Philadelphia Flower Show

Lessons From My Garden

Blueberry bushBy Nancy Grundahl

The recent Philadelphia Flower Show inspired me. I bought 3 kinds of asparagus roots and seed packets for those sweet, round yellow watermelons that are hard to find, corn and green beans. Already in my garden are blueberry bushes and a sour cherry tree. I have found that growing my own food is fun, relaxing and educational. Here are some of the lessons my garden has taught me.

Conditions need to be right or your seeds won’t grow and your plants won’t thrive. If a plant needs to be in the sun, plant it in a sunny area. If a plant needs moist soil, keep it moist or it and you will not be happy.

Create a healthy garden environment and wildlife will come. Birds love berries, even when they are not ripe. Bunnies love small tender plants. Deer? If they are in your area they will probably find you, as will slugs and beetles and on and on. It means your garden is healthy and inviting.

Nothing tastes like fruit and vegetables you grow yourself. They are typically way better than what you can find in stores. Ah, there’s nothing like eating a warm tomato that you just picked! Plus, you can plant unusual varieties, like heirlooms, to experience tastes you didn’t know exist. Biodiversity is a very good and yummy thing.

Using water you’ve captured (like in a rain barrel) is a better way to water your plants, particularly if your tap water is chlorinated. You might even just run a hose from a downspout into your garden. And, capturing stormwater can help reduce flooding from run-off. And, you’ll save money!

Mosquitoes love to breed in standing water, so don’t have any. Turn buckets upside down. Getting attacked by mosquitoes while you are gardening is very annoying and they can spread disease.

Weeds almost always grow better and faster than planted plants. That’s why they’re called weeds.Composter

Native plants grow better than non-natives. That is unless you are unlucky enough to have a non-native plant that’s invasive, like kudzu. Natives can be hard to find, but search them out — they are worth it.

Don’t trash your yard waste; turn it into compost instead. Recycle! Reuse! Your plants will grow better with compost.

Yes, I’m ready to get going outside in this earlier-than-normal spring in the Northeast.

About the author: Nancy Grundahl has worked for the Philadelphia office of EPA since the mid-80’s. She currently works in Program Support for the Water Protection Division. 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.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Step Into Spring – – The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show

This year has gone on record as the snowiest winter in Philadelphia. With the aftermath of back to back snowstorms (huge piles of snow and icy spots) still very much a part of daily life, the prospect of early Spring seems like a fantasy. Yet, even though it’s still February, Spring will come early – as it does every year – in the form of the Philadelphia International Flower Show.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is an annual rite of Spring that brings together garden exhibitors from all over the world, transferring the huge floor of the Pennsylvania Convention Center into a magical Spring display. It is a sight to behold, taking us from winter to spring as we step into a wonderland of gardens, plants, and floral designs. Billed as the world’s largest indoor flower exhibit and the oldest (1829) in the nation, the Flower Show annually attracts more than 250,000 visitors from all over the world. With its international appeal and audience, it’s very fitting that the theme of 2010 show is “Passport to the World.”

Traditional gardens, despite their beauty and appeal, can cause serious harm to the environment, including pesticide and nutrient runoff, and introduction of invasive species. That’s why since 1993, EPA has used this wonderful venue to educate gardeners on techniques that protect the environment and at the same time create beautiful gardens.

Each year, using native plants, and recycled materials, the EPA flower show team of volunteers designs, constructs, and creates an exhibit that vividly demonstrates the beauty and practicality of native plants, sustainable water usage, and beneficial landscaping techniques. In keeping with the Show’s 2010 international focus, our exhibit depicts an “East Meets West” theme, showcasing a Japanese style tea-house, set in a picturesque North American native garden. Our thousands of visitors are sure to be inspired by the splashes of colors and exotic textures of evergreens, azaleas, pitcher plants, phlox and a host of other native species as they adorn a cedar walkway and tea-house. The exhibit appears to be floating above a reflective pools.

As a Communications Coordinator and a Flower Show volunteer, I have coordinated outreach and education for the Flower Show team for more than 10 years. And while our exhibits always carry messages of sustainability, it is amazing to see unique exhibits year after year, conveying environmental messages in a special and beautiful way.

If you’re in the area, stop by and see for yourself the beauty and environmental benefits of green gardening. The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show runs from Sunday, February 28th through March 7th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Whether you are an aspiring gardener, an experienced gardener, or you just like to enjoy the sights of Spring, there’ll be plenty to see, learn, and enjoy.

See you at the Flower Show.

About the Author: 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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Flower Power '09 – – Philadelphia Flower Show

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

It’s a very chilly 30 degrees and windy Monday in Philadelphia – typical for the end of February. A lunchtime walk took me past the Pennsylvania Convention Center where, in less than a week and despite the calendar and the outdoor temperature, it will feel, smell, and look like Spring.

I’m talking about the Philadelphia Flower Show – an annual rite of Spring that brings together garden exhibitors from all over the country to transfer the floor of the Convention Center into a magical Spring display.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is a sight to behold, taking visitors from Winter to Spring as they step into a wonderland of gardens, plants, and floral designs. Billed as the world’s largest indoor flower exhibit and the oldest (1829) in the nation, the Philadelphia Flower Show annually attracts more than 250,000 visitors from all over the world. 

Traditional gardens, despite their beauty and appeal, can cause serious harm to the environment, including pesticide runoff, and introduction of invasive species.
So, since 1993, EPA’s Mid-Atlantic regional office has used this wonderful venue to educate gardeners on techniques that protect the environment and at the same time create beautiful gardens.

Using native plants, and recycled materials, the EPA Flower Team of volunteers formulates designs, constructs, and creates an exhibit that vividly demonstrates the beauty and practicality of native plants and beneficial landscaping techniques. The 2009 exhibit features 75 native plant species. The plants must be forced to bloom by showtime, which is an especially delicate process. Plants cannot bloom too soon or too late. While the team members are experts in the field of forcing, it comes down to perfect timing, which is the key to successful forcing.
 
As a communications coordinator I have been involved in outreach for the Flower Show team for more than 10 years. It’s amazing to see each exhibit come to life, conveying environmental messages in its own unique way. But that’s to be expected, as my friends and coworkers who put so much effort into the Flower Show are just as energetic the other 50 weeks of the year doing their environmental jobs.

The 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show, runs from Sunday, March 1 through March 8 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The EPA display, “L’acqua e vita La vita e acqua” or “Water is Life, Life is Water”, focuses on the life of a watershed beginning with the birth of a stream. If you’re in the area, stop by and see for yourself the beauty and environmental benefits of green gardening techniques. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or getting your hands dirty for the first time, there’ll be plenty to see and learn.

See you at the Flower Show.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.