I had a lovely day at the Philly Flower Show yesterday with a good friend! It was packed as usual, and it takes a certain amount of perseverance to make it through. We got their just as it opened to try and avoid some of the crowds. I enjoyed my mini-Hawaiian vacation, although as usual I am much more interested in the plant and garden trends for our region. So I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite things from the show, things you could incorporate into your home garden.
You have to love a carnivorous plant! I have always been fascinated by venus flytraps but the idea of having a perennial plant in my yard that could eat bugs, sounds very enticing and amazingly beautiful at the same time. I saw several different varieties of pitcher plants at 4 different exhibits this year. Once I got home I decided to do a little research. I looked them up and found out that only the Purple Pitcher Plant is native in this vicinity (and can grow all the way up in Canada), but there are several other varieties native to the southeast and there a number of hybrids available if you know where to look. Plant Delights from North Carolina carry an extensive collection and have an interesting article about them. These perennials prefer moist acidic soils (picture marshes). I don’t think I have a place suitable for these lovely plants, but maybe you do.
2. Succulents for Container Gardening
I found this trend very on point! As people are becoming more conscious of their water usage, finding ways to create beautiful gardens without having to water them regularly, makes lots of sense. Last year I started putting a few succulents (i.e. sedums) in some my containers. I was also just discussing this very idea with my neighbor last week for some window boxes for her second floor windows, that face due south. These examples from the Flower Show do a lovely job of choosing plants that prefer dry conditions and placing them in window boxes (of course they were going with a slightly more Hawaiian feel but no reason these can’t be adapted for our climate). I would gladly take either of these home, and I think I will have to try a few of these plants out! The one downside to most of these is that most of these plants are tender and would require an indoor location for the colder months. But the big upside is that you don’t have to worry about watering them daily in the hot sun. I also like the addition of the Yucca in the second box. This is something, depending on the location that you might even be able to leave out year around. I planted a very similar yucca in my garden last year. Also for inexpensive tender succulents I recommend Ikea. The small plants are usually $1.99 and 2.99, so you won’t feel too bad if they don’t make it! Stay tuned for later this spring when I will see what I can put together using more readily available plants!
3. Tall Sculptural Elements
I like the idea of adding permanent architectural elements to the landscape and I absolutely fell in love with these columns that were created by the students at
Penn State Temple Ambler (who always put together a beautiful exhibit, sorry about getting your name wrong). I asked how these were constructed and they used cardboard sonotubes in the middle (not so good for a permanent display, but I think with a little tweaking you could create something similar). I was thinking maybe a concrete base with a post attachment. Then you could use a pressure treated post as the main support on the inside. You could also use the sonotube (which is meant to have concrete poured into it) and just go ahead a pour a tall concrete column with a footing and then install the chickenwire around it. I really like the idea of using different natural material (particularly things from your local site) and creating some unique textures. I also like that they have made planters out of some of the tops. I think it could be interesting to add some pocket up the column as well to hold plants too.
I also picked up a few small things at the show including a new pair of pruners. So stay tuned as I start to put them to use in the garden!
I hope everyone has a great weekend! We will be grouting the basement shower. Yeah!
*Here is my post from last year’s show.