Temple Ambler in Bloom: Celebrating the Past, Present and Future of the Ambler Campus

A view of the Louise Bush-Brown Formal Perennial Garden in the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University

A visit to Temple University Ambler and the Ambler Arboretum is a trip through a rich history that informs the present while embracing the future.

In the past, there are powerful echoes of the pioneering women of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women who found their passions in horticulture, landscape design and agriculture and became leaders in each field.

In our classrooms and in our gardens today, students are learning by doing, designing and building landscape architecture projects, training to become the next generation of law enforcement and learning plant science with the latest technology. That technology and talent is leading the way toward a future where anyone can create sustainable food systems and researchers have a better understanding of how the natural and built environment can succeed and thrive in unison.

On Saturday, September 16, the Ambler Campus will host Temple Ambler in Bloom, formerly Rhapsody in Bloom, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the Louise Bush-Brown Formal Perennial Garden. The name may have changed, but the mission remains the same.

“There is new energy and vision emerging for the Ambler Arboretum and the Temple Ambler in Bloom committee wants to share that excitement! We are honoring the history of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women, celebrating the present Arboretum and gardens and ushering in the future,” said Kelli Mulligan, a member of the Temple University Ambler Board of Visitors and a Temple University alumnus from the Fox School of Business. “I have a lifelong passion for all things botanical and believe the Ambler Arboretum is a unique and special offering to America’s garden capital and Philadelphia’s public gardens and arboreta. Temple Ambler is a 187-acre living laboratory that currently provides students with the opportunity to create on a large scale, from horticulture and landscape architecture to aquaponics and sustainable community development.”

Open to students, alumni, faculty, staff and the general public, Temple Ambler in Bloom will “broaden the awareness of the arboretum and campus within the local community,” said Temple Ambler in Bloom committee member Kim Pennente. 

“This awareness includes understanding the rich history behind the campus and what’s planned for the years to come,” she said. “I think the Temple Ambler campus broadens the scope and diversity of education offered by Temple. Not everyone pursues the traditional approach to education and programs at the Ambler Campus offer flexibility in the approach to learning, whether it be a different campus or adult education options.”

Visiting Temple Ambler in Bloom will truly be a trip through everything that campus and arboretum have to offer, according to Angela Davis, Director of Development at Temple University Ambler.

“The event this year will include a walking tour and refreshments as visitors enjoy the breathtaking views of the Ambler Arboretum. With a ‘passport’ in hand, visitors will collect stamps signifying their arboretum experience,” said Davis. “The tour will showcase Temple Ambler’s past, highlighting the history of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women; Temple Ambler’s present with a silent auction featuring aspects of the Ambler Arboretum and its relationship to the visual arts; and Temple Ambler’s future, placing a spotlight on innovation and community with the Ambler Campus Aquaponics Lab, Temple University Ambler EarthFest and research taking place in the Ambler Arboretum gardens.”

Just as alumni and friends of the Ambler Arboretum are helping to guide Temple Ambler in Bloom, additional help is needed on a variety of committees! To volunteer and help plan the event, contact Eric Rivera at 267-468-8011 or rivera.eric@temple.edu.


“What makes Temple Ambler unique and important within the tapestry of Temple University as a whole is its intimate setting and its attention to the environment and sustainability. Temple alumni are so much a part of their communities that it is nearly impossible to live in the area and not know someone who went to Temple,” said Davis. “Ultimately we hope that participants leave Temple Ambler in Bloom with a better understanding of the Ambler Arboretum and how Temple Ambler has and will continue to positively impact future generations throughout the region and well beyond.”

Proceeds from the Temple Ambler in Bloom support the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University. Tickets are $40 per person. Register for the event online at ambler.temple.edu/bloom or mail your payment to: Temple University Ambler, Temple Ambler in Bloom, 580 Meetinghouse Road, Ambler, PA 19002. Make checks payable to “Temple University.”

Temple University Ambler has a long history of horticulture, landscape design and environmental stewardship. Established as the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women in 1910 and opened to students in 1911, the campus represents a unique mix of natural and designed landscapes. The gardens serve as excellent outdoor learning spaces for numerous classes and as a source of inspiration for the campus and local communities.

The Ambler Arboretum has a diverse range of learning gardens including the formal perennial garden, an herb garden, a groundcover garden, a native plant garden, a rock wall, a woodland garden, a sustainable wetland garden, an annual trial garden, a green roof garden, a winter garden, a healing garden, and a conifer garden.

The mission of the Ambler Arboretum is to serve as a living, learning laboratory that promotes love and knowledge of horticulture, understanding of the relationship between people and the environment, and awareness of both the need for and means to achieve greater environmental responsibility.

For more information about the Ambler Arboretum, visit ambler.temple.edu/arboretum. For more information on Temple Ambler in Bloom or to register for the event, contact Eric Rivera at 267-468-8011 or rivera.eric@temple.edu.