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

forget me not image

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

Five More Days To Go! There’s So Much To Do At The Show

postAs if surrounding yourself with the sights, scents, and sounds of spring wasn’t enough to do at the Philadelphia Flower Show, just wait until you see what’s going on outside the Exhibit Hall. You won’t ever want to leave the Pennsylvania Convention Center!

The Grand Hall is a destination in itself. Bucks County sculptor Steve Tobin will exhibit several pieces that exemplify his connection to the natural world. Tobin is best known for his monumental works in bronze, steel, glass, and ceramics. He explores the realms of philosophy, science and poetry to create nature-based works that evoke a sense of wonder. His works have also been exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Switzerland. A solo exhibition of Tobin’s work, featuring large-scale outdoor and indoor sculptures, will open in June at the Michener Museum of Art in Doylestown, PA.

Also featured in the Grand Hall will be rarely seen prints from the Andy Warhol “Flowers” Series from the Bank of America Collection, one of the largest art collections in the world. The Bank of America, exclusive sponsor of the Flower Show, has converted its collection into a distinctive resource from which museums and nonprofit galleries may borrow complete or customized exhibitions at no cost, which generates vital revenue for these institutions. Selections from the West Collection, amassed by Albert P. West, art collector and chairman of SEI Investment Company of Oaks, PA, will be on display and include a sculpture by Rob de Mar; a two-sided painting resembling a cross-slide of a giant tree, titled “Cookie,” by Sharon Levy; a sculpture titled “Licorice Shoes” by Andy Yoder; and an inflatable flower tank titled “Seige Weapons of Love” by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich.

The Grand Hall will also host works by the Society of Botanical Illustrators; wine tastings at the Fine Wine and Good Spirits Store; a giant ARTiculture mural created by PHS, along with its partners and the Crayola Experience; food by Aramark and Garces Catering; and much more.

Feeling creative? Then a visit to the Make & Take Room is a must. Last year, hundreds of visitors wielded a glue gun to create fanciful fascinators that became the talk of the show. In this year’s expanded Make & Take Room, guests can design, assemble, and take home two different DIY projects: For $10, participants can create a wearable craft project and for $25, visitors can choose from a selection of unique plants, accessories, and containers to build their own terrarium. Located in Room 201B&C, the room will be open during the PHS Members’ Preview Day, February 28, from noon to 3 p.m.; March 2, 3, and 8, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; March 4 through 7, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and March 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Make & Take tickets can be purchased here.

For some, a visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show isn’t complete without attending a Garden Tea. Set in the beautifully decorated Room 203 A&B with fabulous floral arrangements, fine china, and soft music, the Tea offers a pleasant respite from the fanfare of the show for you and your friends. A light and delicious menu of petit sandwiches, pastries, fruit, and an assortment of fine teas from contributing sponsor Stash will enhance your Flower Show experience. There are two seatings daily at 12:30pm and 3:45pm (with the exception of closing day). Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be found here.

Ready to really feel that spring is in the air? Step inside Room 202 in the Grand Concourse for the Butterfly Experience, an interactive and educational exhibit created by California’s Sky River Butterflies. Twenty species of butterflies–10 domestic and 10 exotic–some of the most rare and beautiful varieties, will be together for the first time as part of an exhibit in the United States. Upon entering the room, guests of all ages will have the chance to roam among and feed the butterflies. The exhibition space will be filled with a vast selection of plants and heated to the right temperature to simulate the butterflies’ natural habitat.

Guests will also have the opportunity to learn more about butterfly gardening and regional horticulture that attracts these beautiful creatures. Rose Franklin, leading butterfly garden expert, will visit the show for a special presentation and introduce her book, “Fast Track Butterfly Gardening.” Dr. Wayne Wehling, National Director of Entomology for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will also attend the show to talk about various insects in the garden. The Butterfly Experience will be open every day of the Show: February 28, noon to 3 p.m.; March 1-2, 8 am to 8 pm; March 3-7, 10 am to 8 pm; March 8, 8 am to 8 pm; and March 9, 8 am to 6 pm. Tickets may be purchased here.

You can have all of the schedules, exhibit information, special guest appearance dates–all there is to know about the Flower Show–at your fingertips by downloading the Flower Show app. For details, click here, We can’t wait to welcome you!

The Countdown Has Begun–One Week Until Spring Has Sprung!

tulipsAfter what we’ve been through this winter, we all need it–spring! To be swept away by the colors of nature, to be overwhelmed with the sweet scents of flowers, herbs, and fresh grass, to hear the sounds of a woodland stream, and to be awestruck by fusion of art and horticulture. The Pennsylvania Convention Center is buzzing with activity so that one week from today, you can experience all that is ARTiculture!

In the days ahead, we’ll bring you behind the scenes of the largest show of its kind and share with you some incredible insights from our exhibitors, museum partners, volunteers, staff, and vendors as the excitement builds to the opening day. Watch as thousands of roses are prepped for display, hundreds of yards of mulch are spread to perfection, and a prized orchid is painstakingly cleaned with a small paintbrush. Learn how the entire event is a competition and what it takes to win. And finally, hear how the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society uses the proceeds from the Show to support its gardening, greening, and learning programs throughout the region.

Best of (13)What can you do to be ready to take it all in? Plan your visit now! Here are a few tips:

  • Purchase your tickets online. You’ll save time and money, and you can print your Flower Show tickets at home or at the Will Call booth, located at the 12th and Arch Street West entrance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
  • Choose an add on. Whether it be the delight of the Butterfly Experience, the fun of the Make & Take Room, or the all-out bash that is the Preview Party, you can take your Flower Show experience to the next level with these extras.
  • Consider taking the train. SEPTA brings you in just under the Convention Center, and after a short walk and a couple of escalator rides, you’re  in the Grand Hall and just steps from the Flower Show! SEPTA  offers a One-Day Independence Pass, which includes unlimited transportation on any SEPTA bus, trolley, subway, or regional rail train.
  • Download the Flower Show app for all of the Show schedules, guest appearances, the map, and everything else you need to know. It’s available for  Apple iPhones and iPadsAndriods, or click these links for the desktop and the mobile web versions.

While the calendar may say spring begins March 20, we’re going to get a jump start on it by bringing you the 2014 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show ARTiculture March 1 through 9. We can’t wait to share it with you!

Know Before You Go: The Best Time to Visit if You’re a Photographer!

Additional images (4)This is the fourth installment in our “Know Before You Go” series of tips and PHS Philadelphia Flower Show info. 

One of the most important things to bring to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show–besides a pair of comfortable shoes–is your camera. With all of the incredible exhibits, the beautiful PHS Hamilton Horticourt, the inspiring artistic classes, and so much more, your camera is a sure-fire way to capture the Show and bring home the memories. We know that trying to get the perfect shot can be a little difficult when the exhibit hall is full of visitors, so what if you had the Flower Show almost all to yourself?

An Early Morning Tour is the best way for photographers to create images at the Flower Show. The ticket purchase includes:

  • A private tour of the exhibits with behind-the-scene stories
  • 10% off purchases at the PHS Store
  • A free gift bag
  • Access to the private PHS Members Lounge

Available Monday, March 3 through Friday, March 7, the early access from 8:00 to 10:00 am means that photo buffs can set up tripods, feel free to use off-camera lights, and take their time exploring the Show. While special equipment needs to be stored once the Show floor opens at 10:00 am, this is a unique opportunity to see the Show, be creative, and get just the right picture. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here.

Not really an early riser? Then plan to visit the Flower Show late in the afternoon into the evening when there are fewer visitors. Open until 9:00 pm every day and until 6:00 pm on the last Sunday, the hours between 5:00 and 9:00 pm are your best chance to have more elbow room when taking pictures. Once you create your one-of-a-kind gallery of images, we invite you to share some on our Flower Show Facebook page or on Instagram at PhilaFlowerShow!


The Flower Show is Looking for an On-Air Host! Is it You?

on_the_airHave you always wanted to be the next Ryan Seacrest? Do you idolize Cat Deeley from So You Think You Can Dance? Well, now is your chance to prove you have what it takes to be the host of your dreams. This is your opportunity to receive the public exposure at an event that welcomes a quarter-million guests and reaches millions more.

New for 2014, the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show will create an interactive hub called the Green Room. Online and in person, the Green Room will be the hub for all Flower Show buzz – the center of attention of broadcasts and outreach of our media partners. But all this technology needs a zap of human lightning rod to energize and stimulate the socialsphere. So the search begins for a larger-than-life personality to jump-start the Flower Show social media and be the first-ever Green Room host!

Just like on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, PHS is looking for a dynamic extrovert with endless energy, an unbeatable on-air personality, and social media savvy. You should work the camera as you interview Flower Show VIPs, interact with visitors, and share behind-the-scenes stories with on-site and at-home audiences.

This is the perfect launching pad for anyone who has dreamed of a television hosting or reporting gig. Actors, journalists, improv artists, selfie-portrait takers, spotlight hogs, and aspiring TV hosts should apply. No shrinking violets, please!

Think you have what it takes? Then submit your application video today.

Application Process

  1. Submit a YouTube or Vine video showcasing your impressive, creative and engaging personality. Be funny, smart, exciting and charismatic. Prove that you have the pizzazz to be a Flower Show star! Videos should be no longer than two minutes and must be submitted by end of day on February 4. Your submission video will be shared on the PHS Facebook page, where the world will help decide if you have what it takes. Submit your video at here.  Be sure to address the following three points in the most creative way possible:  (a) Tell us who you are, where you are from and an unusual fact about yourself that makes you stand out ; (b) Demonstrate that you can be personable, creative and entertaining; (c) Why should we pick you to be the First Green Room Host?
  2. Build your fan base. Use the power of social media to let the world know you should be the first Green Room host. The more likes and shares you receive, the better your chances. Have your parents, professors, and partners tell us why you’d make the best Green Room host.
  3. Five finalists will be selected from the applicant pool on February 10. Those lucky people will participate in an in-person audition on February 12. You must be available for this round, and bring your “A” game!
  4. The winner will be announced on February 13.

 The Gig

The winner of the search will receive total access to the 2014 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show and will become the face of the Green Room. With the assistance of a tech crew and Flower Show staff, the Green Room host will interview the creative forces behind the largest horticultural event in the U.S. Each day from February 28 through March 9, the Green Room host will generate video content to be shared across social media channels.

The Green Room host will work with an intrepid production team to document many of the stories on the Flower Show floor. Each day we hope to launch four to six pieces of digital content that will range from entertaining to enlightening, featuring the people and plants that make the Flower Show. To keep the host fresh and ready, we will block off 4-hour blocks of shooting schedule. The editing elves will cut this down into YouTube clips for immediate and post-Show broadcasts. The host will also be encouraged to Tweet, Instagram, Vine and help facilitate the social media touchpoints of our sponsors and partners …all the while being incredibly telegenic.

The host position, which includes a compensation package, is a fantastic opportunity for any aspiring media maven, from college student to seasoned Philly celebrity. The host will be gaining invaluable experience and major public exposure at a world-renowned event.

For more information on the Green Room and the host auditions, contact Dan Moise, PHS Social Media Manager, at 215.988.8871,