PHS City in Bloom Beautifies Center City


Angelina Maniero, a 7th-grade student at the Saint Francis Xavier School, spoke about her generation going green at this year’s “City in Bloom” event on May 22. Photo by Stephen Ladner.

By Marion McParland

PHS’s annual City in Bloom event celebrated its 22nd year yesterday with hundreds of volunteers cleaning, greening and planting thousands of annuals, perennials and shrubs throughout Center City. With the help of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and a group of corporate and student volunteers, more than 3,500 flowering annuals, perennials and shrubs were planted. Gardens were also cleared of debris and invasive plants. To view more photos from the event click here.

Volunteers from NRG Residential Solutions, Grant Thornton, PricewaterhouseCoopers, J.P. Morgan Chase and St. Francis Xavier School worked in the garden beds at City Hall, around the Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Square, in JFK Plaza (LOVE Park), along the Parkway, and at Eastern State Penitentiary, 21st Street and Fairmount Avenue.


Speakers at this year’s “City in Bloom” included, from left to right: Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Heather Farber, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, NRG Retail Northeast; Nancy Goldenberg, PHS Chief of Staff; Angelina Maniero, a 7th-grade student at Saint Francis Xavier School; and Jimmy Owens, PHS Vice President for Business Development. Photo by Stephen Ladner.

The event began at Sister Cities Park, 18th Street and the Parkway, where sponsors, partners and volunteers came together.  Jimmy Owens, PHS Vice President for Business Development, and Nancy Goldenberg, PHS Chief of Staff, welcomed the crowd and spoke about PHS City in Bloom.  They were joined by Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Heather Farber, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, NRG Retail Northeast; and Angelina Maniero, a 7th-grade student at the Saint Francis Xavier School in Fairmount.

Angelina Maniero offered this inspiring message:

My name is Angelina Maniero; I am a seventh grade student at Saint Francis Xavier School. I am delighted to be given the honor of presenting a speech and representing my school on the matter of my generation going green for this “City in Bloom” event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

I am proud to be part of this generation. I feel young people such as myself and my peers are a huge part of this world’s future. We have great ideas to offer the future; we have brilliant minds, creative spirits and passionate souls that are looking for new and innovative ways to better our world. With these abilities, I hope we can find new ways to preserve our environment and use our natural resources wisely.

To begin, our ecosystem works in a delicate way, meaning each member of this ecosystem is vital to keeping it working properly. Humans, especially today’s generation, have done many things to negatively affect this ecosystem. Air pollution is one of the major concerns that we are facing.

Thankfully, by planting different types of trees, shrubs and plants in addition to the use of window boxes and curbside containers throughout the city, we can help to undo the damage of air pollution. Plants take in carbon dioxide from the air that is polluted and expel clean oxygen that we need to breathe. This is just one of the many reasons going green is so important in today’s world.

Next, have you ever really thought about how much today’s world is centered on electronics? It is how we gain information, communicate, entertain ourselves, shop and even read. by doing this we miss all of the natural beauty of the earth.

Fortunately, groups like the Horticultural Society will make sure there is always greenery in the city. My generation’s responsibility is to take advantage of these green spaces by participating in outdoor sports, finding a quiet landscaped area to read or relax or even getting together with a group of friends and going walking instead of texting. These are just a few ways to “power off” and begin to admire earth’s natural beauty.

Finally, going green means not only minimizing time spent using things that pollute our environment or planting a tree, but also buying and using organic items. Most non-organic food is grown using pesticides. These pesticides prevent bugs from destroying plants and make it possible for farmers to grow and sell more of a crop; however, pesticides are extremely harmful to the environment.

Therefore, one way to minimize the harmful effects of pesticides is by growing your own food source. Joining a community project or growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your own backyard are great ways to get fresh, organic produce. When space becomes an issue, planting rooftop or windowsill gardens are an excellent alternative. These are fantastic ways to use your empty space to produce pesticide free food.

In conclusion, the importance of going green, whether to eliminate air pollution, make use of green spaces or going organic, is especially vital for my generation because if we do not create a better earth, how can we create a better tomorrow?

For more information on PHS City in Bloom, click here.



Students from Saint Francis Xavier School planted flowers at LOVE Park as part of “City in Bloom.” Photo by Stephen Ladner.





Get Your Garden Started this Saturday at Meadowbrook Farm



By Marion McParland

Great garden shopping? Check. Gourmet cooking demonstrations? Check. Fun crafts and activities for the kids? Check. Special discounts for PHS members? You bet! There is no better way to spend a spring day than at the annual PHS Meadowbrook Farm Spring Fling, this Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Spring Fling is a day filled with shopping and festivities. Meadowbrook’s nursery is bursting with spring favorites including MBF 2011SpOpenHs140homegrown annuals, veggies and herbs; bountiful hanging baskets to dress up your porch; mixed container gardens for your front steps; plus a great selection of PHS Gold Medal plants, spring blooming perennials and trees. Select from the season’s top trends, including plants from the PHS Hot List, professional gardening tools, and gifts. For gardening tools and other necessities, the gift shop is filled with items including the L’il Maine Garden Hod, vases by Material Good and colorful, compact pruners by Dramm.

Raw foods chef  Natalie Palmer, of “Elegantly Raw,” in partnership with Whole Foods Jenkintown, will be giving raw cuisine demonstrations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. She will prepare delicious items to sample, including zucchini dill garden soup with nasturtium pine nut cream, fennel and wild arugula Asian pear salad with Asian pear ginger vinaigrette, a zucchini garden wrap with nasturtium pesto, and herbal chocolate mint garden I-scream! Chef Natalie specializes in gourmet and therapeutic raw cuisine. Whole Foods will also offer smoked barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, smoked barbeque chicken leg quarters, vegan barbecued chicken and veggie sandwiches and beverages for sale (cash only).

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Activities for children will include a “Find These Trees” scavenger hunt, free butterfly and kite crafts with the Abington Arts Center, and an obstacle course designed by the Abington YMCA.

PHS members receive a 10% discount on plant purchases. Join on site and save! For more information, click here or call Meadowbrook Farm at 215.887.5900. PHS Meadowbrook Farm is located at 1633 Washington Lane, Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania 19046.





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

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!