PHS Announces New Gardening and Greening Contest

The Peace Garden at Shippensburg’s Memorial Park.

By Marion McParland

Are your roses getting more compliments than your new haircut? Maybe your window boxes are the talk of the town. Is your community garden producing enough vegetables to feed the high school football team? Now is your chance to enter PHS’s new program that honors the beautification efforts of individual and community gardeners. The PHS Gardening and Greening Contest will spotlight well-designed, well-maintained and inspiring gardens and green spaces throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Gardeners in Philadelphia and the surrounding area have been celebrated by two PHS programs: the PHS City Gardens Contest and the PHS Community Greening Awards. Now, these two programs have been combined into a new, broader recognition program.

“PHS is proud to recognize all those who have been inspired to improve their communities through greening,” says Flossie Narducci, PHS Event Manager. “It is this common love of horticulture that brings together gardeners and judges  despite differences in age, socio-economic background and skill level.  This love of horticulture and beautifying their neighborhoods provides a bond with everyone involved — gardeners and judges alike.”

GGC judging photo

Home gardeners with in-ground or container gardens, community gardeners, businesses that have beautified their properties, and municipalities that have initiated environmental projects, such as stormwater management or tree plantings, are all invited to  participate. Nine contest categories include: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, Container Gardens, Children’s Gardens, Rooftop Gardens, Garden Block/Main Street Planters, Urban Farms, Public Space Plantings, and Environmental Initiatives.

Volunteer judges will be chosen for their expertise and achievements. Entries will be judged during the summer on maintenance and horticultural practices, as well as variety, color, and suitability of plantings. Design and total visual effect will be considered, with extra points awarded for creativity and sustainable practices.

The deadline to enter the PHS Gardening and Greening Contest is June 30. Winning gardeners will be invited to an awards reception. For more information and to enter the contest, please click here.








Fabulous Food and Delicious Drinks Being Served in the Pop Up!

pop9aThe Pop Up Garden is turning into the place in Center City to meet friends, grab a bite, and sip a cool drink! We’re excited that the Garces Group is serving a special menu to garden visitors, with offerings that include a house-smoked turkey sandwich with red onion marmalade and avocado aioli on seven-grain bread and a chopped salad of romaine, arugula, cucumber, organic chicken, candied pecans, and cherry tomatoes with honey-lime dressing. And does anything say “summer” more than their South Philly dog: a Hebrew National hot dog with caramelized onions and Cheese Whiz on a potato roll?

The “grab and go” menu features manchego cheese and truffle lavender honey; pretzel bites with house-made mustard; smoked eggplant hummus with baby carrots and asparagus, and more. Grab a few friends and have a small plates tasting party!  As recently noted, “The beer garden offers local craft beer and cider including Yards Philly Pale, Victory Summer Love, and Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Commonwealth Cider. Yards root beer is available as a non-alcoholic option, or spike it with one of several flavored vodka selections.” Wine, frozen margaritas, infused water, strawberry lemonade, and iced tea are some of the other beverage options.

Just want to stop in after a show for something sweet? Desserts include pie in a jar (blueberry lemon, strawberry basil, and chocolate peanut butter) and ice cream sandwiches (dark chocolate cherry cookie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip walnut cookie with chocolate ice cream). I sought a dessert recommendation from a four-year-old Pop Up visitor who was contentedly eating an ice cream sandwich. When asked if he thought I should buy one he replied, “No! I want to save them for me!”

I had a pie in a jar instead.


At Bryn Mawr College, the Trees Speak for Themselves

“You will find something more in woods than in books.” —St. Bernard (1090 – 1153)

For an educational institute like Bryn Mawr College, the quote sends more than just a philosophical message. In an era of technology when even libraries can be virtually accessed off campus through websites and learning takes place online as much as in class, the college decided that campus trees should also get digitized. So to celebrate the end of classes for the semester and get energized for the exams week, Bryn Mawr students participated in an active outdoor project to re-label each of their campus’s trees with a unique QR code.

A tree label with QR code

The idea is to invite people on campus, from students to visitors, to learn more about the trees through the advance of technology. Each campus tree has a label with a Quick Response Code (QR code), scan-able on any smart phone, which will then lead to a web page with detailed information about the tree. Previously, the labels only had the trees’ names on them, and even a tree enthusiast would find it hard to memorize the scientific name of a tree to look up and learn about it later. Now with these QR codes, these Bryn Mawr trees can finally speak for themselves.

The Bryn Mawr campus in spring

“Each tree on campus carries a story and a piece of the college’s history behind it”, says Ed Harman, director of grounds at Bryn Mawr College.  “So we think that it is important to also provide students and visitors on campus with a chance to learn about the trees and appreciate them the same way we do our beautiful buildings.” The webpage for each tree linked with the QR code includes not only information about the type of tree and its characteristics, but also a story of how it came to Bryn Mawr. Some of the trees were gifts from a previous class, or a replacement of a class tree. Some are as old as 1900.

The QR code feature is not the first project organized to connect students with the campus trees and landscape at Bryn Mawr. Last year, the college and the students also completed designing a Campus Tree Map, and a tree tour using this map as a guide has been introduced to parents and visitors to Bryn Mawr campus. The college has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA for these outstanding student services project to promote more active student-tree relationship on college campuses.