By Will Sulahian
The PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street has returned for the season! This picturesque garden is a great place to enjoy appetizing food and drinks with friends and family while taking in the beauty of horticulture. This year, the garden has changed in appearance, bringing new colors and ambiance to the immersive space. New annuals, grasses, bulbs, and woodies are among the plant varieties ready to greet you. Read more about the new plants you will meet at this special garden.
One plant to look out for is Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’(pictured above). The name says it all, these flowers are a blast of purple and a treat to the eyes. When you see these spheres of purple flowers at the Pop Up Garden, don’t be surprised if you mistake them for a patch of big lollipops! Outside of looks, these alliums are good for the garden and the environment as well. ‘Purple Sensation’ flowers are great attractors for pollinators like bees, allowing them to help fertilize other plants and promote growth. These colorful orbs also serve as natural repellants for deer, squirrels, and more, making them a great addition to any garden. Talk about eye candy!
Another purple plant to be on the lookout for includes Salvia 'Caradonna'. These beauties grow straight up, and when grouped together create a literal sea of purple! One of the best parts of this plant variety is that it is a PHS Gold Medal Plant. Gold Medal Plants are chosen by horticultural experts based on their accessibility, ease of growing, and more. This means that you will have no problem finding, purchasing, and growing these beautiful perennials at home.
Throughout the garden, guests can find some fascinating hanging plants, such as Sedum morganianum, or burro’s tail. Situated around the bar, these leggy succulents are a peculiar but beautiful addition to the garden. Make sure to watch your head! Spiraling down from their pots, the burro’s tails are not fans of standing up straight.
Another hanging plant to be on the lookout for is Senecio rowleyanus, or string of pearls. This quirky, beaded succulent vine gently cascades wherever it is placed. In addition to its unique foliage, this plant produces tiny white flowers. It grows quickly and propagates easily and will thrive indoors or out.
Some of the oldest and largest plants at the Pop Up Garden at South Street can be found in the form of staghorn ferns, or Platycerium bifurcatum. This year, the garden features three of these flowing, leafy plants that range from 40 to 50 years old. Measuring in at about four feet by four feet, these ferns are sure to be unique highlights of your visit. With proper care, staghorn ferns can live well into their 90s!
We asked Cristina Tessaro, Associate Director of the PHS Pop Up Gardens, about her favorite plants and features of the garden. “My favorite addition to the garden is probably Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’. The unique shape and patterns of the leaves are a beautiful sight, and the plant is just so strange and different from the rest of the garden.” Look for Spotty Dotty’s upright stems with huge, lobed umbrella-shape leaves covered in large chocolate-brown spots. Mature plants bear red flowers and fleshy fruits.
Whether you are an experienced green thumb, or just looking for a fun night out, the plants at the PHS Pop Up Garden will undoubtedly leave lasting memories. Come meet the newest additions to this year’s garden and leave with inspiration for your own gardening visions.