Philadelphia Flower Show
Now Showing at a Garden Near You
EPA's exhibit, "Now Showing at a Garden Near You" was at the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show from February 28 to March 8. The Flower Show is held every Spring in the Pennsylvania Convention Center . This year the Flower Show theme was "Celebrate the Movies".
Visitors to the exhibit experienced a formal garden adorned with native plants, a fountain and a place of peaceful contemplation for audiences of all ages. It demonstrated the use of natural plants that are less polluting and at the same time attractive. Traditional landscapes of vast lawns dotted with trees and formal hedges of non-native, exotic origins can generate pollution from mechanized equipment and heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The exhibit displayed native plants, wetlands, and sustainable landscaping techniques in a passive setting. Here in nature’s garden, the palette of colors, textures, and fragrances transported the observer to a place of beauty and tranquility – a place apart from the hands of man.
The exhibit highlighted how a formal garden of native plants in a back yard can become both a formal garden and a sustainable part of the natural world. Visitors were inspired by a diverse array of aquatic plants, azaleas, laurels, dogwoods, pitcher plants, phlox and many other varieties of native flora which can be incorporated into a formal sustainable garden.
This year's exhibit won a silver medal in the Education category.
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:
- Native Plants: Special Effects for the Environment - Healthy Waters for EPA‘s Mid-Atlantic Region blog entry
- Natural Beauty, Native Species - 2013 Flower Show images on EPA's Flickr site
- Philadelphia International Flower Show 2012 - Audio Podcast
- Flower Show 2012 Photo Gallery