Tamanend’s Track wins major awards at Philadelphia Flower Show

Students and faculty set up Temple University Ambler's exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Months of hard work by Temple University Ambler students and faculty paid off with special honors for Temple’s 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show Exhibit, Tamanend’s Track: The Path to a Portrayal of the Past.

Tamanend’s Track was awarded a Special Achievement Award of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, presented to an exhibit “of unusual excellence in the category of conservation;” the Chicago Horticultural Society Flower Show Medal, awarded to an educational exhibit showing outstanding horticultural skill and knowledge in a nationally recognized flower show; and a PHS Special Achievement Award for “best achievement in conveying a message through landscape.”

Tamanend’s Track reflected how landscape alteration has inspired regional artists within the context of modern landscape architecture and ecological restoration.

“To have the work of our students, faculty and staff recognized is extraordinarily rewarding — the students truly advanced the concepts and made the exhibit their own. I think one thing about our exhibits each year is that they are always unique — advancing ideas with different construction and plant materials,” said Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Rob Kuper, who with Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael LoFurno and Horticulture Supervisor Anne Brennan, coordinated the 2014 exhibit. “I was pleased to see the recognition for conservation as that was one of the most prominent messages we were conveying in the exhibit. We were also honored to be recognized by the Chicago Horticultural Society for the way we thought about and used plants in the exhibit.”

Kuper said the PHS award honoring the exhibit’s ability to convey a message through landscape had particular significance this year “as we were using the gardens and spaces to say something; to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end.”

“Hopefully we were able to share a very clear message about the state of our landscape and what we can do to change it,” he said. 

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture "is well grounded in the wise use of natural resources," said LoFurno.

"The accolades we received share the common thread of environmental awareness and responsibility," he said.

Presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show — with its “ARTiculture” theme — was held from March 1 to 9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Tamanend’s Track takes its inspiration from a variety of artists and ideas, including the “wild” frontier captured by the Hudson River School of painters in the early and mid-1800s. The exhibit is also greatly influenced by the ecological restoration work that Temple’s own Master of Landscape Architecture students are directly taking part in and Tamanend himself, the Lenni-Lenape spokesperson who established peaceful relations with William Penn and his fellow settlers and whose statue sits at the east terminus of Market Street in Philadelphia.

Seventeen landscape architecture students and four horticulture students spent months developing Tamanend’s Track’s three distinct environments — the “Tangle,” the “Retreat” and the “Mend.”

"Rather than imitate a work of art with flowers, we chose to examine how artists are inspired," said LoFurno. "We attempted to create the precipice in the retreat to suggest the American sublime that inspired the Hudson River School artists."

Kuper said a design-build project of this type leads to “an advancement in thinking” for students when they approach projects in the future.

“They are realizing ideas — taking something in their head, putting it on paper, and then actually building it. Students often design in bubbles separate from the work around them, but this experience pushes them to work together and help one another to achieve a common vision,” he said. “They are resolving problems that crop up and finding solutions that are functional and structurally sound.”

The students that participate in the Flower Show each year, Kuper said, “become part of something bigger.”

“They are part of Temple’s history and the Flower Show’s history,” he said. “They take pride in their work as landscape architects and horticulturists and they realize that what they are learning in the classroom is meaningful when they are able to see and compare their work to the work of other exhibitors.”

For more information about “Tamanend’s Track: The Path to a Portrayal of the Past,” contact 267-468-8108 or duffyj@temple.edu.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the largest indoor event of its kind in North America, welcoming more than 300,000 visitors a year.

Temple University Ambler has a long and illustrious history with the Flower Show, taking home “Best in Show” awards in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012 in addition prestigious honors from the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania in 2004 and 2011 and the Horticultural Society in 2006. In 2013, Temple University Ambler was awarded the Alfred M. Campbell Memorial Trophy, given to the “educational major exhibit that demonstrates the most successful use of a variety of plants in a unique fashion.”

Building upon a rich history of environmental teaching that dates back more than a century, Temple University Ambler is home to the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture. The degree programs are a unique blend of disciplines, providing students with the design and plant background necessary to succeed in any aspect of the Green Industry.

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture at Temple University Ambler, part of the School of Environmental Design in Temple’s College of Liberal Arts, is committed to excellence in ecologically based education. The department’s goal is to train leaders in the art and science of horticulture (A.S., B.S., and certificate programs) and landscape architecture (MLArch and B.S. programs). The programs provide students with knowledge and understanding of the environment so that they can improve the quality of our urban, suburban, and rural communities.

For more information on the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture programs at Temple University Ambler, visit www.temple.edu/ambler/la-hort.