A Treasure Trove of Tulips

By Jean Kaplan Teichroew

If you’ve ever strolled along Grace Church Rd. in the spring, you’ve probably seen colorful swaths of tulips blooming at the edges of the expansive lawn at 1923. Meet the man behind the tulips: Phil Costello has been planting them here every year since 2011. His interest in tulips took root when he lived in London: From his office near Buckingham Palace, he observed the planting of thousands of tulips. He also traveled frequently to Holland, where the flowers have been prized since the 16th century.

Phil starts planting his tulips in late November or after the first frost. He designs and digs trenches and places each bulb individually, this year about 750. (His all-time high is 2,100 bulbs!) Then he covers them with four to six inches of soil. Recently he has hired neighbors David Maya-Shelton and Jayden and Austin Jackson to help in the labor-intensive activity.

A major challenge is foiling predators, responsible for ruining up to 25 percent of the tulip garden. Squirrels dig up bulbs, but don’t seem to eat them. “They taunt me,” Phil laughs, “and then they throw away the bulbs,” leaving them on neighbors’ porches and in their yards. He places chicken wire over the bulbs to deter the pesky rodents and removes it so the tulips can grow when the weather warms. Deer don’t dig up the bulbs, but they do eat the blooms. “It’s constant effort,” says Phil, “vigilance is required.” He jokes that the deer of Grace Church may have changed their eating patterns after he placed signs directing them to a nearby street for better food.

Phil recommends purchasing tulip bulbs from colorblends.com. He also welcomes visitors to his garden. This writer has the advantage of seeing the vibrant flower display from her kitchen window, but you can take in the view come springtime. We’ll look for you on our street.

Wander Under Weeping Cherry

As noted recently by a neighbor on the NWCA listserv

The fabulous, giant, weeping cherry on 2nd Ave.* is in full bloom…. do take time to wander under it…

Want to behold cherry blossoms, but not up for the crowds and traffic around Washington, DC’s tidal basin? Take a stroll under this magnificent tree!

* Between Grace Church Rd. and 16th St.

No doubt a small sapling many a decade ago, the canopy of this weeping cherry now reaches high into the sky, spilling a swaying “bloomfall” of light pink blossoms over 2nd Ave. What young trees planted in North Woodside now will one day grow to great heights and beauty, and grace the path of future generations of neighbors?

If interested in planting a tree in the right of way in front of your house or on your property, contact the NWCA Tree Committee.

Traffic Report

By Jean Kaplan Teichroew

Adding a bump out and a stop sign will convert this intersection to an all-way stop. Image provided by Oscar Yen, MCDOT

The NWCA Traffic Committee and six neighbors met with Oscar Yen, an engineer in the Traffic Engineering Studies Section of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), on April 13 to review pedestrian safety and traffic-calming measures at key neighborhood

Read on for highlights from his summary evaluation and recommendations, which include conducting a speed study on Luzerne near Louis and preparing a work order to add crosswalks with proper striping and/or stop-bar markings at the intersections listed below. (MCDOT will also perform another traffic study for all-way stop controls and other traffic-calming mitigations once Woodlin Elementary School and the Talbot Ave. bridge reopen and heavier traffic resumes.)

Louis and Luzerne
Examine the feasibility of a curb bump out on Louis at the stop sign and trim foliage blocking the stop sign and the east leg approach of Luzerne.

Louis-Glen Ross-3rd-Warren
Build a bump out at the southeast corner of the intersection of 3rd Ave. and Glen Ross Rd. to convert this intersection to an all-way stop control and address the no-stop condition for Warren St.

Create a bump out to reconfigure the intersection to a 90-degree T-shape, and possibly relocate the stop sign to increase its visibility.

Hanover and 3rd
Readjust the crooked stop signs and research a more visible location for the sign on Hanover near the fire hydrant.

Grace Church and 3rd
Add stop-bar street markings to help draw attention to existing stop signs, especially when foliage obscures them.

Talbot Ave. Bridge
MCDOT will conduct a traffic study once the bridge reopens and evaluate for additional traffic-calming measures.

This article first ran in the Spring 2022 issue of the Beacon.

Historical Maps of North Woodside

North Woodside in 1929. Source of Map: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Some links to a bunch of historical maps that show North Woodside in its younger days  (zoom in just above the northern tip of DC to where it says “Woodside”)

  • 1891 (year after our neighborhood was established)
  • 1893 (shows the neighborhood lies ~7.5 miles from White House)
  • 1917 (shows bridge that preceded the historic Talbot Avenue Bridge, built in 1918 and demolished in 2019) Note: if you live in one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood you should be able to find your house on this one.
  • 1918
  • 1924
  • 1929 (#1)
  • 1929 (#2) Note: many more neighbors should be able to find their houses on this one — particularly those living in bungalows and Sears Kit houses on Grace Church, Hanover, Glen Ross, Luzerne, and 2nd.

So interesting to imagine what this area looked like back then. Very little development and no Beltway yet!