December Events & the PHS Kids Patch

‘Tis the season to be jolly, that’s true. And if you’re looking to add a horticultural twist to your holiday, there are plenty of opportunities to do so across the region. Many places, including the Scott Arboretum and Greensgrow Farm, offer wreath-making workshops, ornament activities, and more.

The PHS Holiday Pop Store in Chestnut Hill also has holiday make-and-take sessions on Fridays, December 6 and 13. Get your greens looking gorgeous at these festive DIY workshops by choosing from a selection of wreaths and swags, then embellishing them with ornaments, accessories, and a beautiful holiday bow. Workshop gift prices start at $15.

Consult the lists below for everything you need to make merry this month!

December Gardening & Greening Events

December Kids Patch



PHS Annual Report for 2011 Now Online

PHS’s Annual Report for 2011 is now available online—and what a year it’s been! Just a quick glance through the report reveals how much PHS has managed to accomplish in a year, from an amazing Flower Show that transported visitors to a beautiful Springtime in Paris to the spectacular success of the Pop Up Garden at 20th and Market streets.

The report highlights PHS’s education programs—such as Tree Tenders and Garden Tenders–-greening initiatives—such as Plant One Million and City Harvest—and, of course, our contributors! If you’ve contributed to PHS in the past year, we want to thank you, so page through the report to see your name in print. We couldn’t do it without you!

Philadelphia Hosts CitiesAlive 2011: Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference

In case you haven’t heard, Philadelphia has been chosen from hundreds of cities to host CitiesAlive 2011: the latest and greatest iteration of the only conference in North America devoted to the art and science of green roof technology. CitiesAlive can help people and businesses reduce their emissions, save on energy costs, effectively manage stormwater runoff, and become generally greener, cooler, and healthier—starting (quite literally) from the top.

Flowering green roof
A beautiful flowering green roof in Toronto, host of CitiesAlive 2009

It’s no exaggeration to say that green roofs are one of the hottest innovations in green building today, not least because of their capacity to drastically reduce the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon with which anyone who has endured a Philadelphia summer should be intimately acquainted. And with flooding on everyone’s mind after Hurricane Irene’s brief (but exciting!) visit in August, an average green roof’s ability to absorb 60% to 100% of stormwater runoff should be all the more impressive.

You can even graze goats on a green roof... though maybe not in Center City

Who should be interested in attending CitiesAlive 2011?

Well, pretty much everyone.

Obviously architects, planners, designers, contractors, and anyone interested in sustainable building practices should come and check out new trends and innovations in the industry—but did you know that residential green roofs, planted and maintained by private homeowners, are an up-and-coming trend too?  Take a gander at this article to learn more about the phenomenon.

Is that cool or what?

The conference will take place starting November 30 and will run till December 3. A full roster of exhibits, speakers, and events is viewable here.

For more information about the conference and how to attend, visit http://citiesalive.org/. If you’re inspired by the conference and want to tour the largest green roof in Philadelphia—more than 45,000 square feet on top of the PECO building in Center City, pictured below–check it out here.

If you’re just curious and want to learn more, a wealth of information about green roofs and their many amazing benefits is available here.

Look at those sedums go!


Mt. Airy Gardener Goes Back to Nature

Polished landscapes used to be the mark of a meticulous gardener, but that’s not necessarily true anymore.

Nowadays, many homeowners have been switching out their tightly cropped gardens for a more natural look. Margie Ruddick, a landscape architect, has transformed her Mount Airy yard from what she says calls “a toxic layer of ChemLawn” into a naturalized landscape and registered wildlife habitat.

Margie brought in very few non-native species, choosing instead to work with the plants naturally growing in her garden. Her yard boasts everything from asters and oaks to ornamentals. The native plants create a lush landscape and provide cover and habitat for indigenous animals. Margie also constructed water gardens and brought in bird feeders to further encourage animal life.

Besides attracting animals, bringing in native plants has great environmental benefits as well. Plants thrive best in their native habitat, so Margie knows she won’t have to break out the hose or load up on fertilizers as often as she would for non-native species.

As if that wasn’t enough encouragement to do some naturalizing in your own backyard, Margie says she spends very little money on landscaping and upkeep. Economical and environmentally friendly—what’s not to like?

YES is Back for Another Summer

The Youth Environmental Stewardship program (YES), a partnership of PHS and the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, is gearing up for another great summer of greening. The program, now in its fifth year, is employing more than 50 high school students to landscape and beautify the following sites:

  • East Park/Mander Playground
  • Laura Simms Skate House/Cobbs Creek Park
  • Papa Playground/Morris Park
  • James Ramp Memorial Playground/Pennypack Park
  • Olney Rec Center/Tacony Creek Park
  • Hunting Park
  • Awbury Park and Recreation Center

YES participants will spend six weeks planting and tending annuals and perennials, removing weeds and invasive plants, and maintaining park trails. They will also learn proper use of landscaping tools, as well as tree identification and care. But it’s not all about the parks—students will also participate in team-building exercises with Outward Bound and Urban Blazers, and will enjoy activities such as hiking and yoga.

Funding for YES is made possible by PHS, Bank of America, the Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation, the ERM Group Foundation, the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, and Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Attend the PHS Young Friends Open House

YOU’RE INVITED to attend the PHS Young Friends Open House on Wednesday, May 19 from  5:30-7:30 pm. Held in the McLean Library at PHS headquarters (100 N. 20th St, Philadelphia), this is a perfect night for networking and getting involved with one of the city’s premier nonprofits.

In addition to food, drinks, and giveaways, the Open House is a great way to meet PHS president-elect Drew Becher. He’ll be on hand to discuss volunteer and social opportunities in parks and gardens. Besides PHS, several partnership organizations will be present, including: Meadowbrook Farm, Sustainable 19125 / New Kensington CDC, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Mill Creek Farm, and the Sustainable Business Network—just to name a few!

If you’re unfamiliar, PHS Young Friends is a vibrant group of adults age 40 and under who share a common interest in greening and the positive impact it has on the Philadelphia region. Members attend educational programs, participate in plantings and related activities, and meet new friends at networking events. While supporting and caring for the community, PHS Young Friends have a lot of fun in the process.

2010 PHS Young Friends calendar highlights include:

  • Tree plantings and park clean-ups
  • Happy hours at area bars and restaurants
  • Gardening, design and greening workshops
  • Bike rides and kayak tours
  • Green roof tours
  • And more!

What are you waiting for?  Come check us out! RSVP to Michelle Nicoletto at mnicoletto@pennhort.org.