A vacant lot in the heart of Center City’s busy business district has been converted into a temporary green oasis.
Today, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and Philly Homegrown introduced a brand new pop-up garden at 20th and Market Streets in Center City called “PHS Pops Up,” a giant temporary green space that will grow vegetables, herbs, grains and flowers and host special on-site programming open to the public including workshops, tours and family events.
Another exciting aspect of the venture involves six star local chefs — Daniel Stern of R2L, Guillermo Tellez of Square 1682, Chris Scarduzio of Table 31, Michael Schulson of Sampan, Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo, and Lynn Rinaldi of Paradiso — who will each create special dishes at their respective restaurants using the produce grown in the pop-up garden. All proceeds from the dishes will go towards City Harvest, PHS’s program that provides fresh produce for underserved Philadelphia residents.
The garden transforms nearly 32,000 square feet of landscape of a previously vacant lot into a bounty of fresh local produce. The new features include an herb and vegetable production area; beds of zinnias, sunflowers, cleome and cosmos; a stand of blue spruce; whimsical topiaries, and patches of found art from the site’s excavation. A meadow of red clover, grasses, grains and corn are planned for the future.
The main entrance to the space, located on the north side of Market Street just east of 20th Street, is adorned by an “écolibrium” exhibit of sustainable building and gardening created by Temple University Ambler for this year’s Philadelphia International Flower Show.
So when can you check it out for yourself? Beginning this week, the garden will be open to the public every Wednesday and Thursday from noon-2 p.m. Free programming will include horticultural workshops plus tours and special events. A preliminary schedule of workshops are below.
• July 7: Edible Landscapes — Fruits and Vegetables
• August 4: Gardening Odds and Ends — Fabulous Containers
• September 1: Edible Landscapes — Growing Beautiful Food
• September 22: Edible Landscape — Planting and Harvesting
The garden will be open all summer long and run through late October. It will then be taken down and will resurface in spring 2012 in a new location. The effort is made possible by Brandywine Realty Trust and Independence Blue Cross with funding from the William Penn Foundation.
PHS Pop-Up Garden
Where: 20th and Market Streets
When: Wednesdays & Thursday, Now through October
Check out a slideshow below of the pop-up garden’s launch event this afternoon.