Philadelphia Flower Show
Before the Invasion
EPA's exhibit, "Before the Invasion" was at the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show from March 2 to 10. The Flower Show is held every Spring in the Pennsylvania Convention Center . This year the Show was "Brilliant" with flowers showcasing Great Britain.
Visitors to the exhibit experienced the brilliance and beauty of native plants, headwaters, and wetlands. Visitors stepped back to a time before colonization spurred habitat loss; a time when the woods thrived without competition from invasive plants and animals.
In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, vistors saw a one-room retreat nestled around a forested wetland that inspired its occupants to reflect, create and relax while being enveloped by the sweet fragrance of native azaleas and fothergillas. The exhibit highlighted the intrinsic beauty of our native wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and trees. The woodland garden also reflected the benefits and importance of using native plants, which results in less use of fertilizers and pesticides, conserves water and helps maintain ecological balance.
EPA's exhibit was honored with two awards: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Special Achievement Award for a unique feature or design element and the Chicago Horticultural Society Flower Show Medal to an educational exhibit showing outstanding horticultural skill and knowledge in a nationally recognized flower show (awarded jointly with the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades).
EPA's exhibit highlighted the use of native plants to create a low-impact landscape and protect watersheds. Environmental benefits of using native plants extend to other areas that visitors may not have considered:
- discouraging insect pests
- conserving water resources
- protecting endangered plants
- attracting beneficial insects
- conserving water and improving water quality
- reducing the use of pesticides
Using native plants in gardens may also save time and money otherwise spent on fertilizer, water and pesticides to grow non-native plants.
Examples of native plants in the exhibit that attract beneficial insects include:
- Blueberry - attracts bumblebee pollinators
- Hackberry - host plant for the Hackberry butterfly, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak and Tawny Emperor
- Spicebush - host plant for the Spicebush Swallowtail and Promethean Moth
- New Jersey Tea - host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly
The use of native plants is part of a set of practices called integrated pest management, which is a common-sense way of managing pests through biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools that minimize risks to people and the environment.
In other words, start with prevention; if a pest or weed problem develops, use an integrated approach to solve the problem. Learn more about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Principles.
Information about this and previous EPA flower show exhibits can be found on other pages:
- Natural Beauty, Native Species - 2013 Flower Show images on EPA's Flickr site
- Showcasing Natives at the Philadelphia Flower Show - It’s Our Environment Blog Entry
- Philadelphia International Flower Show 2012 - Audio Podcast
- Flower Show 2012 Photo Gallery