Summer Solstice and Beans?


Did you know that the Summer Solstice was not always celebrated in RCP_150604_0224mid-June?  Mid-June was considered the Midsummer Solstice whencultures from all over the world celebrated the longest day of the yearwith festivities that lasted for days.  PHS garden expert, Sally McCabe, shared this about the Summer Solstice and your garden.  “The moon will be waxing on June 21st which causes it’s gravitational pull to shift the oceans’ tides away from land. This shift is the perfect opportunity to plant beans, but do not plant any root vegetables because this pull has the opposite effect.” Science of America Blog states that certain plants harvested on the Summer Solstice “like St. John’s wort, roses, rue, and verbena, acquired mystical properties on the year’s shortest night that they wouldn’t have if picked at any other time.”  Not interested in this esoteric approach to the  Solstice? Happiness has also been associated with the celebration of the Summer Solstice because of the longer exposure to daylight.  It’s a PHS PopUps-0029day meant to be spent outdoors whether in your own garden or at the PHS Pop Up Gardens. The Pop Up Gardens will be kicking off a summer long celebration with the the Solstice. Check out the calendars for 9th & Wharton and 15th & South to stay up-to-date on the happenings at the PHS Pop Up Gardens!

Follow all the fun at the #PHSPopUpGardens on PHS’s Instagram account!


PHS Pop Up Gardens: By Design


There is much to be said about PHS’s much anticipated and widely lauded PHS Pop Up Gardens and the positive impact they have on the communities they serve. This year, with a whole new look thanks to our great designers, these special hot spots are also finally ready for their close-ups. Stop in at each of these magical spaces to be inspired and to support PHS’s mission to build beauty.

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The PHS Pop Up on East Passyunk (9th & Wharton Streets) has a fresh urban design style that can be explained in three words: Reclaimed, Repurposed and Recycled. Leigh Ann Campbell, PHS’s Associate Director of Landscape for PHS’s Public Landscape program, says “the biggest takeaway for attendees are the many  ideas they can incorporate into their home garden.” Leigh Ann insists “almost anything is salvageable when the outcome is reuse.” Take toy dinosaurs or old records for example. Painted lime green and paired with colorful annuals, once loved playthings make super fun table centerpieces. Old vinyl records have been heated and remolded into imaginative plant containers. The PHS team transformed this underutilized space into a re-imagined haven for the community lined with permeable pavers and filled with materials from the salvage yard and from one of PHS’s biggest ventures, the Philadelphia IMG_0007 (3)Flower Show. Visitors will see large pillars, familiar to anyone who has shopped in the Show’s PHS Store over the last two decades and elements from the “Finding Nemo” display staged by J. Downend Landscaping for the 2015 Show that now form part of the Pop Up’s neon lounge! The garden is shaped with recycled bicycle pieces artfully sculpted by Derrick McNew. Streaks of yellow adorn the wall, stage and seating, while orange and yellow lights cast a delicate glow. Plantings of Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ will create a colorful shot of hot pink throughout the summer and tobacco plants, Agastache and Verbena will provide pops of greens under a canopy of honey locust trees.

 IMG_0009 (2)If East Passyunk taps into your inner child with its urban playfulness, the PHS Pop Up Garden on South Street speaks to the Gardenista! Designer Karen Regan of Tallulah & Bird Interior Designs defines the design as “romance in the garden” and it’s easy to see why. She has taken the inside out and created lush rooms that lend an air of seduction and intimacy. Think of this space as a secret garden in which there’s something new to experience with each visit. Nature inspired pods have been created for intimate conversations and community tables encourage getting to know your neighbor. Karen says of her style “I pushIMG_0006 (3) for creative, adaptive spaces that reuse old things and add interest by layering to create texture.” The giant tree trunk that now provides elegant tables across the garden was a happy surprise that came into her possession just a week ago and now blends perfectly with the garden’s curvy wooden planters and containers. Karen loves every inch of this oasis, but her favorite thing is “the way it makes me feel when I step through the garden gate.” Local business owners are also taken by this space. Hari, owner of Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian, says about the garden “Poetry, you are making poetry.”

The PHS Pop Up Gardens will officially open on June 1, 2015. Two Spaces. One Mission. Build Beauty!

Follow all the fun at the #PHSPopUpGardens on PHS’s Instagram account!

Two Spaces. One Mission. #BuildBeauty

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PHS will Pop Up in two distinct locations!

The corner of 9th and Wharton Streets in South Philadelphia has been home to many things, beginning with the Wharton Street Presbyterian Church, built in 1841. Since 1841 it has been renamed both St. Agnes and St. John’s but the church building? only remained until the late 1980s. The church was demolished for the intention of commercial use, but in the end was left neglected and barren for years. Generations of people have contemplated the future of this special piece of the community and home to Philadelphia Mural Arts program’s “Sounds of Philadelphia”.

PHS is pleased to announce the construction of a PHS Pop Up Gardens at this site and another at 15th & South Streets. Both sites are located in Philadelphia neighborhoods filled with community pride, and PHS is excited to be transforming these spaces into vibrant, green spaces for a summer of fun.

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These two PHS Pop Up Gardens will transform over the next several weeks.  Follow PHS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as we #BuildBeauty all year long!


PHS Pop Up Garden Wins “Land Use Project of the Year” Award

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By Marion McParland

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society was presented with the “Land Use Project of the Year” Regional Excellence Award by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission at a luncheon on December 11.

PHS planted the original Pop Up seed in 2011 by transforming a neglected, vacant lot in Center City into a green space filled with activities and featuring raised-bed gardening. Every year since then, PHS has redesigned an under-utilized space and reinvented the Pop Up Garden.

In 2014, the PHS Pop Up Garden blossomed at 1438 South Street on a vacant lot owned by music legend Kenny Gamble.  Lush plantings, bright umbrellas, an allée of zelkova trees transplanted from the 2014 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, hammocks, palm trees and glittering market lights turned South Street into South Beach.

This year’s Pop Up Garden crossed generations as well as demographic lines,  attracting city residents, neighborhood locals, and out-of-town visitors. The garden’s economic impact was positive for nearby restaurants, bars and shops. Some businesses reported a 30% increase in revenue over the same time period the year before, corresponding to the more than 52,000 visitors who frequented the garden.

Let us know where you would like to see the next PHS Pop Up Garden!





Toast to the PHS Pop Up Garden

By: Jamie McFadden

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

Pop Up GardenHere’s a toast to a new friend that we met in July who quickly became our best friend.  Although you started with a wee bit of controversy…  we were happy to join you all summer long.  Thank you for the memories:  the star-lit movie screenings, acoustic Tuesdays, Visit Philly’s Beer Garden Series and countless food samplings throughout the summer.  Cheers to you for just always being there when we needed an escape from the hustle and bustle. I speak for all 50,000 of your friends when I say I’m going to miss you dearly. Your absence will leave a vacant lot in our hearts.

You connected all of us to the South Street West Community. Each visit we made, each beer we drank and every pin we lovingly purchased, supported the very special  PHS City Harvest program. Thank you dear garden for all your beauty and thank you South Street West Community for welcoming PHS into your amazing neighborhood..  For this we are eternally grateful.

Luckily, for all of us we have ONE FINAL week with you, our beloved PHS Pop Up Garden.  Just seven short days to celebrate the garden and rehash a summer’s worth of memories. Blocktober Fest kicks off this  farewell tour on Saturday, October 11th followed by NFL Sunday, live music on Tuesday and a final goodbye on Sunday, October 19th.

Photo Credit: @theburchman

Photo Credit: @theburchman

Let’s all raise a glass, our phones and cheers to just one more week of beer, food trucks, garden selfies, acoustic tunes, hammock laying and just relaxing in the wonderment of the PHS Pop Up Garden. Visit the garden until October 19th and show your love for the garden that loves you back.

Just for fun, submit photos of the garden on Twitter and Instagram by tagging #PHSPopUpGarden and you will be entered to win two tickets to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show!  And who knows, maybe the next great pop up is just around the corner.

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Let There Be Light — For Enchanting Fall Evenings

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Lighting by Coastal Source adds depth and beauty to the PHS Pop Up Garden at 1438 South Street in Center City.

By Marion McParland

As the season starts to change and the daylight hours get shorter, now is the time to consider outdoor lighting  for your garden or patio. By adding lighting to your landscape you can extend the season and enjoy many more evenings outdoors.

When designing a landscape lighting scene, the goal is to create a visual destination. This can take the shape of different types of focal points in a yard or garden, such as a large plant, water feature, or even defining boundaries. In addition to creating beauty, lighting your property adds safety and security.

Coastal Source, a Florida-based company with offices in New Jersey, generously donated, designed and installed all of the lighting at this year’s PHS Pop Up Garden. Stop by the PHS Pop Up after dark and see for yourself how lighting can transform an outdoor space into a dramatic escape. The Pop Up Garden is open through October 19 at 1438 South Street in Center City. Click here for a full schedule of events and hours.

Here, Coastal Source shares a few tips and tricks on enhancing your nightscape designs.

Color temperature: When used tastefully, the choice and mix of color temperatures throughout a nightscape can enhance the beauty of certain plant specimens. For example, plants with a blue tint or base can pop in any scene when a cooler lamp color is applied. Coastal Source LEDs come in a range of warm to cool color temperatures to allow room for creativity. An amber colored light is an option for use in coastal regions where turtle nesting is a concern.

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Lighting pathways and garden boundaries adds safety as well as interest to your landscape.

Downlighting: One of Coastal Source’s favorite lighting techniques is installed from above. Whether you diffuse the light through the canopy of a tree to create a moonlit effect on a pathway or use it to create fill light on a bed of plants and flowers, downlighting can be a beautiful addition to pull a setting together. Keep in mind proper tree-mounting techniques to prevent fixture/cable girdling. Coastal Source tree mounts give the option of using adjustable nylon straps or titanium screws and hanger bolts that won’t harm the tree.

Modularity: Allowing your lighting to grow and change with your garden is important when trying to achieve the ultimate outdoor living space. What may look beautiful and in place at the time of installation might not be as appealing once your plants have reached their full growth. Coastal Source offers adjustable risers for a quick lift, and any of the components can easily be swapped for a better suited piece.


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The PHS Pop Up Garden on South Street will be open through October 19. Bring your friends and enjoy the beautiful fall evenings. Photo by Stephen Ladner.