A Garden Pops Up at 20th and Market

PHS and IBC team up to give Philly a sustainable, Center City garden

The lot and 20th and Market will grow herbs, produce and grains from now until late October. // Photograph by Kelly O'SheaNothing stays the same, does it? Only a few weeks ago, a look out my office window toward the street below showed an empty, desolate lot at the corner of 20th and Market. Now, the same exact space contains a beautiful city garden, thanks to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Independence Blue Cross. The organizations partnered to transform the 32,000 square feet, which opened yesterday, June 13, into an abundant garden full of fresh herbs, produce, flowers, and trees in the hopes that it would inspire all of us city dwellers to do a little gardening ourselves, as well as to act as a showcase for PHS’s community greening program and for IBC’s commitment to helping Philly become a healthier, happier community. (Check out the slideshow below.)

PHS will tend the many vegetables, herbs, and grains in an effort to increase support and awareness for its City Harvest program, which provides fresh produce for underserved Philadelphians. 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) are also involved, and will offer special dishes at their respective restaurants using the garden’s bounty throughout the summer, the proceeds of which will be donated to City Harvest.

Stop by every Wednesday and Thursday, from noon to 2PM, from now until early fall to tour the garden and to take part in some of the free horticultural workshops that will be offered on container gardening, cut flowers, organic pest control, and more. (A complete listing of activities is available at PHSonline.org.) While we won’t be able to enjoy the garden forever—it will close in October—it will reappear in a new location sometime next spring.

Photos and captions by Kelly O’Shea