Archive for July, 2010

Cheddar It Forward!

July 22, 2010

Cabot, a longtime sponsor of the Philadelphia International Flower Show, has created a new initiative, Random Acts of Cheddar, to share cheddar and celebrate the cooperative spirit Cabot is founded upon.

Cabot Creamery, based in Vermont, is a farmer-owned cooperative with 100 percent of profits going to its famers. Random Acts of Cheddar affords its 1,200 farm families a way to thank others for supporting Cabot’s efforts to deliver the “World’s Best Cheddar.”

Over the past few months, Random Acts of Cheddar agents (dressed in plaid) have visited Boys and Girls clubs, firehouses, police departments and children’s shelters to share the farmers’ wishes, comfort and gratitude with cheddar. When the agents arrive, recipients know they have been randomly selected for a special thank you!

Click on the logo below to participate in Random Acts of Cheddar and nominate a deserving local hero, friend or family member who makes your world (and the world around you) a better place to live.

Talking 2011 With Beautiful Blooms’ Donna O’Brien

July 12, 2010

Even though 2010’s Philadelphia International Flower Show took place just a few months ago, the show’s organizers and exhibitors are already at work on 2011’s show. One such exhibitor is Beautiful Blooms owner Donna O’Brien. Anyone who attended 2010’s show surely remembers Beautiful Blooms’ innovative hanging “Global Terrain,” which snagged the Award of Excellence. Donna says she was happy with the end result of the buzzed-about display, but plans to change it up for 2011, keeping her design fresh and modern.

Donna will draw on her knowledge of the fashion industry as a starting point for next year’s “Springtime in Paris” theme. Before starting Beautiful Blooms, Donna graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked for Seventeen magazine, Esprit, and Liz Claiborne. Her time in the industry honed her eye for mixing textures and colors, which will surely come into play next year, as Donna plans to include Chanel-inspired color blocking in the 2011 Beautiful Blooms display. Donna cites Chanel’s classic elegance as her number-one influence, with other inspirations including the Pompidou Centre and the French countryside aesthetic. To see how these concepts come together, be sure to check out Beautiful Blooms at the Flower Show next March.

Waldor Orchid Envisions French Perfume Shop for 2011 Flower Show

July 9, 2010

In one of Waldor's seven greenhouses, Walt Off and Nancy Burke are dreaming up an elegant exhibit for "Springtime in Paris."

On the tail end of a July heat wave, Waldor Orchids in Linwood, N.J., was humming with activity. Sales have been brisk on eBay, where rare orchids can go for $200 to $400 over the course of three-day auctions, explained Walt Off.  His son Dave recently had his best week ever on the online marketplace. Waldor’s flowers are particularly popular among collectors in Texas and California, though Internet buyers come from throughout the U.S.

Since the 1930s, the Off family has been an integral part of the Philadelphia International Flower Show, and they have fascinating plans already under way for the 2011 presentation, “Springtime in Paris.” (more…)

YES We Can

July 7, 2010

Seven parks and recreation sites across Philadelphia will get a little greener this summer, thanks to more than 50 high-school students employed in a green job program that will landscape and beautify their neighborhoods.

Now in its fifth year, the Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) program, a partnership of PHS and the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, will include groups of eight students working at the following sites:

• East Park/Mander Playground, 2140 N. 33rd St.

• Laura Simms Skate House/Cobbs Creek Park, Cobbs Creek Pkwy and Walnut St.

• Papa Playground/Morris Park, 68th St. and Lansdowne Ave.

• James Ramp Memorial Playground/Pennypack Park, 3300 -3400 Solly Ave.

• Olney Rec Center/Tacony Creek Park, E. Champlost St. and A St.

• Hunting Park, 9th Street and Old York Road

• Awbury Park and Recreation Center, 7001 Germantown Ave.


Caring for Trees in a Drought

July 7, 2010

Facing 100 degree temperatures in Philadelphia this week, we thought we share some tips for how to care for your trees in this heat.


  • Water is crucial for your tree’s survival, particularly during the first year after planting. Water deeply and slowly.
  • Water your tree when the soil is dry beneath the mulch. Apply approximately 15-20 gallons of water once a week from March until the end of October, and twice a week during periods of no or little rain.
  • Trickle water onto the soil surface using a hose, or allow water to seep from a bucket with small holes in the bottom or a “tree gator.”
  • The best time to water is before 9 a.m. – during a drought emergency this even may be the law!


  • Trash can prevent water from reaching your tree’s roots, and cause a decline in your tree’s health. Substances like motor oil, de-icing salt, detergent, and urine can kill your tree.
  • Clean the area around your tree periodically and prevent toxic substances like dog pee, leaking garbage, car oil or de-icing salt from entering the soil.


  • Tree roots require water and air for survival. Compacted soil and cemented pits prevent water and air from reaching tree roots.
  • Avoid compacting the soil around the tree’s roots: don’t pile trash, walk or drive over them.
  • Never cement over the surface of your tree pit.
  • Bark is necessary for protecting the trunk and maintaining tree health.
  • Keep car doors, dogs, and bicycles away from the trunk to avoid potential bark wounds.
  • If you lay dry brick or stone around your tree, keep the material at least 6 inches away from the trunk and check each year to maintain this space (pavers placed too close to the trunk can strangle the bark as the trunk gets wider).

Remove Stakes and Straps

  • Straps left on your tree for longer than a year may cut into the bark and strangle the tree
  • Remove and discard stakes and straps one year after planting.


  • Cultivating the soil surface around your tree encourages water and air to enter the soil.
  • Spring is a good time to cultivate the soil around your tree
  • If the soil surface around your tree becomes compacted, loosen the first few inches of soil and break up any large clumps. Avoid damaging any large woody roots.

Weed and Mulch

  • Weeds and grass have extensive root systems that compete with trees for limited resource like water during a drought!
  • Mulch helps conserve water, it reduces the regrowth of weeds and grass, keeps roots cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, prevents lawn mower disease and soil compaction.
  • Maintain a 2-4” layer of mulch around your tree, taking care not to pack it against the trunk. Always remember to weed and cultivate the soil, before mulching. Recommended mulches include: wood chips, composted leaves, and pine needles.

Plant Annual Flowers

  • As flowers wilt in the summer heat and drought, they will remind you to water your tree. Annuals have shallower root systems than perennials and do not compete as vigorously with trees.
  • Plant flowers such as impatiens, begonias, marigolds, and vinca around your tree.

Prune only as a last resort

  • Pruning a tree during a drought can stress it our even more by forcing it to put energy into healing the wounds caused by the pruning cuts. Pruning exposes previously shaded leaves to the strongest rays of the sun, potentially burning them.
  • With the exception of dead, diseased or damaged branches pruning during a severe drought should be limited.

DO NOT Fertilize

  • One of the first reactions that many individuals have when plants are under stress is that the plants should be fertilized. Many fertilizers contain high salt indexes and this salt can exacerbate drought problems on plants

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