John Rudy County Park Demonstration Gardens

Welcome to the Demonstration Gardens at John Rudy County Park, created and maintained by the York County, PA Master Gardeners in conjunction with the York County Parks Department and the York County Probation Department.

Demonstration Gardens at John Rudy County Park

Demonstration Gardens at John Rudy County Park

The Demonstration Gardens are open to the public during regular park hours.

History of the gardens

The Gardens at John Rudy County Park began in 1999 to showcase Penn State's Gardener Selects Trials. Flowering annuals, perennials, vegetables and woody plants were selected by Penn State and grown in the garden to determine how well they grow under local conditions throughout the state. The Gardener Selects program ended in 2006 and the gardens were redesigned. The Demonstration Gardens have grown to two-thirds of an acre. Today they include a thriving vegetable garden, a raised herb garden, perennial and annual beds, a physically challenged bed, fruit beds and even a compost demonstration site garden. There are water gardens and container gardens.

Vegetable Growing

The vegetable garden is a partnership between the York County Probation Department and the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners.

During a typical growing season over 6,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables are harvested and delivered to York County Food Bank and Catholic Harvest Pantry .

Individual youth assisted during the course of the season. They ranged in age from 13 to 18.

Display Beds

There are 50 display beds at the Demonstration Gardens. During the growing season brochures are available at the gardens that describe the display bed's current contents. The brochures and plant labels enable you to take a self-guided tour of the garden.

Bed 1 contain annuals. These plants complete the their life cycle in one season. .

Beds 2 and 3 are planted with perennials that attract pollinators.

Bed 4 is planted with cultivars (cultivated varieties) of some of the native plants in Beds 2 and 3. A study will be conducted to compare the number of pollinators that are attracted to natives vs cultivars 

Bed 4-H is the 4-H Wildlife Club Native Plants garden.

Bed 5 shows off iris. These plants are one of the earliest blooming and easiest perennials to grow.

Bed 6 is native plants. Native plants have adapted to local conditions, are easy to grow and create wildlife habitats.

Bed 7 is used to showcase Perennial Plants of the Year. These plants are chosen by the Perennial Plant Association.

Beds 8 and 9 are plants that attract butterflies.

Beds 10-13 and 15 feature vegetables that you can grow in a small garden area and include some All American Selections.

Bed 14 is rhubarb, Bed 16 is asparagus.  Bed 17 is strawberries and Bed 18 is horseradish.

Beds 19 -21, 23-32, 44 and 45 are vegetables and annual fruit. Many of the vegetable varieties are All American Selections.

Beds 33 to 39, 41 and 43 are fruit beds and include raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, apples and pears.

Bed 40 is a trial bed for a Ghana Agricultural Mission.

Bed 42 is a cut-flower bed.

Compost Park and Native Grass demonstration

The Master Composters at John Rudy Park invite you to learn how to recycle yard wastes by composting. The Compost Park was originally on display at the Springettsbury Township Park, 1501 Mount Zion Road, York, Pennsylvania. Funding was provided by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Compost Park moved to the Demonstration Gardens at the park in the fall of 2006. Much of the waste from the demonstration gardens can be incorporated into the different composting systems. The completed compost material can now be used to improve the soil for the garden beds.

An Open House is held each year the second Saturday in August from 9 AM to 12:30 PM

Educational tours of the Demonstration Gardens are available through Penn State Master Gardeners, 112 Pleasant Acres Road, York, PA 17402. E-mail Master Gardener
Phone: (717) 840-7408


From York, take Rt 30 East to the Mt Zion Road exit. Continue North on Mt. Zion Road/Rt 24 to the "T" in the road. Turn right. After crossing the creek, make an immediate left onto Mundis Race Road. The garden is on your right, just past the park entrance.

The Demonstration Gardens are a joint venture of the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners, the York County Department of Parks and Recreation and the York County Probation Department.