As the air turns crisper and the leaves start to change, it's time to welcome the official start of fall in Philadelphia! This year, PHS is excited to unveil our "Seek and Stroll" walking tour, a self-guided adventure that showcases the brilliant fall foliage and floral beauty of Center City, Philadelphia, all carefully curated and maintained by PHS gardeners.
If you're eager to don your cozy sweaters, sip on pumpkin spice lattes, and immerse yourself in the vibrant colors of autumn, then this tour is tailor-made for you! Grab a friend or a loved one and let PHS guide you through a 45-minute walkable journey across four of our iconic public gardens and landscapes. We’ve even curated a garden-themed Spotify playlist of songs inspired by the uniqueness of each garden, alongside fall-themed tunes to enjoy as you walk from garden to garden.
Let's embark on this journey together as we explore each stop on PHS's Seek and Stroll tour and soak in these stunning fall gardens.
Click below for Google Maps directions and our Spotify Playlist!
Our journey begins at one of Philadelphia's most iconic locations — LOVE Park. Picture yourself in this playful, dreamy garden adorned with romantic flourishes. As you snap a photo with the iconic LOVE statue, take in the breathtaking fall plantings by PHS, featuring hues of red, orange, burgundy, pink, and green. This garden's fall palette creates a whimsical and dreamy atmosphere, evoking the enchantment of the season.
Keep an eye out for the yellow-burgundy gradient leaves and bright orange flowers of Canna 'Tropicana,' as well as the burgundy grasses with fuzzy tips, Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum.' To set the mood, let the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour," Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver," and Sufjan Stevens' "Mystery of Love" from the Spotify playlist transport you into the garden's unique ambiance.
From LOVE Park, continue down the Ben Franklin Parkway to another iconic spot — Logan Circle. Here, you'll find yourself completely immersed in stunning fall shades of red, burgundy, purple, burnt orange, and even hints of metallic silvers and whites. Located amidst the bustling city, this space is a lush urban jungle with plantings that evoke feelings of excitement and passion.
Look out for the bright red, upright Amaranthus 'Red Garnet,' spindly green leaves of Abelmoschus 'Chief Kubo's Pride,' and the broad, deep green glossy leaves of Ricinus communis 'Zanzibarensis.' The musical inspiration for this leg of the journey includes Guns N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild."
As we continue down the Parkway, our next stop is the Rodin Museum, a serene and ethereal garden grounded in shades of pink. This garden is designed to celebrate the harmony between nature and sculpture, offering an otherworldly experience. During the fall season, enjoy tones of pink, magenta, white, green, and gray merging seamlessly.
While you explore, see if you can spot the delicate, pink-purple Agastache 'Ava,' vibrant fuchsia flowers of Anemone x hybrida 'Pamina,' and the lacey floral clusters of Cleome hasselerana. Let the Psychedelic Furs' "Pretty in Pink," Aerosmith's "Pink," and Frank Ocean's "Pink + White" from the Spotify playlist enhance your visit.
Our final stop takes us to Eastern State Penitentiary, nestled in the heart of one of Philadelphia's most popular neighborhoods — Fairmount. Beautiful gardens surround the Penitentiary, featuring a variety of grasses, native and pollinator plants, and fall colors of tawny, brown, silver, grey, taupe, and rust. This garden embodies a wild, austere, urban prairie vibe perfect for the autumnal season.
While you explore, keep an eye out for the feathery grass, Nasella tenuissima, the jungle-like green leaves of Rhus glabra, and the vibrant yellow-orange fruits of Rosa sp. Let Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," Sublime's "Doin' Time," The Eagles' "Take it Easy," and Luke Combs & Billy Strings' "The Great Divide" from the Spotify playlist set the tone for your adventure.
After experiencing the beauty of fall through PHS's Seek and Stroll tour, don't forget to capture the magic and share your photos! Use the hashtag #PHSSeekandStroll on Facebook (@Pennsylvania Horticultural Society), X (@PHSgardening), and Instagram (@phsgardening) to connect with fellow nature enthusiasts.