Archive for June, 2009

First Dates, Block Parties and More

June 26, 2009


This Just In:

We all know the Flower Show attracts top-notch floral and landscape designers who create large-scale features, but there are hundreds of individuals and garden clubs who compete in the smaller design and artistic arrangement classes. We just got word of the title’s for this year’s design classes.

Folks will create and compete for the coveted blue ribbon in:

Back Yards inspired by the the title, “Happy Birthday”

Balconies: “I Love a parade!”

Front Porches: “Block Party”

Miniature Settings: “My Little Corner of the World”

Store Windows: “Window Shopping”

Tables: “First Date”

Urns: “Flower Power”

Window Boxes: “Old World” and “New World”

The inspiration for this year’s design classes comes from celebrations, according to Show Designer Sam Lemheney.

Can’t wait.

McLean Film Series to Feature Flower Show Countries

June 24, 2009

GrimmHi Folks. Keep an eye out this fall for PHS’s McLean Library film series. The discussion series will focus on films from countries featured in the 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show, Passport to the World, including the Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, India and New Zealand.

The first film discussion is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 20, from 6 to 7 p.m., with a screening of the film in the library conference room starting at 4 p.m. Participants will discuss Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam’s “Grimm,” a dark retelling of the classic fairy tale, along with the animation short “Tulips Shall Grow.”

The group meets in the PHS McLean Library (100 N. 20th Street). Free and open to all, but pre-registration is requested. For a complete schedule and to register, contact Priscilla Becroft at or 215-988-8772, or visit the PHS online calendar.

If you want to check out “Tulips Shall Grow,” a 7-minute animation, click here:

October 20 Netherlands Grimm. Alex van Warmerdam, 2003Tulips Shall Grow. George Pal, 1942
November 17 South Africa The Gods Must be Crazy. Jamie Uys, 1980
December 15 Brazil The Emerald Forest. John Boorman, 1985
January 19 India Ashani Sanket / Distant Thunder. Satyajit Ray, 1973
February 16 New Zealand Whale Rider. Niki Caro, 2003
March 16 The World Home. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2009
April 1 Enchanted April. Mike Newell, 1992.
May 25 La Veuve de Saint Pierre/ The Widow of St. Pierre. Patrice Leconte, 2001

Ryan Howard Goes to Bat for Hunting Park

June 18, 2009

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The Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard announced the launch of his new foundation to improve the lives of disadvantaged families on June 17, and his first project is the revitalization of Hunting Park. The Ryan Howard Family Foundation is donating $50,000 to support efforts to revive the park in North Philadelphia.

Proceeds of the Philadelphia Flower Show support Philadelphia Green, the urban revitalization program of PHS. Philadelphia Green is working with the Fairmount Park Conservancy on the creation of a new master plan for Hunting Park as the coordinator of community engagement on the project.

At the announcement in the park on Wednesday, attended by dozens of fans of the Phillies slugger, Howard said his foundation will support programs in Philadelphia and in his hometown, St. Louis. “One of the first projects is the revitalization of Hunting Park,” he said, because he recognizes “the important role of the park in the community.”

The next meeting of the newly forming friends group of Hunting Park will be Saturday, July 11, at 10 a.m. in the Hunting Park Recreation Center, between 9th Street and Old York Road. Community members interested in helping clean, green and care for the long-neglected park are invited to attend. For more information, call Tammy Leigh DeMent, PHS Parks Project Manager, at 215-988-8870.

Calling All Greening Champions Across Pa., N.J., and Del.

June 17, 2009

CGAsignPHS is accepting entries through July 15 for its 2009 PHS Community Greening Award presented in partnership with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. The award acknowledges the efforts of those who have organized and improved their main streets, public parks, train stations, churches, schoolyards, libraries, traffic islands, and other sites. The contest is open to entrants in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

Entrants can call 215 988-8897 or download an entry form here, or email requests at

PHS Judges will evaluate the sites in July and August and consider plant variety, design, use of space, and horticultural practices. Selected groups receive a framed certificate along with an award sign to display at the site.

Go teams!

Honoring Life and Limb

June 15, 2009
President and CEO John M. McNeil, Maitreyi Roy, and Founder and Chairman Richard J Stephenson

CTCA President and CEO John M. McNeil, PHS's Maitreyi Roy, and CTCA Founder and Chairman Richard J Stephenson

There are several environmental reasons to plant a tree: clean the air, absorb storm water, cool a home, and increase property values.

And then there are other reasons, like 49-year-old mother-of-six, Pat Thrush.

On Friday, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society partnered with the Eastern Regional Branch of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America to plant trees and honor five-year cancer survivors at Ferko Playground, including Thrush. Read more about Thrush in a Sunday feature in the Inquirer.

The tree planting was the second time PHS added trees to “Survivor Grove.” The four new trees, Stewartia pseudocamellia or Japanese Stewartia, join last year’s grove of cherries.

“I felt so proud today,” said Maitreyi Roy, PHS’s vice president of programs, after the ceremony. “The outstanding work done by our staff to plan, design and implement this project came shining through.”

PHS looks forward to continuing a partnership with CTCA as well as future work at Ferko Playground and Juniata Park, which is part of PHS’s
Parks Revitalization Project. Several students will be working there this summer as part of the Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Program.


Ryan Howard Visits the White House Garden

June 15, 2009

So…I can’t help myself! I love Philadelphia and I love veggie gardening!


From the White House:
Ryan Howard of the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies recently got a tour of the new White House garden and spoke with White House chef Sam Kass about the importance of a healthy diet.

PHS President Jane Pepper to Retire in 2010

June 11, 2009

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Jane Pepper, who raised the stature of the Philadelphia Flower Show internationally and supported the expansion of the Philadelphia Green program into a national model for urban revitalization, has announced she will retire in spring 2010 after nearly three decades as president of PHS.

A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Pepper’s work with PHS began as a volunteer at the 1976 Flower Show. Then-President Ernesta Ballard hired Jane in 1979. Pepper became executive director in 1981 and president in 1985. During her tenure, the membership of PHS has doubled to 16,000 and the staff has grown from 28 to more than 100.

Pepper’s ability to attract support in every situation has led to partnerships with city and state governments, corporations and greening organizations in the region and across the United States.


Concert Kicked Off Park Improvements

June 8, 2009


PHS celebrated the completion of a great project this weekend – an innovative storm water management system at Liberty Lands Park. Hundreds enjoyed a new stage as the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association kicked off its first event of the summer, the Northern Liberties Music Festival. A new rain garden is designed to funnel run off from the street, keep it out of the city’s overburdened system and feed back to watering plants at the park.

The project, made possible by PHS, the Philadelphia Water Department and the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, was funded by more than $300,000 from the Pennsylvania departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources, $25,000 from Tower Investments and $3,500 from nearby restaurant the Standard Tap.

The Philadelphia Water Department's Jessica Brooks and PHS's Joy Lawrence.

The Philadelphia Water Department's Jessica Brooks and PHS's Joy Lawrence.

“This neighborhood treasure now has a high-tech system that will reduce storm water flow into the city’s system,” said Joan Reilly, senior director of PHS’ Philadelphia Green program. The proceeds of the Philadelphia Flower Show support PHS’s outreach programs, including Philadelphia Green. “Sustainable storm water management – rain gardens, rain barrels, and other non-traditional methods of controlling storm water- is an important next step in making Philadelphia one of the greenest cities in the country.”


Okra Pickles

June 5, 2009

Photo Credit:

If you like okra but aren’t crazy about the texture of the cooked variety, than try this recipe for pickles, says Robin Rifkin and Lynne Snyder of the Health Promotion Council.  Okra pickles are crunchy but don’t have to marinate for long.

The Health Promotion Council partners with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest program to bring nutrition workshops to food cupboards and gardens across the city.  City Harvest, one of several programs made possible by the proceeds of the Philadelphia Flower Show, provides fresh produce to those in need. Community gardeners receive vegetable starts from inmates in the Philadelphia Prison System, grow them and then donate the food to local shelters.

A few things about okra:

  • The popular stew that we call “gumbo” takes its name from an African word for okra.
  • Okra is a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Smaller pods that are 2 to 2-1/2 inches long are more tender.
  • Store for up to 3 days in a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. 

Recipe for Easy Okra Pickles                               Makes 6 Servings


Congratulations, Evan!

June 5, 2009


Congratulations to Evan Brown, a longtime volunteer for the Flower Show’s Garden Writers Association event, for his recent designation to Eagle Scout. Evan, who just graduated from Parkland High School and is heading off to the University of Pittsburgh in the fall, has been honored for his hours of service designing, installing and maintaining gardens at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Allentown.

Last year, Asbury UMC was awarded a Community Greening Award from PHS. Evan designed and planted more than 400 annuals in containers and beds each year for the last five years! Go Evan! Evan is the son of GWA officer Kirk Brown, and has done a wonderful job with registration for the annual Garden Writers Association Breakfast. We at PHS are grateful for all of his greening and volunteer efforts and wish him the best of luck.


Evan and Kirk Brown

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