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Greater Philadelphia Gardens is Growing Again!
by Louise R. Eliason - posted 6/11/2012
The Friends of The Horticultural Center at The Centennial Arboretum Join Greater Philadelphia Gardens
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Greater Philadelphia Gardens today announced it is pleased to welcome the addition of its newest member, The Friends of The Horticultural Center at The Centennial Arboretum. Newly established in December 2011 by co-chairs Pamela Sodi and Kesho Watson, the Friends of The Horticultural Center's mission is to help restore this historic arboretum and garden and to keep it open throughout the winter by offering community programs and events. Friends co-chair Pamela Sodi said, “We’re so excited about joining Greater Philadelphia Gardens to help build awareness about our community events, programs, extraordinary tree canopy and gardens!”
Asked how she got involved, Pamela says she started as a volunteer. “They gave me the hummingbird garden to restore. I’d like to think it was for my horticultural talents, but it was really because I was willing to weed. “ Some 200 pounds of weeds later, hummingbirds have returned to the garden to the delight and awe of the community, both of which inspired Pamela to do more.
Today the Hummingbird Garden by the Friends of the Horticultural Center is a unique collection of perennials, tropicals, and native annuals. Rich in texture and color, the garden is the home to nesting ruby throats every year. Special tours and programs about these captivating birds are also offered at the Horticultural Center.
Three more gardens are now being restored and maintained by the community.The Hands-On Garden is a dynamic raised garden lovingly maintained by the Associated Services for the Blind and filled with explosions for the senses. The Butterfly Garden (near the Gazebo) is the creation of the Penn State Cooperative Extension and contains superb plant material for pollinators. The Demonstration Vegetable Garden, also created by Penn State, has a variety of vegetables and herbs pristinely maintained in small sculpted spaces.
ABOUT THE CENTENNIAL ARBORETUM
Home to The Friends of the Horticultural Center and to neighboring Shofuso, Japanese House and Garden, The Centennial Arboretum contains 27 majestic acres of landscape in the heart of West Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park. The Arboretum boasts one of the most diverse and unique tree collections in the region with trees and shrubs from Asia, Europe, and North America including a Magnolia Grove and a Japanese Maple collection.
The landscape is dotted with art and sculpture (old and new) from artists such as Alexander Stirling Calder, Robert David Lasus, Martin Puryear, and Beatrice Fenton. Inside the display house are graceful mature tropical gardens which gently cradle statuary, some of which dates from the late 19th Century. The circular Sundial garden is framed by mature Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees with a view of the two hundred Cherry Blossoms that line the fairway through Belmont Avenue.
The property has a rich history. Originally part of the 465 acre Lansdowne estate owned by John Penn, William’s grandson, the Centennial Arboretum became the site of Horticultural Hall, an 80,000 sq. foot Moresque building constructed in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The Horticultural Center currently sits within the footprint of Horticultural Hall.
The Centennial Arboretum grounds are open 7 days a week—8am to 5pm Nov. 1 to March 31; 8am to 6pm April 1 to October 31. The Display House is open daily 9am to 3pm except holidays. Look for more news and upcoming events and programs at The Horticultural Center in Greater Philadelphia Gardens' newsletter, website and soon on The Friends new website, which is currently under development. Visit The Friends of the Horticultural Center at the Centennial Arboretum and contact Pamela Sodi for information about volunteering or membership at: The Friends of the Horticultural Center The Centennial Arboretum 100 N. Horticultural Drive Philadelphia, PA 19131 (215) 477-1482
ABOUT GREATER PHILADELPHIA GARDENS
Greater Philadelphia Gardens is a nonprofit collaboration that serves to raise awareness of the Greater Philadelphia region’s rich horticulture and visitation to member public gardens and arboreta. The organization offers a central online resource for visitors and followers to easily find member public garden information and events on their collaborative website, www.GreaterPhiladelphiaGardens.org and in their weekly web newsletter and on Facebook. In the early 1980s, several public garden leaders volunteered together to jointly promote all area public gardens and encourage visitors. That public garden collaborative was one of the first of its kind in the country.
Re-established in 2007 under new leadership and executive committee, Greater Philadelphia Gardens’ now has 31 public garden members in the tri-state area that attract over three million visitors each year. As the host to more public gardens and arboreta than anywhere else on the continent, as well as much of the nation’s horticultural history, the region is internationally recognized and promoted by the consortium as “America’s Garden Capital.” For more information on Greater Philadelphia Gardens or any of the more than 30 members’ upcoming events, workshops, activities, and visitor information, visit the website www.GreaterPhiladelphiaGardens.org and sign up for its newsletter and see "What's in Bloom Now" on Greater Philadelphia Gardens Facebook, too. For information about membership to Greater Philadelphia Gardens for your public garden or arboretum, please contact Louise Eliason at firstname.lastname@example.org
The public garden leaders who serve on the organization’s executive committee today include: Greater Philadelphia Gardens’ chair, R. William Thomas, Executive Director of Chanticleer; Jacob Thomas, Director of the Arboretum of The Barnes Foundation; Miles Arnott, Executive Director of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, Howard Holden, Director of Facilities, Cabrini College; Paul Redman, Executive Director of Longwood Gardens; Paul Meyer, Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania; Grace Gary, Executive Director of Nemours Mansion & Gardens, Drew Becher, President of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society; Claire Sawyers, Director of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College; and Chris Strand, Director of Garden & Estate, Winterthur Museum & Country Estate.