The PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street features a colorful new plant palette with a purpose this spring. Cristina Tessaro, Project Manager of the Pop Up Gardens, filled the site with pollinator-friendly blossoms and native plants to create a healthy and beautiful habitat.
“By using native plants, the habitat nurtures and sustains a living landscape for pollinators,” she says. “These plants are already adapted to the soil and climate and do not require additional fertilizers or pesticides to grow.”
Planted with intention, natives in the Pop Up Garden include Echinacea purpurea, PowWow Wild Berry, also known as coneflower, and Aster ‘Raydon’s Favorite,’ a perennial and preferred nectar source. Camassia cusickii (Wild Hyacinth) is one of the few soft blue bloomers that will naturalize in moist soil over time. A native grass, Carex pennsylvanica was chosen for its hardiness and it makes an excellent shade groundcover.
While not entirely planted with natives, the meadow-inspired garden consists of many perennials grown or sourced by PHS Meadowbrook Farm, including 3,000 allium bulbs. Six varieties of allium were selected to bloom throughout the season. Not only will they attract butterflies and bees for better pollination, some species have a scent that will repel garden pests. The mixture includes Allium ‘Purple Sensation,’ Allium unifolium (ornamental onion) and Allium spaerocephalon (drumstick allium).
Sedum ‘Blue Pearl’ is a drought-tolerant beauty that attracts pollinators and performs well through hot summer weather. Salvia ‘Skyscraper Red’, a tender perennial, features large blooms that last throughout summer and fall and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Guara linderheimeri ‘Sparkle White,’ also a perennial, is ideal for containers, edging, or in a rock garden. It forms a mound of narrow green leaves with airy arching stems of dainty white flowers tinged pink from late spring through late summer.
Citronella Geranium, also known as mosquito plant, is a tender perennial with strongly lemon-scented leaves. Cristina chose citronella as a natural bug repellent.
Even the repurposed containers at the front entrance to the garden serve a purpose. They are planted with a pollinator-friendly plant, Amelanchier x Autumn Brilliance, also known as Serviceberry. Flanking the bar, another native, Fothergilla Mt. Airy, adds beauty and attracts pollinators. A pig trough has been recycled and filled with succulents, while an old porcelain sink will feature carnivorous plants to help with insect control.
“We are exposing visitors to a variety of plants, some native, some pollinator-friendly, that they can grow in their own yards, balcony, or fire escape,” says Cristina. “Hopefully, this will inspire guests to shop for similarly unique plants for their own homes that are beneficial to the environment.”