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 http://phsonline.org/events


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.

The 2013 Annual Report is Now Available

Annual_Report_2013_Cover_WEBFrom popping up on Broad Street to producing 50,000 pounds of food, it has been a busy year—fiscal year, to be specific—for PHS. And you can read about the “greatest hits” in the new PHS Annual Report!

The theme of the report is “Faces of PHS.” As the cover art makes clear, PHS relies on thousands of people—members, volunteers, employees, partners, donors, and friends—to make such important work possible. Word of PHS is spreading. In fact, membership has grown by 38 percent since 2010!

Highlights of the past year include the opening of the new Mantua Urban Peace Garden in West Philadelphia and the new garden at the College of Physicians in Center City. Beautifying green spaces is at the core of PHS’s work, and both our major civic landscapes and community gardens will take center stage in the new year.

For now, click here to read the 2013 PHS Annual Report. And thank you for another great year of gardening, greening, and learning!

The Holidays are Here at PHS Meadowbrook Farm

IMG_5898The garden center and gift shop at PHS Meadowbrook Farm are full of gorgeous plants and gifts to make the holiday season come alive! Add a pop of color indoors with paper whites, cyclamen, and amaryllis – the perfect hostess gift for your Thanksgiving celebrations. Choose from a selection of bulbs to plant at home, or choose one that has already started in a variety of festive containers.

Feeling extra merry? Then be sure to purchase your poinsettias and cut greens. Gorgeous poinsettias are available in all shapes and sizes, from two-inch minis to ten-inch hanging baskets grown in-house at Meadowbrook Farm in an a variety of GreensContainers.House2colors including red, white, pink, two-toned, and more! Elegant garlands, wreaths, swags, and painted twigs are also available. And remember, PHS Members save 10% on plants at PHS Meadowbrook Farm year-round. Join PHS on site today!

You’ll want to save the date for the PHS Meadowbrook Farm Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 7 from 10 am to 5 pm. There will be plenty of fun for kids with a visit with Santa and story-time with Mrs. Claus from 10 am to 2 pm, plus a cookie decorating craft and delicious s’mores. There will also be great shopping all day long, with beautiful gifts for everyone on your list. Click here for the holiday gift guide to inspire your holiday purchases.

Visit PHS Meadowbrook Farm at 1633 Washington Lane, Meadowbrook, PA; click here for directions. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Meadowbrook is closed November 28 and 29, and December 24 through January 1.

Celebrate Generosity with #GivingTuesdayPHL

This month, PHS encourages you to give a gift that matters by supporting PHS City Harvest through the #GivingTuesdayPHL campaign.

Giving Tuesday is a national celebration of generosity that culminates on December 3. Following the frenzy and consumption associated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday aims to remind people of the importance of supporting worthy causes.

Since its launch eight years ago, PHS City Harvest has worked to make fresh produce more readily available in Philadelphia neighborhoods. By working in partnership with the Philadelphia Prison System, SHARE (Self Help and Resource Exchange, a food distribution network), and the Health Promotion Council—among other partners—PHS City Harvest has helped feed 1,200 a week during the growing season.

Additional City Harvest stats:

  • 250,000 seedlings are distributed yearly.
  • 106 tons of produce have been grown and donated since 2005.
  • 74 Philadelphia Prison System inmates have completed the Roots to Re-Entry program.

To be a part of Giving Tuesday and make a donation to PHS City Harvest, please click here. You can also follow PHS on social media for updates and use the hash-tag #GivingTuesdayPHL on Facebook and Twitter to see how other organizations are promoting this season of generosity.

November Events & the PHS Kids Patch

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? It’s a lot of work, but very rewarding. While I’m sure you’ve mastered your mashed potatoes recipe, perhaps you need help making a memorable centerpiece.

Luckily there are two Thanksgiving floral arranging classes to help you on your way. One is at the Delaware Center for Horticulture and has a cornucopia focus; the other is at Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA.

If you’re more a garden-gloves-in-the-soil personality, there’s plenty for you. You can learn how to grow veggies from seed at Morris Arboretum or try your hand at succulents at Greensgrow Farm.

Per usual we’re looking out for those of you with young ones. On November 5, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education has a presentation on how animals from ants to beavers and beyond build homes to meet their needs.  A few days later they’re hosting a class on rocks and minerals for junior geologists.

Consult the lists below and have a nifty November!

November Gardening & Greening Events

November Kids Patch