The Lansdowne and Montgomery creek valleys, which wind through the grounds of the Horticulture Center and eventually make their way to the Schuylkill River, are in the process of being restored through a forest restoration project led by Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.


Two small creeks wend their way through a world class arboretum dating to the Centennial Exhibition and a carefully manicured 17th c. Japanese house and garden on their way to the Schuylkill. Their banks are dotted with public art, quiet walks and a dense, verdant greenhouse. Lansdowne and Montgomery Creeks in West Park are the very reasons Fairmount Park was established. Yet, the need to protect our city’s water sources by cherishing and preserving these small tributary valleys—and their habitats—is just as vital today.

But diminished resources and incursions of infrastructure have separated these creeks from their sustaining upland watersheds and they no longer converse with the cultural landscapes around them. Sadly, their capacity to keep our waters clean and foster plant and animal life has suffered. Led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management Division, a transformative demonstration project aims to restore these important stream valleys.

By removing invasive and non-native species from the 30-acre site and planting native species in their place, these creek valleys will become much more beneficial to insects, birds, and mammals. Restoring this site will not only make the land around the Horticulture Center even more beautiful, but also increase the plant diversity and improve wildlife habitat.

Project Objectives


  • Across nearly 30 acres: remove non-native, invasive species
  • Retain all woody debris on site to enhance soils
  • Seed site to prevent erosion
  • Remove and replace the chain link fence with deer exclosures
  • Apply herbicide to prevent return of invasive species
  • In Lansdowne Glen, create a floodplain forest to accept stormwater surges
  • Fix gullies, armor stream banks and repair pipes and drains


project updates

Early 2018: Work begins to remove non-native and invasive species from the grounds surrounding the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. Learn more.

October 2018: The project team installs fences and a new half-mile-long trail along the Lansdowne Creek. Learn more.

March 2019: Live stakes are harvested at Greenland Nursery and are then planted along the Lansdowne and Montgomery creeks. Learn more.

October-November 2019: Thousands of trees and shrubs are planted on the grounds of the Horticulture Center as part of the ongoing forest restoration project. Learn more.

Read about the latest project update on our blog

To help fund this project please call our Chief Development Officer, Meg Holscher at 215.607.3479.