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The Flower Show

New Summer Plants and Programs to Enjoy at PHS Pop Up Gardens

July 20, 2023

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south street pop up summer 2023

As the summer season unfolds, the PHS Pop Up Gardens at South Street and Manayunk have undergone a breathtaking transformation. Overflowing with a wide variety of captivating plants, these newly adorned spaces offer guests an opportunity to immerse themselves in nature's beauty while indulging in delicious food and cocktails with friends (both furry and human!).  

But the experience doesn't end there. Both Pop Up Gardens are also hosting a series of engaging gardening programs and events throughout the summer season. From botanical-themed crafts to photography lessons, these workshops are designed to inspire and educate. Take a sneak peek into the beautiful plants awaiting your discovery and get a preview of the enriching workshops that will expand your gardening skills. Get ready to bask in the summer splendor of the PHS Pop Up Gardens! 

New Plants Popping Up on South Street 

The South Street Garden looks incredibly lush and feels quite jungle-like, thanks to all the exquisite tropical plants filling the many pots and hanging baskets in the space. 

cyathea australis south st summer 23 plant
Cyathea australis ‘Australia Tree Fern’


Cyathea australis ‘Australia Tree Fern’  

Tree ferns are some of the oldest plants on earth, dating back to the Jurassic and Triassic Periods! Cyathea australis, native to southern Australia, has beautiful light green fronds that can grow up to 12 feet long. The trees can be spotted throughout the South Street Garden, planted in shady nooks with well-draining, organic, rich, and moist soil. One of the garden staff’s favorites, this fern unfurls new leaves from the center of the plant and has a furry-like trunk. 

licula spinosa south st summer 23 plant
Licuala spinosa ‘Fan Palm’

Licuala spinosa ‘Fan Palm’  

Licuala spinosa is a slow-growing palm native to Southeast Asia where it is found in low, wet areas near the coast and riverbanks. The bark and beautiful, pinwheel-shaped leaves have many uses in countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, and Borneo – in the fabrications of hats, raincoats, roofs, in the preparation of various foods, and in combination with other plants as a treatment for tuberculosis. 

This was one of the plants repurposed from the Entrance Garden at the 2023 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. PHS’s design and procurement staff from the Public Gardens and Landscapes team brought the central feature to life for the Show, while keeping in mind how plants can find a second home in our public gardens. Housed at Meadowbrook Farm during the transition period, these plants were replanted in the Pop Up Garden once the weather was warm enough. 

New Plants Popping Up in Manayunk 

The garden beds in the Manayunk Pop Up Garden, filled with Native North American plants, are in full bloom, bursting with color and brimming with pollinators. The Oak Savannah-inspired bed (past the garden entrance to the left) represents an eco-type common to the Mid-West with Oak as the dominant tree and warm-season grasses and wildflowers filling the spaces between. This area in the garden is especially impressive at this time of year.

echinacea pallida
Echinacea pallida ‘Pale Purple Coneflower’

Echinacea pallida ‘Pale Purple Coneflower’  

The herbaceous Pale Purple Coneflower blooms its showy flowers at the start of summer and is regularly visited by butterflies and hummingbirds that enjoy its nectar. Later in the season, birds like goldfinches are drawn to the large seed heads of the flower. For centuries, the plant was used by Native Americans as medicine and is still used today in teas and other supplements. 

rudbeckia maxima
Rudbeckia maxima ‘Great Coneflower’




Rudbeckia maxima ‘Great Coneflower’  

The striking Great Coneflower is one of the largest Rudbeckias, rising to 7 feet. It is sometimes referred to as “cabbage coneflower” because its long leaves have the same silvery blue coloration of a cabbage in the spring before the plant begins sending up the flowering stems. Yellow-gold blooms are produced in early summer attracting bees, butterflies, and songbirds such as goldfinches and chickadees. 

Botantical Watercolor Workshop
Botantical Watercolor Workshop at the PHS Pop Up Garden South Street


Look Out for Upcoming Workshops at the Pop Up Gardens  

Keep an eye out for these exciting programs and events coming to the Pop Up Gardens later this summer.  

  • Teacup Garden Class -- Learn how to create a whimsical miniature succulent garden planted in a vintage teacup. It’s the perfect accent to place in your kitchen window or any other brightly lit area in your home. Register here for South Street or here for Manayunk.

  • Beat the Heat: All About Rock Gardens and Drought Tolerant Plants -- Join Andrew Bunting, Vice President of Horticulture at PHS, for tips on how to keep your plants happy and beautiful even in the hottest and driest times of summer. Register here for South Street or here for Manayunk.

  • Garden Yoga -- We are thrilled to offer monthly yoga classes for the first time at the Manayunk Pop Up Garden! This one-hour all-levels vinyasa flow, taught by Nicole Suppa, RYT(r) 200, is the perfect mix of cardio, strength training, stretching, and meditation. Register here!

  • Photograph Flowers Like a Pro -- Learn how to use what's in your back pocket to take professional-style photos of beautiful plants and landscapes. Join professional photographer Gab Bonghi at the PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street as she takes you through lighting, exposure, and composition. Register here!

Experience the Power of Plants 

The PHS Pop Up Gardens create a unique experience for countless visitors as they are surrounded by lush plants and diverse wildlife within the city. Each season, more than 100,000 people visit these gardens, witnessing the profound influence that plants can have. By choosing to explore either one or both of the Pop Up Gardens, you play a vital role in advancing PHS's mission to utilize gardening for the greater good of society. 

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