Showcasing Natives at the Philadelphia Flower Show

By Bonnie Turner Lomax and Nancy Grundahl

It’s once again time for the tradition that is the Philadelphia Flower Show. An annual rite of spring, the Philadelphia Flower Show provides a respite from the mid-Atlantic winter, taking visitors to an indoor retreat of gardens, flowers, and far-away places.  The sights and scents are spectacular!  The theme for this year’s show reflects the “Brilliant” gardens of Great Britain.

"Native plants on display"EPA is once again exhibiting at the show.  Our exhibit is entitled “Before the Invasion.”  To those of us of a certain age, the “British Invasion” may conjure up visions of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and others.  However in this case, the invasion refers to invasive plants.

“Before the Invasion” will showcase plants and flora which are native to the mid-Atlantic region.  What did our forests and wetlands look like before foreign plants were introduced?  Although they may be “Brilliant,” in appearance, many non-natives can be invasive, crowding out the natives and disrupting the local ecosystem.
Our exhibit will give you ideas as to how you might use native plants in your landscape at your home and business.  Native plants are a joy.  Since they have been growing and thriving in the area for years, they are well-adapted to our local soils and climate. They tend to require less care; less water; less fertilizer; and less pesticides.  And many are very beautiful.  It is just that you may have never seen them before.

So even though “London is Calling” you towards exotic and invasive plants, when it comes to landscapes and gardening, the best thing is to “Let it Be” and go natural.  You’ll get a lot of “Satisfaction” and the environmental benefits will be in a word “Brilliant.”

About the Authors:
Bonnie Turner-Lomax came to EPA Region’s mid-Atlantic Region in 1987 and has held several positions throughout the Region.  She is currently the Communications Coordinator for the Environmental Assessment & Innovation Division.

Nancy Grundahl has worked for the Philadelphia office of EPA since the mid-80’s. Nancy believes in looking at environmental problems in a holistic, multi-media way and is a strong advocate of preventing pollution instead of dealing with it after it has been created. Nancy is currently the Web Content Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region.