Last Friday when I reported to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for my volunteer shift at the Philadelphia Flower Show, exhibitors and vendors were in flurry of activity putting the final touches on their displays for the 2009 show opening the next day. Prior to beginning my shift I took a moment to explore the exhibits as workers hustled about placing plants, adding the final clumps of mulch, and touching up paint jobs. My favorite exhibit in progress was by Temple University Ambler College students titled “Green Renaissance.”
Their exhibit featured several green gardening concepts including a living wall, rain chain, and rain barrels. Their plant material included Swiss chard, fresh radishes, and various fresh herbs. Their design was inspired by 16th century Italian gardens with adaption to the local and vernacular flavors and sustainable living. As a result of their efforts, judges awarded the display Special Achievement Awards-Garden Club Federation of PA Conservation-under 1,000 square feet.
I appreciated the use of the rain barrels in the exhibit. They demonstrated how rain barrels can not only be useful in the garden but can also be decorative and attractive. I especially loved how they used a rain chain to decoratively drip water in a rain barrel.
A water-wise gardener can use a rain barrel to:
- Reduce the volume of water flowing to the sewer treatment facility
- Lower the percentage of roof top rainfall as a component of urban runoff
- Backup source of water during times of drought or between rain showers
- Help to keep our creeks clean
- Naturally softened water – great for delicate houseplants, auto cleaning, and window washing
- Save money by lowering water bills
- Chlorine-free water helps maintain a healthy biotic community in the soil
The Scott Arboretum will be installing their first rain barrel in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden this spring. To learn more about this great gardening tool register for our workshop “Save the Rain! Water Conservation in the Garden” on Friday, March 27 from 9 am to Noon.
Congratulations to the students of Temple University Ambler College on their award winning design. Visit the Philadelphia Flower Show to experience all the sustainable garden techniques demonstrated this year.