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The Flower Show

PHS Staff Share Their Favorite Plants in Philadelphia's Public Gardens

August 22, 2023

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phs pop up south street

Welcome to the vibrant world of the free public gardens and landscapes across Philadelphia that are maintained by PHS. Delve into the lush tapestry that our dedicated gardening staff meticulously tends to, as they unveil their personal connections to the featured plants. From the delicate blooms of Logan Square to the serene corners of PHS Meadowbrook Farm, join us in exploring our staff's favorite plants that bring these gardens to life this summer. 

Public Gardens & Landscapes Team 

Nicole Keys, one of PHS’s seasonal gardeners, finds inspiration in Salvia nemorosa 'Marvel Rose,' a captivating sage hybrid. Thriving in both full sun and part shade, this perennial wonder paints the landscape with its vibrant pink hues. Enjoy its beauty at the Sculpture Garden! 

salvia nemorosa rose marvel 2023 stock image

Brenna Fletcher, a seasonal gardener at PHS appreciates the vivid charm of Cosmos bipinnatus 'Rubenza.' Native to Mexico, this annual beauty thrives in full sun, gracing the landscape with its captivating presence. Don’t miss your chance to see it at the Drexel Gateway Garden or the PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street. 

cosmos bipinnatus rubenza july 2023 logan

Design and Procurement Manager Leah Blanton draws inspiration from Magnolia macrophylla, the majestic bigleaf magnolia. Native to southeastern North America, this deciduous tree thrives in both full sun and part shade with its large fragrant flowers and tropical-like leaves. See it featured at the PHS Pop Up Garden at Manayunk. 

magnolia macrophylla 2022 stock image

Sam Keitch, PHS’s design and procurement manager, embraces the vibrant spirit of Canna 'Australia' with its shiny, burgundy strap-like leaves that reach 6-8' tall and fire-engine red flowers. This hybrid beauty flourishes in full sun, becoming a living masterpiece in the garden. You can stop by to enjoy it at Logan Square. 

canna australia wiki

Meadowbrook Farm Staff 

Embark on a botanical journey with Glenn Ashton, the head gardener at PHS Meadowbrook Farm, as he tends to the vibrant Hesperaloe parviflora, the redflower false yucca. Hailing from Northeastern Mexico and southwestern Texas, this perennial beauty thrives under the sun's embrace with its evergreen leaves and clusters of red-pink flowers. Glenn's choice paints the landscape with hues that beckon hummingbirds and butterflies.  

hesperaloe parviflora red yucca 2023 july mbf

Jessye DePaola, the senior gardener at PHS Meadowbrook Farm, celebrates the dazzling beauty of Gladiolus 'Mohican' with its spikes of smokey pink-orange flowers. Originating from Africa, this annual marvel thrives under the full sun, casting a vibrant allure. You can see it in the Rose Garden at Meadowbrook Farm.  

gladiolus mohican 2023 july mbf

Richard DeStefano, the visitor specialist at PHS Meadowbrook Farm, takes delight in Cyperus papyrus, the playful papyrus. Native to Africa, this annual wonder thrives in full sun to part shade and reminds Richard of refreshing water misters from summer events.   

cyperus papyrus 2023 july mbf

Join Paige Dunlap, the junior gardener at Meadowbrook Farm as she cultivates the vibrant Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch,' the Mexican sunflower. Hailing from Mexico, this annual treasure thrives in full sun, casting a fiery glow across the landscape with its abundance of bright orange flowers with a yellow center. Paige's choice echoes her passion for infusing gardens with bursts of color and vitality. You can find it in the Queen’s Garden and the Display Garden at Meadowbrook Farm.  

tithonia rotundifolia torch 2023 july mbf

PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street Staff 

Meet Stef Stuber, the bartender at the PHS Pop Up Garden on 15th and South Street. Amidst the lush foliage of the Pop Up Garden at South Street’s back garden bed, Stef's heart resonates with Ribes sanguineum, the alluring flowering current. With origins stretching from British Columbia to Northern California, this deciduous shrub thrives under the embrace of full sun to part shade and is covered in pendant clusters for carmine-red, tubular flowers in the spring. Stef's choice reflects her appreciation for the beauty and functional benefits of nature, as she enjoys the gooseberry tree's berries and leaves, which hold both nutrition and intrigue.   

ribes sanguineum png 2023 stock image

Discover the world of Natalie Merritt, a bartender at the charming South Street garden. Her favorite plant is Clematis 'Rooguchi.' This vine graces the landscape with its captivating presence, thriving under full sun to part shade and bursting with color in the summer with its blue bell-like flowers. You can see it featured on the trellis by the bar at the PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street.  

clematis rooguchi 2023 july ss

PHS Pop Up Garden at Manayunk Staff 

Meet Janet Carley, the warm and welcoming face that has greeted you at the host stand at the PHS Pop Up Garden at Manayunk since our very first season. Amidst the beauty of the Pop Up Garden at Manayunk's front entrance, Janet's heart resonates with Lonicera sempervirens, the captivating trumpet honeysuckle. Native to the southeastern United States, this vine thrives in full sun and blooms with orange to red tubular flowers, especially in the spring. Janet's choice reflects her affinity for the delicate dance between hummingbirds and butterflies, creating a haven that harmonizes with both nature's wonders and the garden's hospitality. 

lonicera sempevirens trumpet honeysuckle 2023 june mnyk

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