Landscape Design From The Philadelphia Flower Show


The renowned Philadelphia Flower Show (PHS), the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event, recently showcased the work of several landscape designers and contractors. The event, held June 5-13, took place outside for the first time ever, with over 75 installations spanning 15 acres in Philadelphias’s FDR Park. Turf was there to take in the all the sites and inspiration.

Photo: PHS site.


Just some of the show’s highlights from landscape firms and designers included:

Best In Show, and the Gold Medal for Landscape went to Wambui Ippolito, an East African landscape designer and horticulturalist. Her show garden Etherea, (pictured above) inspired by memories of East Africa, featured low water plants such as euphorbia, sedum and yucca, a large circular metal arbor, meandering stone paths, a metal birdbath, and a pond.Philadelphia

Mark Cook Landscape & Contracting of Doylestown, PA was awarded the Silver Trophy this year for its installation (pictured above) featuring a pergola, hosta, ferns, grasses, catmint, and more. Cook has won various awards in each PHS over the last 11 years including Best in Show in 2020 and 2017, and the Silver in 2014, 2018 and 2019.Philadelphia

Treeline Designz of Portland, OR, founded by Iftikhar Ahmed, helps brings natural living into the urban environment. The firm’s “Dancing with Nature” garden (right) incorporated an organic structure anchored by a bamboo forest that rose through natural vegetation surrounding reflection ponds. Muted colors in the outer landscape, including blue hydrangeas, lead into the inner garden meant for meditation and socializing as well as a sanctuary for insects and birds. Irwin Landscaping of Hockessin, DE performed the landscape construction.

The PHS Gold Medal Award for best use of PHS Gold Medal plants (pictured below) went to J. Downend Landscaping, a full-service landscape design, construction, horticulture and maintenance firm servicing the Delaware Valley for over 40 years. A participant in the PHS since 2010, J. Downend has won numerous awards at PHS including a Silver last year, a Bronze in 2019, and many more.

Photo: PHS site.
Photo: PFS site.

Refugia Design, Ltd. earned the PHS Gardening for the Greater Good Award. Refugia focuses on ecological landscape design with sustainable practices and materials such as permeable driveways and extended living space for office/study. All Refugia projects join its Greenway Network, a searchable ArcGIS webmap in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that illustrates habitat connectivity, welcoming nature back to neighborhoods. The hardscape featured in Refugia’s PHS garden exhibit was ProFlow Permeable Pavers from Black Locust Lumber with Rompox Jointing Sand from Romex. The shed was constructed of Americana Thermally Modified Hardwood from Bingaman. This thermally modified Pennsylvania hardwood is transformed by just heat and steam and is a sustainable alternative to popular tropical woods.

According to Refugia’s Facebook page, “Some Philadelphia Flower Show attendees have remarked on the gorgeous aroma of our exhibit. Thermal Modification turns the wood a delicious chocolate brown, indicating the proper temperature achieved (400-410⁰ F) to caramelize the sugars and starches, making it a non-food source. The wood cell walls lock into place, preventing it from absorbing water like that of unmodified wood. Overall, its durability is multiplied many times, giving Thermally Modified wood a 25+ year lifespan outdoors without chemicals or anything else manmade. Within a year, this material will fade to a lovely silvery patina akin to cedar.”(For more on sustainable landscape design, see the upcoming Summer edition of Turf focusing on Going Green. Subscribe here.)Philadelphia

Other Highlights & Photos:

The Governor’s Trophy for Innovative/Unique Design (Landscape) went to Nomad Studio, in NY, whose conceptual work (right) explored the interaction between art and landscape, while even the vendor booths could be inspirational. Who doesn’t want this garden bar constructed of pallets that was part of the booth of Barefoot Botanicals in Doylestown, PA?PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia

Leading national vendors could also be seen at the show. Just some participants included Bartlett Tree Experts, Belgard, and STIHL, who was featuring its robotic mower and other yard equipment.