in the greenhouse at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

These orchids are in bloom in the greenhouse at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.