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The Flower Show

Volunteer Spotlight: Flower Show and Armed Forces Veteran Ed MacFarland

November 10, 2022

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flower show volunteers

By Melissa O’Brien 

Each year, thousands of volunteers give their time and talents to support PHS’s mission to use gardening to promote health and well-being in the Greater Philadelphia region. Thanks to the generosity of volunteers, PHS’s programs benefit 300,000 people annually – by planting trees, creating green jobs, providing access to fresh, healthy meals, building social connections, and more. 

Ed MacFarland has volunteered with PHS for decades. He is a retired funeral director who served in the US Army and later in the PA National Guard with the rank of Staff Sergeant. “Military service provided me with many opportunities which I continue in many areas today in civilian life,” says Ed. He has given his time to many organizations including the Philadelphia Rose Society, the DelVal Branch of the American Begonia Society, the DelVal Hosta Society, the Tri-State Hosta Society, and the American Hosta Society. 

Ed spends time with his wife, family, and two grandchildren when he is not volunteering. We spoke with Ed about his time volunteering with PHS and the friends and connections he’s gained along the way. 

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How did you get involved with PHS? 

“In 1973, after visiting Old Williamsburg, Virginia with my wife, Linda, I became interested in growing herbs. I then joined the newly formed Tamanend Herb Gardening Club in Southampton, Pennsylvania. As of today, I am one of the last original members. My wife and I visited the Philadelphia Flower Show in the old Civic Center for many years. I became interested in competing in the show with herbs. I have been a member since 1982.” 

How long have you been volunteering with PHS? 

“I have been volunteering with PHS for 40 years in many areas.” 

What are some Flower Show volunteer activities you’ve participated in? 

“I’ve been a plant passer and exhibitor at the Philadelphia Flower Show, a judge for multiple PHS events, hosted garden talks at the Flower Show's garden studio, and have volunteered to answer questions at the horticultural info booth at the Flower Show since 1982.” 

What is your favorite volunteer opportunity? 

“My favorite thing to volunteer for besides the horticultural info booth is the City Gardens Contest. I enjoyed talking with the gardeners at various sites, getting out into the community with other gardeners, and seeing their excitement in sharing their gardens.” 

Why do you choose to volunteer with PHS year after year? 

“I volunteer with PHS every year because I have made a lot of friends who are members of PHS and at the Flower Show.” 

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