Grounded in Art

Grounds For Sculpture

Isaac Witkin’s Eolith, 1994, a sculpture made of Blue Mountain granite, is just one of many on view at The Grounds For Sculpture. Photo by David W. Steele


By Marion McParland

One of the great partners in the 2014 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show was Grounds For Sculpture, which inspired the interactive exhibit by Michael Bruce Florist. Get a glimpse of the famed Johnson Atelier at the Grounds For Sculpture in Trenton, N.J., on Thursday, May 15, at 10:30 a.m. when PHS members and friends take a private, one-hour tour of John Seward Johnson II’s rarely open studio. Learn about sculpture mold and pattern making, as well as metal working on this day-long visit to the Grounds For Sculpture. Founded by Johnson in 1992, this 42-acre sculpture park features works by well-known and emerging American and international artists. After the Atelier tour, group members may spend the rest of the day enjoying the grounds or purchasing lunch at Rat’s Restaurant.

A special exhibition, “Seward Johnson: The Retrospective,” will be on view during our visit. The largest and most significant exhibition in the Grounds For Sculpture history, this special exhibit will span five decades of Johnson’s exploration into what he refers to as “The Visceral Moment.” He describes this as the pivotal moment when viewers engage with a piece of artwork and transcend their own place in space and time to experience a heightened connection to their common humanity. The presentation will feature more than 150 sculptures, including his acclaimed Forever Marilyn, The Awakening, and Unconditional Surrender. Works will be sited in three indoor galleries as well as across the park.

Tickets are $40 for PHS members and $50 for non-members. This fee includes admission and the Atelier tour only. Guests must provide their own transportation. For more information, or to register for this group tour, please visit the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society online or e-mail Suzanne Betts, PHS Membership Director, at


Easy Keeper: A Succulent Wreath

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By Marion McParland

A low-maintenance, living wreath that thrives on neglect? A bit of greenery for my home that doesn’t require frequent watering or precise temperature? Something I can make myself? Sign me up!

The idea of making my own living wreath out of hardy Sempervivum (which in Latin means to live forever) has my name all over it. If you’re anything like me, register now for PHS Meadowbrook Farm’s Succulent Wreath Workshop on Saturday, April 19, from 1 to 3 p.m. The workshop will be offered a second time on Saturday, May 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. You will learn the techniques for creating a living wreath out of an array of colorful hardy Sempervivum – including varieties such as silver king, oddity and royal ruby. These unique, drought-tolerant succulents will be arranged into a 14-inch sphagnum moss-filled wreath frame.

Sempervivum is a genus of about 40 flowering species in the Crassulaceae family. In the United States, they are most commonly known as hens and chicks; however, they are sometimes referred to as old man and old woman, and cats and kittens. A common European name for them, houseleek, comes from the practice of growing them on thatched rooftops. In ancient times, people believed they guarded against sorcery, storms, lightning strikes and fire. I wish this had been our roofing choice over the Timberline shingles we selected.

This workshop will take place at PHS Meadowbrook Farm, 1633 Washington Lane, Meadowbrook, PA 19046. The cost is $40 for PHS members and $45 for non-members. All materials are included. For more information or to register for this workshop, visit


Tree Smarts

By Marion McParland


Does your yard look anything like mine? I hope not! Our trees really suffered under the grip of the polar vortex this winter. As we sort through the broken branches and stack our growing supply of firewood for next fall, we wish we knew more about these co-habitants living on our property. Do they need pruning? Does the sycamore tree have a disease? Will our magnolia blossom again this spring? What can we do to help our overgrown holly tree?

If you have similar questions and worries about your trees, now is your chance to register for a three-session PHS Tree Tenders® course taking place in Philadelphia on Wednesdays, April 30, May 7 and May 14, from 5:45 to 9 p.m. You will learn everything you need to know to tend a tree in your region, community, or your own backyard. This hands-on training includes tree biology, identification, planting, and proper care. PHS Tree Tenders is available for continuing education credits from the ISA, PA LA, and PLNA.

Please note that this three-session course will be held at The Science Leadership Academy at 55 N. 22nd Street in Philadelphia.

If you live in Chester or Montgomery Counties, you may be interested in two courses taking place closer to home. PHS Tree Tenders will be offering a course on Thursdays, April 10, 17, and 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kimberton Waldorf School, 410 West Seven Stars Road in Phoenixville. Additionally, a third course will take place in on Tuesdays, May 6, 13, and 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Jarrett Nature Center/Simmons School, 411 Babylon Road in Horsham.

This course is open to adults and children ages 16 and up. The fee is $25. For more information, or to register, please visit




Ceramic Sculpting in the Garden Workshop at Meadowbrook Farm

By Marion McParland

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Let the perennial gardens at PHS Meadowbrook Farm be your muse as you create a raised relief ceramic tile this Saturday, April 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm. with artist Karen Singer. Daffodils, snowbells, hellebores, and forget me nots, are just some of the perennials waiting to welcome you. Enjoy the spring air and stunning gardens as you draw your inspiration like Renoir, Cassatt, Monet, Cezanne, and other Impressionist painters have done over the years.

After the class, your tiles will be fired at the Karen Singer Tileworks studio in Germantown, and returned to PHS Meadowbrook Farm for pickup four weeks after the workshop. This class will meet partially outdoors, rain or shine, so dress for the elements. All materials will be provided. PHS member: $45; non-member: $50.

Click here for more information or to register.

Binney Award to be Presented to Aqua CEO During Preview Party

unnamedEvery year, the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society is delighted to present the Binney Award during the gala Preview Party at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. The award, named for the first president of the society, is given to a company that exemplifies environmental stewardship, a tenet of PHS’s mission. This year, PHS President Drew Becher will present the award to Nicholas DeBenedictis, CEO of Aqua.

For the last decade, Aqua’s TreeVitalize Watershed Initiative and Plant One Million program have recruited volunteers to plant 40,000 trees and shrubs in hundreds of riparian areas in the Delaware Valley. The effort helps protect drinking water sources.

Congratulations to DeBenedictis and the entire Aqua community! We’re looking forward to tonight’s presentation, which will include a visually stunning map of Aqua’s planting efforts.

It’s Amazing! The Flower Show Preview Party & Uber


What is the first sign of spring for you? The first hint of color in your garden? Packing up your winter sweaters? Filing your taxes? Doubling up on the ab crunches at the gym? Yes to all?

Regardless, for most of us throughout the region, the Flower Show is the annual herald of spring. Thousands upon thousands of people journey to the Pennsylvania Convention Center from all across the world to take in the sights and smells of fresh cut flowers and blooming plants. If your “seasonal affective disorder” is keeping you down, the Flower Show is truly a way to cheer yourself up.

party1But for those of us who want to ring in spring in style, we’re hosting the super-fashionable black tie Preview Party. This gala is not only the VERY first hint of warmth and life after a long winter, but it’s also the kick-off of the season’s who’s who mixers.

Dress is black-tie fashionable with a hint of color. Besides having a stunning ensemble, you should bring an equally stunning companion. If you’re dating, this is an event that impresses. Finally, to ensure you arrive in complete style, we’ve partnered with Uber for this year’s Flower Show to offer all guests who are new users a complimentary ride up to $20 using the promo code PHSFLOWER. You can make the night even more glam.

For those of you who haven’t experienced Uber, it is an iPhone/Android app that lets you tag your location and summon a professional driver to your side within minutes. Once in the car, the driver will take you wherever you need to go. The fare is billed to your card, with no need to tip, so you don’t have to worry about handling cash.

Just click the promo code below and sign up! You’ll be riding in style in no time at all. PROMO CODE: PHSFLOWER