Archive for August, 2011

Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Pineapple Paradise

August 31, 2011
Of all the jobs in world, few are as enviable as that of Sam Lemheney, the Flower Show design director. There is a lot of pressure, but a lot of perks too! Earlier in the year Sam went to Hawaii to get inspired for the 2012 Show. We’ll share his adventures with you here on the blog. Up first, the Dole Plantation. Take it away, Sam!

If thoughts of Hawaii make you thirsty for a tropical, fruity drink, you’re not alone. My days in Oahu brought me to the Dole Plantation, which offers “The Complete Pineapple Experience.” What started out as a humble fruit stand in 1950 has become one of Hawaii’s top tourist attractions!

James Dole founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1900, and the Dole Plantation celebrates Hawaii’s role in popularizing the fruit all over the world. On my visit, I rode the Pineapple Express, a vintage-style train that takes passengers on a narrated tour of the working agricultural lands. I also got turned around in the three-acre Pineapple Garden Maze.

Now that I’m back in Pennsylvania, I think about my visit to the Dole Plantation each time I walk into work at PHS. In our first-floor office windows we put up signs promoting the 2012 Flower Show—the larger-than-life pineapple image on display looks good enough to eat!

I’ll be back soon to tell you about up-close look at exotic orchids. Until then!

Surf & Sun! PHS Goes to Hawaii, Nov. 2011

August 26, 2011

Get a jump-start on next year’s Flower Show and join PHS on a trip to tropical Hawaii! November 29 through December 8, 2011, will be 10 days full of flowers, luaus, and beautiful scenery—spent in the company of fellow garden lovers. PHS has gone to great lengths to make this the full Hawaiian experience, featuring stops in Maui, Oahu, and the “Garden Island” Kauai. More than the tourist routine, this trip provides a taste of traditional Hawaiian culture and cuisine.

The itinerary is packed, full of unforgettable sightseeing opportunities. But don’t worry, there will be plenty of chances for you to relax and soak up the ambiance. Highlights of the trip include…

  • Shangri La, the estate of American socialite and noted horticulturist Doris Duke
  • The fascinating Bishop Museum
  • Waimea Valley, located in the famed North Shore of Oahu

Don’t miss out on this amazing experience (and the chance to be the envy of all your friends at the 2012 Flower Show). Click here for additional information. To reserve your tickets today, contact Chela Klieber at 215-988-8775 or The deadline is September 16.

PHS Presents New Gold-Medal Winners

August 17, 2011

PHS has chosen four outstanding woody plants as the 2012 winners of the Gold Medal Plant Awards.

Since 1979, the Gold Medal program has honored and promoted woody plants of exceptional merit. Nominations for plants come from home gardeners, garden designers, horticulturists, landscape architects, nursery owners, propagators—just about anyone who loves trees, shrubs, and vines.

The winners are chosen for their superb eye-appeal, performance, and hardiness in the growing region of Zones 5-7. They also are judged for their beauty in many seasons, whether it be their foliage, flower, or structural form.

When home gardeners acquire a Gold Medal winner, they can be assured the plant will exhibit standards of excellence for hardiness, disease and pest resistance, and ease of growing when planted and maintained as recommended.

The 2012 Gold Medal winners are:

Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun™ (Cercis canadensis ‘JNJ’ PPAF) is a novel addition to the native eastern redbud roundup. Small-but-showy rosy orchid flowers climb the naked branches in early spring, attracting bees and butterflies. The distinctive bark is smooth tan with a yellowish cast. Emerging heart-shaped foliage is brilliant tangerine to apricot and reputed to hold its color well into fall, surpassing other gold-leaved redbuds. Heat tolerance, drought resistance, and cold hardiness are other desirable attributes.

Cornus officinalis ‘Kintoki’ (Japanese Cornel Dogwood) produces abundant clusters of radiant yellow flowers from March through April, blooming two weeks earlier than Cornus mas. Attractive exfoliating gray, brown, and orange bark develops with age. Reddish-purple, large, cherry-like, edible berries form by September. Fifteen feet high and just as wide, it is smaller than the species and puts on a spectacular display in full sun or partial shade.

Prunus lusitanica was first described by Linnaeus in 1753. The Portugal laurel is an evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 10 to 20 feet, but trees can grow up to 50 feet tall in the wild. Allowed to grow into a respectable cherry tree, it produces a profusion of gorgeous five- to ten-inch racemes or white flowers in late May, followed by small purple-red cherries that ripen to shiny black by autumn (caution: the leaves and berries are toxic). The shiny bright green foliage on red stems gains a bluish tinge in winter.

Viburnum x rhytidophylloides ‘Darts Duke’ is a superior selection prominent for its extra large, leathery, dark green leaves; massive 6 to 10 inch creamy-white flower heads in May; and heavy set of bright red fruit that changes to black in autumn. Growing 8 to 10 feet high with equal spread at a medium rate, this semi-evergreen shrub tolerates heavy shade or full sun and can potentially re-bloom in October if the season allows.

(Descriptions by Ilene Sternberg.)

Horticourt Stories: Trevose Horticultural Society

August 11, 2011

Meet the members of the Trevose Horticultural Society and join them at a club meeting. Learn how they first got involved with the Flower Show and watch as the “Dynamic Duo” teach some of the other members how to prepare a Show-ready plant.

August Activities for Kids and Families

August 10, 2011

Attention parents! Are your school-age children getting stir-crazy? Is the summer heat affecting their fragile minds? You’re not alone! Below are some fun activities that will get your family out of the house and re-awaken some brain cells before school starts up. You can thank me in advance!

August Activities for Kids & Families

Tiny Trackers, Garden Sprouts, & Nature Kids
Tyler Arboretum
Media, PA

Tyler Arboretum makes use of its grounds’ diverse resources in offering educational programs geared toward specific age groups: Teeny Tiny Trackers programs for three-year-olds, Tiny Trackers programs for kids ages 4 – 5, Garden Sprouts programs to introduce kids ages 4 – 5 to the world of plants and gardens, and Nature Kids offering opportunities for outdoor exploration for kids ages 6 – 9. details

Totally Terrific Treehouses Exhibition
Tyler Arboretum
Media, PA

Pack your favorite picnic lunch and stay all day exploring treehouses and celebrating the wonder of trees. details

Summer Camp at the Academy of Natural Sciences
Monday – Friday, August 1 – 26, 9 am – 4 pm
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Philadelphia, PA

Academy Explorers Camp invites campers to learn about natural science in a safe, fun, and engaging way. Each week of camp explores an exciting new theme (Scaly Science, Critter Connections, and Extreme Earth) and features an off-site field trip. For ages 5 – 12. details

Guided Wildflower Walks
Tuesday – Sunday, August 2 – 31, 2 – 3 pm
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve
New Hope, PA

See flowers and fruits in season and learn about history, habitats, and plant/animal interactions while enjoying the beauty of the preserve’s trails. details

Tiny Tot Summer Camp at the Academy of Natural Sciences
Wednesdays, August 10, 17 & 24, 10 – 11 am
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Philadelphia, PA

Younger children and their favorite adults can join in exploring nature through games, crafts, songs and museum explorations. Sessions are held in Outside In, the Academy’s children’s nature museum. For ages 3 – 4. details

Children’s Summer Reading
Thursdays, August 4 – 25, 10 – 11:15 am
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve
New Hope, PA

Parents and kids are invited to join in exploring nature’s alphabet. The group will read exciting books about the outdoors and take hikes through the preserve in search of the plants and critters in the stories. After the walk the children will make a nature craft to take home. For ages 3 – 7. details

Children’s Taiko Drumming Summer Camp
Monday, August 8 – Friday, August 12, 9 am – 3 pm
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Fairmount Park
Philadelphia, PA

Shofuso’s own taiko drumming group Kyo Daiko teaches campers ages 7 – 12 about this exciting Japanese musical form. details

Summer Science Splash: Water Biology
Thursday, August 11, 1 – 3 pm
The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Roxborough, Philadelphia, PA

Water is essential for all life. Discover how water fuels our own bodies, along with all animals and plants. View cells under a microscope and learn cool things, like how a fish’s gill pulls oxygen from the water. For ages 10 – 15. details

Arboretum Concert: Yosi and the Superdads
Thursday, August 11, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Azalea Meadow, Morris Arboretum
Philadelphia, PA

Join the “Rockin’ Band” in this lively and humorous concert featuring song’s from Yosi’s multi-award-winning CDs. Sponsored by WXPN Kids Corner. details

Peach, Princess and Pirate Family Festival
Saturday – Sunday, August 13 – 14, 1 – 4 pm
Camden Children’s Garden
Camden, NJ

Join the party for NJ’s favorite summer fruit with crafts, a planting activity, and a treasure hunt. Children are encouraged to dress in their favorite princess or pirate costume and join us for some themed crafts.  Enjoy Jersey peaches and peach products at the Peachy Concession Stand. details

Nature for the Young: Flap Your Wings and Fly Like a Bird
Monday, August 22, 10:30 – 11:30 am OR 2 – 3 pm
The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Roxborough, Philadelphia, PA

Birds fly high in the sky and sing on branches nearby. Children learn to sing the songs of our local feathered friends and imagine seeing the world through a bird’s eye. For children ages 3 – 5 and their parents and caregivers. details

Chocolate and Vanilla Family Festival
Saturday – Sunday, August 27 – 28, 1 – 4 pm
Camden Children’s Garden
Camden, NJ

A delicious daytime event dedicated to two of nature’s most flavorful plants. Vote for you favorite ice cream flavor, and take a tropical smell test.  Join in crafts, educational activities, and visit the Flavors of the Forest concession stand.  Enjoy chocolate and vanilla treats as you learn about these tropical flavors. details

Gardening Tips for Late Summer

August 4, 2011

Each season has its merits and late summer is no exception. While not as showy as springtime, August and September offer a host of rewarding gardening work that produces both beauty and bounty. Here are some tips from the staff at Meadowbrook Farm.

  • August is ideal for deadheading annuals and perennials. If they look worn out and straggly, cut back severely.
  • It may sound cruel, but cut dahlias while they’re in full bloom, preferably in the early morning. Slice stems diagonally and place the flowers in a vase for your indoor enjoyment.
  • If your cucumbers or squash are finished for the season, remove the vines from the garden. Otherwise they’ll get moldy and who wants that?
  • When September arrives, bring any container plants inside the house. Be sparing with fertilizer and don’t be alarmed by a bit of leaf drop—it’s perfectly normal.
  • Pick up bags of bulbs from Meadowbrook and get them in the ground. Daffodils need more time to establish roots, so plant them first. Tulips, on the other hand, can wait a while.
  • If you neglected your pruning duties, either do it in late fall or wait until spring. !

For more garden guidance, visit Meadowbrook Farm. And you can monitor the growth of this year’s monster pumpkins on Facebook. Can we beat last year’s record of 667 pounds?

Double Dose of Pops Up Fun on August 4

August 2, 2011

The PHS Pops Up Garden is a non-stop party, but Thursday, August 4 is shaping up to be the most noteworthy day yet! An afternoon gardening workshop and evening movie screening are a two-part combination that promises to be fantastically fun.

First up, at 12:30 pm, is the container gardening workshop offered by Philly Homegrown. In case you’re unfamiliar, Philly Homegrown®, is a program of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) that promotes the people, places, and flavors of the area’s 100-mile foodshed—from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to Amish Country to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Philly Homegrown website is well worth a visit. Its features include:

Meet the Makers, which connects you to the people leading Philadelphia’s local food movement, from farmers to vintners to restaurant owners

Now in Season, which identifies foods that are fresh, local and immediately available, and features recipes that use those seasonal ingredients

Food Tours helps you plan a whole day—or more—of local nourishment with themed itineraries

If you can’t attend on Thursday, Philly Homegrown has other Pops Up presentations on deck. A full schedule of events can be found here.

Moving on to the evening, at 8 pm PHS presents a free screening of  “Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks.” You may remember this documentary debuted at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last year.

If you missed it the first time, don’t let it happen again. This wonderful film chronicles the creator of New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted’s firm worked on the designs of many parks in this area too, including FDR Park and Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia; Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill; Washington Square in Center City; and other portions of Fairmount Park.

So clear your calendar and come to the PHS Pops Up Garden (twice!) on Thursday.

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