As there are every year, there are many Northeast gardeners competing in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s garden contest.
But, this year, Philly residents have to compete against suburbanites because PHS has merged its Citywide Garden Contest and its suburban PHS Community Greening Awards into one Gardening and Greening Contest.
So gardeners in Bustleton, Frankford, Mayfair and Oxford Circle are competing with growers who live as far away as Cape May, N.J., Milford, Del., or Brackney, Pa., which is near the New York border.
In all, there are a bit more than 350 gardens in this year’s contest, PHS events coordinator Johanna Schoeller told the Northeast Times.
Contestants include home gardeners with in-ground or container gardens, community gardens and businesses that have beautified their properties. Municipalities that have initiated programs like tree-plantings or storm water management plans also participate.
There are nine categories: flowers, vegetables, containers, children’s, rooftops, garden blocks and street planters, urban farms, public space plantings and environmental initiatives.
About 60 panels of volunteer judges were out looking over this season’s blooms, greens and veggies. Judging was concluded in August. Winners will be announced Sept. 20 at the PHS Fall Festival in The Navy Yard, Schoeller said.
Judges looked at design and total visual effect. They considered maintenance and horticultural practices, and the variety, color and suitability of plantings. Extra points were awarded for creativity and sustainable practices.
Northeast residents routinely have won recognition for their gardens every year. About 80 percent of the Northeast gardeners who competed last year won some recognition. Anyone who didn’t enter the contest this year should go to www.phsonline.org/gardening/ggcontest for more information and consider getting into the 2015 competition.
The PHS Fall Festival, sponsored by Thomas Jefferson Hospital, will include shopping in the Franklin Flea and some elbow bending in a beer garden from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on The Navy Yard parade grounds on Broad Street.
PHS members and anyone who joins the PHS family at the festival will be entitled to discounts throughout the event, including free plants at the Plant Dividend tent. Additional member benefits include tickets to the 2015 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Lights, Camera, Bloom.”
The PHS City Harvest Market will offer a wide variety of fresh produce from local gardens. There will also be DIY demonstrations. Young ones will be kept busy at the PHS Kids Zone, a space filled with a variety of races, crafts and activities to entertain and engage children.
The Fall Festival Marketplace will feature plants, tools, garden accessories, home décor, craft items and keepsakes from the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. Visitors can also stop by the PHS Store for an assortment of plants and products from PHS Meadowbrook Farm in Abington Township.
Gardeners can show off their own prized produce in the Fall Festival’s harvest-time contests. They can compete in “Garden Giants,” a showcase for beautiful, large tomatoes, squash and other veggies. Or they can create a stunning arrangement of seasonal flowers, vegetables, fruit, and herbs for the “Garden Bounty” contest. For information on entering these two contests, contact Betty Greene at 215-988-8826 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Judging for Garden Bounty will be at 11 a.m., and judging of Garden Giants will be at noon. For more information on the PHS Fall Festival, visit www.phsonline.org ••