DNC Host Committee Unveils Bold Broad Street Beautification Project

A rendering of a colorful mural that will be installed on the median of South Broad Street between City Hall and Washington Avenue.

A rendering of the mural “14 Movements: A Symphony of Color and Words” by Mat Tomezsko.

Broad Street will be much more colorful than usual during the Democratic National Convention. The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the DNC, in collaboration with The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), announced today a beautification project on the city’s main thoroughfare. Installation begins today, June 20th, and is expected to be completed in time for the DNC. Read more »

Operators Announced for PHS Pop-Up Gardens

The PHS Pop Up Garden will return to the 1400 block of South Street | Photo via PHS

The PHS Pop Up Garden will return to the 1400 block of South Street | Photo via PHS

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has announced its designers and culinary teams for its two PHS Pop Up Gardens this summer. PHS returns to 15th and South for a third year on June 1st. The garden is being designed by Karen Regan of Tallulah & Bird. Regan created last year’s garden and this year is planning aged woods, inventive planters, antiques, flea market finds and curiosities to conjure a magical retreat. Plantings will include roses, fragrant herbs, cocktail cucumbers, a canopy of pink crape myrtles, climbing vines of hops, wisteria and clematis. As a centerpiece, there will be an illuminated, towering mulberry tree.

Read more »

PHS Names Matt Rader as New President

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society - Matt Rader

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has named Matt Rader its new president, the group announced today.

“I admire PHS’s leadership in empowering people to use horticulture as a way to build community and improve their neighborhoods, gardens and parks,” Rader said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring to PHS my experience and personal passion for making cities better. With the incredible talent of PHS’s staff and partners and my background, we can continue to use horticulture to make this city and region a great place to live and a very exciting center of gardening and horticultural innovation and excellence.” Read more »

Locations of All Three PHS Beer Gardens Announced

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PHS’s South Street beer garden is back in 2015 with a new look.

UPDATE: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society informs us that these beer gardens are not finalized as contracts have not been signed, Ts crossed and Is dotted.

In our Guide to Philadelphia’s Seasonal Beer Gardens, we told you that the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) would be hosting three beer gardens this summer. And now we have the locations and details.

Last year’s South Street beer garden will return to 1438 South Street. This season will feature “Bohemian flair” as designed by designer Karen Regan of Tallulah & Bird. This year, the South Street beer garden will include wooden trellis, container gardens, large palm and banana trees and Jack-in-the-pulpit relatives that will rise five-feet tall. The space will also offer public and private spaces, a first for a PHS pop-up garden. Look for beers from Barren Hill Brewery to be offered throughout the summer. Barren Hill will also work with Wyndridge Farm, creator of PHS Cider on an exclusive beer for the garden.

Read more »

Was Drew Becher Too Ambitious for Philly?

Drew Becher and Rachael Ray at the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show.

Drew Becher and Rachael Ray at the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show. | Photo: Bradley Maule

Let me be frank: I have no facility with plants or flowers; anytime a green thing comes into contact with my fingers, it wilts and dies, as though my antidepressants are leeching through my pores. Still, I’m deeply attuned to the flora of our city. For one thing, we’re fortunate to live in a verdant metropolis with an enormous park system. For another, we have a robust horticultural society that presents the largest flower show in the hemisphere. And lately, well, we’ve got these pop-up gardens that celebrate plants and flowers — and also offer beer. We mustn’t forget the beer.

And I’m not alone. Residents of Philadelphia care deeply about our ample green space. That’s why it hasn’t surprised me to be on the receiving end, for several months now, of rather urgently phrased whispers about potential problems at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). The problems, people told me, all related to its president, Drew Becher, and the changes he’s implemented since he arrived in 2010 to replace Jane Pepper, who was president for 29 years before she retired. Modernization is never easy, and change agents have it especially hard in this town. But the level of vitriol directed at Becher surprised me — and this was coming from people outside of PHS, without an ax to grind.

Read more »

Horticultural Society President Drew Becher Resigns

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Photo from @PHS_Gardening on Twitter

Drew Becher, president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society since 2010, is leaving the post to join his partner in San Francisco.

The announcement came on Tuesday, and the resignation takes effect June 1st.  Read more »

Philadelphia Flower Show Black-Tie Gala and Afterparty

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The 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show opened on Friday, February 27, 2015, with a black-tie gala. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail party under a marquee of beautiful flowers while surrounded by Caribbean pirates, playful rats, princesses, and chickens in the barnyard. This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Movies,” and as you may have guessed, there’s a large contingent of displays inspired by Disney movies as well as Hollywood classics. After the cocktail hour, dinner took place among the floral displays. As dinner ended at 10 p.m., guests joined the afterparty where DJ Montone and DJ Jason Weiss kicked off dance party which continued well after midnight. The Flower Show runs through March 8, with a schedule full of special events, celebrity appearances, and lots and lots of beautiful flowers and shopping.

More photos from the Flower Show Gala after the jump »

PHOTOS: G Philly’s LGBT Party at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Bette Midler, Evan Urbania, Liza, Drew Becher, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Ian, Crystal Electra. Sam Lemheney, PHS Flower Show Designer and James Bond.

“Bette Midler,” Chatterblast co-founder Evan Urbania, “Judy Garland” Drew Becher, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Brittany Lynn, Crystal Electra. Sam Lemheney, PHS Flower Show Designer, and “James Bond.”

Despite the fact that ice was falling from the sky, more than 200 revelers came out yesterday for our fifth annual LGBT Party at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The afternoon kicked off with opening remarks from openly gay Pennsylvania Horticultural Society President Drew Becher. Our special guest, film legend Pam Grier, was there as an ambassador for Dining Out for Life. She was presented with an award from Subaru for her dedication to the gay community, particularly her work to bring an end to HIV/AIDS.

I got to sit down for a Q&A with her, where, despite some unfortunate technical difficulties, we chatted about her involvement for Dining Out for Life, and her next film project—a film adaptation of her 2010 memoir Foxy: My Life in Three Acts.

The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up with friends, and eating and drinking from our fab lineup of food and drink vendors. Our good buddy HughE Dillon was there to snap some photos, which you can see below while hitting a few of the highlights in the captions.



If you missed out, the Philadelphia Flower Show is running now through March 8th. More information can be found here.

See shots from last year’s party here. Man, how time flies.

One of Us: Drew Becher, Philadelphia Flower Show Honcho

Illustration by Andy Friedman

Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is … Drew Becher, but my full name is David Andrew Becher Jr.

I am a … nature lover.

I live in … Chestnut Hill, one of the greatest neighborhoods in the country. My partner Eric and I have lived in a lot of places. We love the houses, the village, the people, and being next to the Wissahickon. It’s like being on vacation 24/7.

I grew up in … Dayton, Ohio, until I went to college. Life in Dayton was wonderful. That’s where I got my penchant for gardening, from my grandmother. That said, I don’t know that I’d want to go back. But it’s a nice place to be from. Read more »

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