Author Archive

SLUGFEST – A New “Flower Show” Mystery Novel

July 11, 2012

Rosemary Harris is a longtime volunteer at the Philadelphia International Flower Show, as well as author of the popular “Flower Show” mystery series. Her latest is Slugfest and here’s the synopsis from

“Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated Rosemary Harris is back with her fourth Dirty Business mystery, Slugfest, set at a legendary Northeast flower show where more than the plants are dying.

“When Paula Holliday agrees to act as exhibit manager for a reclusive artist she’s expecting a laidback weekend picking up gardening tips. She doesn’t expect to be knee-deep in horticultural sabotage, beheaded gnomes, homicide, and something called The Javits Curse. Then an overeager attendee is found floating in the river and Paula realizes she accidentally holds a clue to his murder—that’s when the garden gloves come off and this flower show turns into a real Slugfest!

“This time out Paula is joined by a colorful cast that includes Rolanda “Fort” Knox, a no-nonsense security guard; Guy Anzalone, Brooklyn’s Tumbled Stone King; Jamal Harrington, a high school kid with a black belt and a green thumb; JC Kaufman, a feisty lady who hates leaving home without her weapon of choice; and a slick marketing guy hawking the hottest new product at the show, a foolproof pest repellant that people are dying to get their hands on.

“With limited means and her ragtag crew, Paula must solve her toughest mystery yet and root out a killer before she finds herself pushing up daisies.”

Learn more about the book here. Seems like great beach reading to us!

Great Gardening at Hortulus Farm

July 26, 2011

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Located in Wrightstown in Bucks County, Hortulus Farm is both a retail nursery and one of the most spectacular properties in the Philadelphia region. Designed and owned by Renny Reynolds and Jack Staub, this rural paradise includes immaculate gardens, stunning vistas, and hundreds of gorgeous plants available for sale, including the numerous trained “standards” that are a Hortulus trademark.

Recently, PHS president Drew Becher visited Hortulus along with Flower Show designer Sam Lemheney and PHS VP of Operations Barrett Robinson (photo left to right: Sam, Drew, Jack, and Barrett). Hosting was Jack Staub, who showed not only the gardens and nursery areas, but also his stunning library–a converted barn, actually–that contains rare books, artwork, and sculpture. Elsewhere on the property the guests enjoyed sights of pheasants, doves, a happily grazing country horse, and a large blue heron that has been a regular visitor for years.

To learn about visiting Hortulus Farm, click here or call 215-598-0550. You can even enjoy more benefits by becoming a Friend of Hortulus Farm. Find out more online or, better still, when you visit this fabulous horticultural getaway yourself.

PHS Pops Up: Hawaiian Headquarters!

June 13, 2011

The streetscape around PHS headquarters is undergoing a tropical transformation. Palm trees, exotic plants, and new window displays are being installed to get everyone in the mood for the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show,Hawaii: Islands of Aloha,” March 4 to 11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The Show will highlight the unique culture of each of the six Big Islands through flowers, plants, stories, entertainment and art. The palms will be removed when the weather turns cold, and reappear in March 2012 at the Flower Show.

Daytime visitors to PHS headquarters can also visit the McLean Library, which houses one of the largest horticultural book collections in the country, and enjoy free wireless Internet. Stop by—we’d love to see you!

Local Restaurants Support the Pop-Up Garden

June 13, 2011

Everyone is abuzz about the new PHS Pops Up garden on the vacant lot at 20th and Market streets in Center City Philadelphia. This garden raises awareness for City Harvest, a PHS initiative that provides fresh, locally grown food to those in underserved communities.

Six highly respected chefs are lending their talents to this cause. Joining the project are Daniel Stern of R2L, Guillermo Tellez of Square 1682, Chris Scarduzio of Table 31, Michael Schulson of Sampan, Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo, and Lynn Rinaldi of Paradiso, all of whom will create special dishes using the garden’s bounty and donate proceeds back to City Harvest.

Throughout the summer we’ll share delicious recipes from these accomplished chefs. In the meanwhile, check out their impressive bios after the jump. And thanks to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), Philly Homegrown, and the Center City District for their help in promoting City Harvest.


PHS Pops Up at 20th & Market Streets

June 13, 2011

We’ve hinted about it on Facebook for the last few days, but it’s time to make it official. Less than a month after the carousel animals came to Logan Square, PHS is unveiling its latest Pop Up place—a new garden at 20th and Market streets!

PHS has transformed a vacant lot in bustling Center City into a peaceful oasis, providing a welcome reprieve from the workday. Starting this week, the garden will be open on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and everyone is welcome to visit.

Funding for this temporary green space comes courtesy of the William Penn Foundation, with additional assistance from the Brandywine Realty Trust and Independence Blue Cross. Six nearby restaurants are also participating by offering special dishes that use produce grown at the garden; proceeds will be donated to PHS for future greening initiatives.

The transformed landscape covers nearly 32,000 square feet and includes an herb and vegetable production area. The central goal for this downtown destination is to raise awareness for City Harvest, a PHS program that provides fresh produce for Philadelphians in need. Learn more here.  Visitors will also get to re-experience “écolibrium,” an exhibit of sustainable building and gardening originally created by Temple University Ambler for the 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show.

The PHS Pop Up Garden will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 pm with free, on-site horticultural workshops. (Topics will include container gardening, cut flowers, organic pest control, and more.)  Fitness classes, tours, and other special events will be planned throughout the summer as well.

We’ll share more about this exciting occurrence throughout this week and all summer long. Don’t miss out!

Learn about Plants…and Make New Friends

March 13, 2011

We hope your visit to the Flower Show included a trip to Hall B to learn about all the cool plant societies in the Delaware Valley region. From ivy to ferns to cacti to orchids, there’s a plant society to match everyone’s taste and interests, and it’s a great way to keep your “Flower Show momentum” going strong.

You’re 100% guaranteed to make new friends, too! As orchid expert Michael Bowell says, “We want to tell folks how to become member of the societies, since it’s as much about meeting people and having fun as it is about growing great plants.”


The Roots of Tourism Ireland

March 13, 2011

The oak tree has had a cherished place in the Irish landscape in both ancient and modern times, and this exhibit from Tourism Ireland highlights the tree’s role in fairy lore. The loss of oaks is a major issue in contemporary Ireland, and the exhibit encourages the replanting of these sacred trees. You’ll also see this strange-but-wonderful light effect.

And don’t forget to see Tourism Ireland in the bustling Marketplace section of the Show! Hurry, the Show closes today!

Restoring the City with Delaware Valley College

March 13, 2011

Delaware Valley College’s display shows a post-industrial site converted into an thriving urban farm. Creative, inexpensive, and high-impact, this exhibit proves that a deteriorated vacant lot can become viable land. See it for yourself before the Show closes…which means go now!

Students Shine at the Flower Show

March 12, 2011

This year, the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades (106 S New Middletown Rd, Media, PA 19063) built an enchanting bayou garden for Flower Show visitors.

The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana is regarded as the largest forest-river swamp in North America and is home to a fantastic variety of plants that are hardy enough to live in the Philadelphia region. From the bald cypress and river birch to the buttonbush, swamp azalea, summer sweet clethra and Virginia sweetspire, the native growth of the bayou has tremendous value to northern gardens.

Across the aisle, the students at W. B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences (7100 Henry Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19128) crafted “A Tale of Two Cities,” revealing the horticultural link between Paris and Philadelphia. This includes the beautiful thoroughfares: the Champs-Elysees and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The design also incorporates red maples, red oaks, and sweet gum trees under-planted with springtime bulbs, annuals and perennials.

Up next, the Horticulture Academy at Abraham Lincoln High School has partnered with Monrovia to follow the journey of President Thomas Jefferson, who was appointed the Minister to France early in his career and later introduced many new plants to the US. He brought these specimens to the gardens at Monticello, his estate in Virginia, and today these horticulture-minded students are bringing it to life on the floor the Pennsylvania Convention Center.


Smith & Hawken

March 12, 2011

At 25 feet tall and 25 feet wide, the Smith & Hawken Collection for Target showcase is the largest living, vertical garden ever created for the Flower Show. The display features more than 2,500 plants and trees and depicts a backyard landscape—including outdoor patio furniture—turned on its side! The lush garden wall also serves as a backdrop for Smith & Hawken tools, furnishings, décor, and accessories exclusively available at

Don’t miss you opportunity to see this gravity defying exhibit. Remember, the Show closes tomorrow!

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