March 15 - October 30, 2013
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was founded in 1827 by 53 farmers, botanists, and gardeners who wanted to advance the science of horticulture through the exhibition of beautiful or unusual flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruits. Two years later in 1829, PHS organized the first public exhibition of flowers in the United States, becoming America’s first flower show. It was at this show where the poinsettia and Bird of Paradise were first introduced to the public.
Over its 185 years, PHS has made significant contributions to the Greater Philadelphia area in addition to presenting its world-renowned flower show. Particularly important to PHS are the urban greening programs initiated in 1974, which transform vacant land into community gardens and revitalize parks and public landscapes. PHS has become the nation’s pre-eminent model for urban greening in the United States.
PHS also helps fight hunger in Philadelphia through a program called PHS City Harvest. In partnership with organizations across Philadelphia and thousands of volunteers and residents, City Harvest is an innovative program that creates green jobs, unites community gardens, and has grown and donated 180,000 pounds of fresh produce that feeds more than 1,000 families each week of the growing season.
PHS is also a leader of Plant One Million, a multi-state effort to restore the region’s land once shaded by trees. In the Greater Philadelphia Region, the goal is to restore 30 percent of the tree canopy, an important yardstick for a healthy environment as trees improve air and water quality and help reduce erosion, water pollution, and flooding.
Over its long history, PHS has made significant contributions to the urban landscape and to the everyday lives of Philadelphians. Through their multi-faceted and multi-beneficial programs, PHS continues to improve the city’s environmental sustainability, feed families in need, educate youth, boost civic pride and increase tourism. At PHS, they say that their greatest tradition is volunteering, “getting together with other gardeners of all backgrounds and working the soil. When gardeners come together, great things happen.’”