Philadelphia Horticultural Society Commits to Civic Engagement Amid Lauded Success

Article by Charlotte Thomas, GPA Ambassdor.

There are more than 65 World Class gardens in the greater Philadelphia area. Without a doubt, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society founded in 1827 is one of the largest contributing factors for the existence of the abundance of recognized natural beauty in the city.

This nonprofit organization’s mission is to “connect people with horticulture, and together…create beautiful, healthy, and sustainable communities”. The organization has established itself as a main participant in Philadelphia horticulture by hosting the Philadelphia Flower Show, the nation’s largest and longest running horticultural event, with highlights including fantastic displays by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers.

Notably, this year the show, “Holland: Flowering the World” won a record 21 IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards. This year’s competition included entries from the Kentucky Derby Festival, Indianapolis 500 Festival, the Fiesta Bowl in Scottsdale, Ariz., and events in China, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Mexico, and South Korea. Additionally, the show won the Grand Pinnacle Gold award for the best overall event in the world from the International Festivals & Events Association at ceremonies on September 14th held in Tucson, Ariz. This is the second time within four years that PHS has won the top prize in the worldwide competition.

PHS carries its horticultural expertise into community efforts, such as street tree planting and maintenance, community gardening, public beautification, and the PHS Pop-Up Gardens. PHS partners with a variety of other local organizations to affect change in the city, including Global Philadelphia Association, with the understanding that gardening affects the health of Philadelphians through environmental impact. Plants and gardens also influence the city’s economic wellbeing. PHS programs like Tree Tenders, Philadelphia Landcare, and City Harvest bring together a variety of people from different backgrounds to improve urban livability and social equity.

The organization’s two current pop-up gardens on South Street and uCity Square offer diverse opportunities to advance one’s horticultural knowledge, as well as partake in the flourishing beauty of the gardens. The gardens offer occasional educational gardening workshops, live entertainment, and family-centered events that help nourish healthy communities. All proceeds from these pop-up gardens sustain PHS programs including City Harvest, which gathers community gardeners to raise healthy food to feed 1,200 families in need each week.

PHS not only adds to the city’s beauty and health, but it also provides a plan to maintain this success for the future. For this reason it is clear why the organization continues to enjoy success in its endeavors, and why it will continue to do so in the years to come.

For more information on PHS, please visit their website at