Archive for July, 2009

The Little Garden That Could

July 30, 2009
Las Parcelas kitchen

To get to Las Parcelas via public transportation, you can take the El to the Dauphin Street stop and walk west along Dauphin Street. Take a left on Palethorpe. The Young Friends will meet in the garden in the middle of the block on the west side.

If you are looking to garden in a gem of place, PHS Young Friends are looking for volunteers for a work day at the gorgeous and unique Las Parcelas gardens of Norris Square in North Philadelphia on Aug. 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will learn about the amazing history of Las Parcelas, located on the 2100 block of N. Howard Street. The group will go find some tasty local food afterward. To RSVP, please send an e-mail to

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. They attend educational programs, participate in planting and related activities and meet new friends at networking events. While supporting and caring for the community, they have a lot of fun in the process. Check them out on Facebook.

Casita 32AYou don’t have to be a member of PHS to become a Young Friend, but PHS membership offers several perks including tickets to the Flower Show. Proceeds of the Flower Show go to PHS’s outreach programs including Philadelphia Green, the largest urban greening program in the country. 

 PHS memberships include:


Drum Roll, Please

July 30, 2009

Styrax japonicus ‘Sohuksan’ Emerald Pagoda. Photos Courtesy of JC Raulston Arboretum

We all know the Flower Show is a great place to learn about plants and flowers. Coming to the Show this year is a special display and workshop about PHS’s Gold Medal Plants, which are chosen for their superb eye-appeal, performance and hardiness in the growing region of Zones 5-7, and for their beauty in many seasons, whether it be their foliage, flower or structural form.

Here is a list of the five outstanding woody plants as the 2010 winners of the Gold Medal Plant Awards. They were announced by Joe Ziccardi Jr., coordinator of the PHS Gold Medal Program, at the Woody Plant Conference held July 17 at Swarthmore College.


Jamie Does Ambiance

July 29, 2009

Jamie Rothstein1

In 2008, Jamie Rothstein invited  Flower Show visitors inside and outside an elegant mansion in New Orleans’ Garden District. In 2009, she led us over a bridge on a Venetian canal to a hidden garden of a nobleman’s palace.  For 2010, Jamie will take us half a world away. (more…)

A Trip to the Waldor Islands

July 27, 2009

Walt Off (far right) guides a tour for PHS writer Betsie Blodgett (from left), Show Designer Sam Lemheney, and Shows Operations Manager Bob Felke.

Wandering through the seven greenhouses of Waldor Orchids in Linwood, N.J., marveling at these ethereal flowers that seem to float in air, it’s hard to comprehend how the grower is able to safely pack the delicate stems for shipment.

Walt Off assures a troupe of guests from PHS that packing isn’t the problem (use plenty of newspaper). Weather is. Extreme hot or cold can wreak havoc on a crate of orchids making its way across the country or around the world. But they almost all make it to their destinations in good health.


Fairy Tale

July 27, 2009


A little fairy just told us that Ace of Spades Garden Artist Alice Calhoun is working on new flower faeries and dancers for the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show, “Passport to the World.”  The Show will feature several countries including India, Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, Singapore and New Zealand. To see a picture of  Alice’s Brazilian dancers, visit her website

alice,jpgA longtime Show vendor, Alice surprises visitors with her handmade artistry every year. To see a slide show of her work, including pieces featured in major exhibitor Jamie Rothstein’s floral designs over the years, please visit here.To learn more about the Flower Show’s marketplace, visit here.

Modern MODA of Transportation

July 24, 2009
MODA Botanica's award-winning exhibit at the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show

MODA Botanica's award-winning exhibit at the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show


coffeecupEven the coffee mugs are cool at MODA Botanica.

But what else would you expect from a floral design company that doesn’t like to follow the trends?

MODA, which specializes in European-inspired event design and production, will be returning to the Flower Show for their second year. The team, made up of designers Bailey Hale and Armas Koehler, and event-planner Judith Campbell, walked away in 2009 with “Best in Show” for their floral display garden, “Modo Moderno,” as well as  The PHS Award of Excellence for a modern floral display.

“We look at it as a runway show,” said Koehler, perched on a window sill in their shop nestled on the corner of 13th and Pine streets in Center City. “Flowers are beautiful as they are. Our job as designers is to interpret them in new forms and  concepts. We like to take them out of the vase.”

New to the Flower Show as a business last year, all three have worked as freelancers for exhibitors in the past. The trio participated in Macy’s Flower Show in Philadelphia in April.


You Say Tomato

July 21, 2009


I’m keeping a tight watch on my tomatoes this year after news has surfaced of late blight.

So far so good. My tomato starts came from PHS President Jane Pepper herself as well as a neighborhood friend so I’m hoping that that good luck will keep them healthy.

As you may know, the Flower Show is great place to gather information on all things gardening, including vegetables. Dozens of lectures and demonstrations are being planned as we speak and vegetables will take an even bigger role at the 2010 Show, “Passport to the World.”

After little success last summer, I changed the location of my raised bed in my row-house back yard to a new spot with more sun. With the early rain, my plants are taller than ever. I’m still a beginner so I keep my expectations low. Last year, I only produced two tomatoes. This year, I’m going for 10!

For tips on how to check for late blight, read Virginia Smith’s Philadelphia Inquirer article here.

Enter the Flower Show!

July 17, 2009


Thinking about entering the Horticulture Classes in the upcoming Show, Passport to the World? Try your hand at growing bulb selections or challenge plants, now confirmed for the 2010 Show.

Look for a complete listing of all competitive classes in the 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show Exhibitor’s Guide. The Exhibitor’s Guide, entry forms, and new handbooks for Horticulture and Artistic class exhibitors can be downloaded from the Flower Show website beginning in September here.

Horticulture judging days are:

Saturday, February 27

Tuesday, March 2

Friday, March 5


Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens Featured

July 16, 2009

Chester County Dwell, a new online magazine,  just posted a story about Flower Show exhibitor Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens. Check it out here.

A Backyard Visit with Michael Bruce

July 16, 2009

Michael Bruce with one of his favorites, a Chinese Parasol Tree in his Westmont, N.J. back yard.

 If Michael Bruce could have his way, the white picket fences of the world wouldn’t be white or straight, but curved into the shape of an S so neighbors could create gardens in the pockets and enjoy much more interesting spaces.

 Bruce, owner of Westmont-N.J.-based Michael Bruce Florist, knows that may not become a reality anytime soon. Still, he’ll have plenty of other opportunities to unleash his designs.

 Bruce will be returning for his seventh year as a major exhibitor for the 2010 Flower Show “Passport to the World.”  Creating a 1,000-square-foot space, he’ll take his inspiration from a familiar saying and ideas include a transparent house inhabited by live butterflies and surrounded by boulders and stone.

 “To me, this is art, interpreting a feeling, a phrase. You can make a statement and still entertain people,” he said. “You’re just going to want to stand and stare.”


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