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Flower Power

Students cultivate an Italian garden at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Come March every year, winterweary gardening enthusiasts flock to the Philadelphia Flower Show, and this year, they had a chance to enjoy a Bryn Mawr-created garden.

The seed got planted when Lisa Armstrong, assistant coordinator of volunteer programs, approached the student coordinators of Bryn Mawr’s Community Garden. From there, Shirin Sabety ’22, Daisy Shepherd ’22, and Armstrong met regularly with Bryn Mawr Grounds to sketch out and refine their plan.

Reflecting the Flower Show’s Riviera Holiday theme, their proposal imagined a young person in Italy encountering “a space near a riverbed and feel[ing] relaxed by its natural beauty,” explains Armstrong.

Titled "A Villa Garden," their entry featured snapdragons, white petunias, calendula, zinnias, a lime tree, and a dry creek bed with blue fire glass creating the illusion of a stream.

From plan to planting took a lot of work. “We had to order plants,” Sabety says, “and we had to ensure they were blooming and cared for. We had to come in and work 12-hour days, planting and setting up the display.”

The students faced the additional challenges of planting in an artificial, indoor environment and forcing warm-weather blooms in winter.

Their efforts paid off. Not only did "A Villa Garden" take third prize in the Relax...Zzz category but, as Sabety says, “it’s beautiful to see people get so excited about the beauty of nature.”

Click here to watch the video.

The Greening of Philadelphia

Above: Daisy Shepherd ’22 (left) and Shirin Sabety ’22 placed third in their category at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show.

The largest indoor show of its kind, the Philadelphia Flower Show is mounted every year by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, with proceeds supporting its outreach, as Daisy Shepherd ’22 explains, “working with local gardeners, getting resources to urban gardeners, and just generally making Philly a greener place.”