About Us

Sean Solomon and Isabelle Dijols met in Morris Park in May 2005, as volunteers with the Morris Park Restoration Association, under the umbrella of Fairmount Park Stewardship program.

When they met, Sean had been restoring his then nationally designated historic Victorian rowhouse in the Parkside neighborhood for about seven years.  Isabelle had been living  in her 1920’s rowhome on the edge of Morris Park in Overbrook Farms for about five years.   She had initially fallen in love with that property, in part because of its being so close to the park, a slice of nature within the city.

Now engaged to be married, Sean and Isabelle keep sharing their passion for rebuilding and restoring the city of Philadelphia, that has become their home for almost two decades.

To this day, they are still restoring their homes on a shoe string, saving trashed objects from oblivion and bringing them back to life in their wallpapered dwellings.  They have transformed a vacant lot that Sean had purchased the year before they met, from a blighted, trashed space into a vegetable garden – and every summer they share their tomatoes with the neighbors and the nearby firestation.  They have been saving homes slated from demolition around Parkside, and have also fought to keep their local Overbrook library open – the Carnegie Library of Haddington, that the City of Philadelphia was trying to shut down during the harsh economic times of Winter ’08.

Sean and Isabelle’s continuous efforts have contributed to the success of these two at-risk West Philadelphia neighborhoods.  In 2010, the Parkside neighborhood has become Locally designated of historical significance and Sean’s house was honored with a Philadelphia Historical Commission Plaque;  for the neighborhood, it means that the homes cannot be altered in an inappropriate manner, contributing to the quality and integrity of this important area of the city; and Isabelle’s Overbrook Farms cottage has been part of the Overbrook Farms Club House Tour  in 2009 and 2010, promoting rowhome quality of life in the city.  And the Haddington Library is still open.

It could only be a natural progression for Sean and Isabelle to work together on restoring Morris Park, focusing on the area by Morris Park Road, where their cottage rowhome is located.

Sean Solomon updating The Sanguine Root in Thomasville, Georgia

"The blogger" - Sean Solomon, updating The Sanguine Root, in Thomasville, Georgia (photo by Mark Daniel)

Their concept is that if you are so fortunate as to live right next to the park, you should be a steward of that park, as humble as your action may be – picking up after your dog, removing trash, or just taking a walk in the park, and making it a safer and friendlier place.

Isabelle Dijols, updating The Sanguine Root, in Thomasville, Georgia

"Le blogueur" - Isabelle Dijols, updating The Sanguine Root, in Thomasville, Georgia (Photo by Mark Daniel)

Please let us know if you have similar stories to share, of bringing your city,  park, community or neighborhood back to life.

21 Responses to “About Us”

  1. mayapple says:

    Bonnie, great to hear from you! Isabelle and I were just reminiscing about visiting you and your fantastic house in beautiful Marianna Florida about an hour ago! I hope you guys are having a blast in Micanopy, and hopefully will get in some good antiquing. It is so exciting about Cathys retirement. Isabelle and I want to go back to Marianna, it is so beautiful there. Your Trilliums are awesome, and hello to Richard.
    Sean

  2. Bonnie Goff says:

    I love your love story and what you have accomplished. I’m looking at Cathy’s computer. She’s sharing about you with me. Your site is very interesting. I met you in Marianna. You came to look at our Trilliums(sp?) in Marianna. I’m here in Micanopy with Cathy celebrating her retirement and birthday. Bye for now. Bonnie Goff

  3. Allison says:

    Hello! I wanted to get in touch with you to see about visiting, photographing and sharing knowledge. I’m in the Temple Enviro Restoration graduate program and grew up in Overbrook and I was amazed to find your site! My class is looking for restoration projects and always interested to learn more.

    -Allison

    • mayapple says:

      Allison, it is great to hear from you. We would love to meet you and talk about photography and ecology and show you our works. We could show you our native plant garden. We are hoping to do an invasive plant removal day and we would love it if you could come and help us remove Garlic Mustard. Stay in touch!

      • Allison says:

        I couldn’t make the work day, we had a field trip to Ricketts Glen that day, but I’d love to discuss future collaborations or come out for a work day!

        -Allison

        • mayapple says:

          Allison, its ok, with such short notice and all. We will keep you informed of future work days. Let us know if you have time to come out and we can give you tours.

  4. Hey! Are you guys looking for volunteers or people to chill with in general? I’m studying horticulture up at Temple Ambler and I need real places to learn some hands on stuff. I don’t think I’ve been to your part o fairmount yet…

    Let me know!

    • mayapple says:

      Jason, We would love to invite you over for a tour of what we do and our neck of the woods. We will contact you to arrange something.

  5. sonal Bhatt says:

    Hi there,

    I love your photos of bloodroot and of ants collecting eliasomes. Was wondering if I could talk to you abut using these in an exhibit. You can contact me at my email listed above. really beautiful. Sonal Bhatt, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    • mayapple says:

      Dear Sonal,

      We would be extremely happy to share our pictures of bloodroot for your exhibit. We also have short videos of the ants carrying away the seeds. We contacted you by email and we can take it from there.

      Sean & Isabelle

  6. Chris Marr says:

    Greetings Sean and Isabelle, what a fantastic story! I find the passion and energy you are both channeling into your local environments to be inspiring. Keep up the great work!

  7. Rochefort Elisheva says:

    D.S B’seudat d’shamaim

    Isabelle and Shean

    Ce site est charmant par la fraicheur de son enthousiasme.
    Ce fut toujours un enchantement de te voir , de te lire ou de t’entendre, chere ZAZA. Je vois que tu as trouve une ame soeur fort sympathique. Cela fait plaisir! Apres une mille et unieme tentative pour te retrouver, je te vois et je te lis enfin. Peut-etre, un miracle te fera t-il consulter la rubrique “reply” de votre site “Sanguine Root”.
    Goodbye to both of you, shalom et aurevoir,
    Elisheva Rochefort-Hyatt (Isabelle Rochefort)

    Tel: Israel. 4 99 72 191

    • Sean and Isabelle says:

      Chere Isabelle,

      Quel bonheur d’avoir de tes nouvelles par le biais du site “Sanguine Root” – car bien sur la nature a une puissance spirituelle !

      Dear Isabelle,

      It is great to hear from you. From our days in Paris, then on the West Coast here in the US and now Israel for you, and Philly for me. So many journeys, so many years have passed by, and I still hear in your letter the same joie de vivre, the same passion for life.

      I have found my home in Philadelphia, and in this little parcel of nature, incessantly assaulted by urban blight.

      Please keep reading us! When is an appropriate time to call you?

      • Rochefort Elisheva says:

        D.S
        B’Seudat d’Shamaim,

        Chers tous deux, Zaza dijols et Sean,

        Fantastique! Je n’y croyais plus…N’exaggerons rien, je pensais
        avoir enfin saisi le probleme a la racine. I finally spotted you , right there, in the bush, like one of these delicious mushrooms that our father used to hunt for all over the forestlawn.
        Vous pouvez nous appeler en ajoutant 7 heures a votre heure locale. Sauf le SHABBAT ,bien sur ,qui commence pour nous a la nuit tombee, le vendredi et se termine le lendemain soir, a la nuit tombee. En clair, a la montre de notre fils Elazar, il est le jeudi 9, 21h55, c’est a dire qu’il doit etre selon les renseignements de David,
        soit environ 15h chez vous. Both teenagers are smothering me inorder to have access to their “machine infernale” and view their second world war documentaries. Ils me cassent les pieds et …la tete, a bientot, nous vous embrassons,
        Elisheva

  8. Autumn says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your gardens and enthusiasm for the park with us (PA Master Naturalists) on our field trip yesterday, despite the cold and rain! Looking forward to reading through your site and following your progress in restoring Morris Park!

    • mayapple says:

      You are welcome, Autumn. We enjoyed hosting the Pa Master Naturalists class in Morris Park. We loved the thoughtful questions, and we have learned from you as well. We are very happy to show the park and talk about all of the issues as well as the beauty of the site. We would have stayed and discussed for much longer if time and the weather allowed. Please stay in touch, and follow our progress!

  9. Cormac brady says:

    More people need to know about this webpage

    • mayapple says:

      Thank-you so much Cormac, we know how much you love the Park. We just started our site in December, and feedback is appreciated. Feel free to comment any time, and do share with anyone you know may be interested.

  10. Joseph A. Caesar says:

    Such a Lovely Story …thank you so much for sharing –caesar.

    • mayapple says:

      And thank you for your feedback. Please come visit us regularly. We are very interested in your outlook and comments. See you in the Park!

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