By Will Sulahian and Marion McParland
Protecting natural habitats is vital for a healthy living environment, not only for humans, but also for plants and animals. Without the essentials ── food, water, shelter, and space ── life cannot thrive. As illustrated at this year’s Flower Show, “HABITAT: Nature’s Masterpiece,” habitat can take shape in many forms. While Flower Show guests enjoyed extravagant exhibits related to this topic, creating a healthy and beautiful habitat isn’t something reserved only for professionals. PHS urges gardeners of all levels to do your part in creating, contributing to, and protecting natural habitats. Here, a closer look at a few of the unique habitats at this year’s Flower Show.
Jeff Lorenz of Narberth-based Refugia Design Ltd. designs functional landscapes to be ecologically beneficial, beautiful, and resilient. His exhibit, “The Sanctuarium,” was one of the winners of the PHS Gardening for the Greater Good Award at this year’s Show. Lorenz advocates for his clients to bring nature back to their neighborhood. “I encourage clients to transition from high-maintenance green lawns to alternative landscapes that do not need to be frequently watered or mowed,” says Lorenz. “I use native plants that require less watering and fertilizing, and that help maintain a balance with other aspects of the ecosystem.” This year’s Flower Show exhibit featured native perennials, shrubs, and trees – all ideal for pollinators and wildlife to call home and sets a great foundation for those interested in incorporating native plants into their garden.
Another eye-opening exhibit at this year’s show, “Painted Threats” by WRT, LLC focused on the importance of designing places to enhance both the natural and social environment. Their exhibit, “Painted Threats,” also won the PHS Gardening for the Greater Good Award for their environmental efforts. However, WRT’s work goes far beyond their stunning Flower Show display of hot pink painted Phragmites, a common and invasive reed that reduces biodiversity. “Painted Threats” highlights the benefits of tidal freshwater habitats while identifying some of the major threats such as “Ghost Forests,” freshwater trees killed by the intrusion of salt water brought on by the warmer temperatures of climate change, and “Runoff Pollution,” discarded garbage that threatens water quality, endangering native habitats and local wildlife.
Habitat means something different to everyone. In fact, one very resourceful duck took matters into her own beak when she decided to make herself at home in the H of the HABITAT sign at this year’s Flower Show! This setting at FDR Park provided everything she and her ducklings will need: shelter, food, water, and space. The duck will be re-homed by an ornithological group that worked with Subaru on their Flower Show exhibit.
The above are just some of the important environmental topics seen at this year’s Flower Show. Let PHS guide you on your gardening and growing journey with resources and workshops as you create your own habitat at home.