Temple's Landscape Architecture and Horticulture programs won six top honors at the Philadelphia Flower Show, which continues through March 12.
Joseph V. Labolito

Months of hard work, dedication and teamwork by the students, faculty and staff in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture's Landscape Architecture and Horticulture programs have been recognized with a stellar showing at the 2023 Philadelphia Flower Show, which continues at the Pennsylvania Convention Center through March 12.

Temple's 2023 Flower Show exhibit, The Power of Nature — Plug Into It, has been awarded an astounding six top honors, including a PHS Gold Medal, awarded to a major exhibit that receives 95 or more points out of 100 in the "criteria of design, horticulture, plantsmanship and educational value."

"Everyone truly pulled together to create an outstanding exhibit. It's heartening to see dozens of Flower Show visitors waiting to see and walk through our exhibit," said Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Associate Professor Michael LoFurno, who guided the students through the project with Adjunct Professor and Temple Landscape Architecture program alumnus Zoe Boothe-Jarrett. "When visitors learn that the exhibit was created entirely by students they are impressed by the amount of work that went into it and the attention to detail. A number of the judges after the awards were announced also told me they appreciated the attention to detail and the cohesiveness of the presentation."

At the 2023 Philadelphia Flower Show, Temple's exhibit explores "the outdated and abandoned relics of power distribution systems as they are reclaimed by nature," said LoFurno.

"Over the last century, electric power distribution lines have been cut through the landscape without regard for topography, vegetation, or waterways," he said. "New green energy solutions provide many opportunities for change. Abandoning these outdated relics of our electrical past provides the opportunity for regeneration, regrowth and restoration."

The Power of Nature — Plug Into It was additionally 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."
  • The PHS Gardening for the Greater Good Award for the exhibit "that best exemplifies PHS's mission to activate horticulture and gardening as a force for the 'greater good' by advancing the health and well-being of the people and their environments."
  • The Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America for a special exhibit in the field of horticulture, botany, or conservation. "The exhibit of exceptional educational merit increases the knowledge and awareness of the viewing public. It is the exhibit that best combines an important message with the ability to convey that message to the public." 
  • The Pennsylvania Landscape Nursery Association Trophy to an exhibit "showing the most effective use of plants and best use of design in the educational category." 
  • Special Achievement Award of The Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, awarded, if merited, "to an exhibit of unusual excellence (under 1,000 square feet) in the category of Conservation."

"We were particularly proud to receive the Alfred M. Campbell Award once again. I think, for me, the Gardening for the Greater Good Award is the most meaningful — it's recognition that we are aligned with PHS's mission of supporting the greater good through community gardening and horticulture," LoFurno said. "My hope is that the people who visit our exhibit gain an appreciation of native plants and build a greater connection for the beauty that is right in their own backyard. I think when our students are at the exhibit hearing all of the wonderful comments from visitors, it only adds to the learning experience for them — they'll able to see how their work has come together to form a united whole."

The student team working on The Power of Nature were Landscape Architecture juniors Nicolette Bovier, Nick Dattilo, Robert De Petris, Sydny DeRoma, Noah Drossner, Margaret Hamilton, Bryan Hopp, Lauren Kobistek, Danny Logue, Daniel Maradiaga-Portillo, Chandler McLaurin, Patrick Rieker, Wyatt Schmon, Ziyu Wu.

Horticulture senior Ethan Smith and Landscape Architecture sophomore Owen Lambert additionally worked closely with Benjamin Snyder, Manager of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture Greenhouse Education and Research Complex at Temple Ambler readying the 852 plants from 65 different species used for the exhibit for the week of the Flower Show.

Temple continues to be one of only a handful of exhibitors that forces its own plants for their exhibits.

"We need to trick plants into thinking that winter is over and spring is here. To do that, they need to have an early winter. We accomplish this through vernalization, which takes place in our on-campus coolers. Each plant is then brought out of the coolers and into our growing zones according to a schedule," said Snyder, a Tyler Horticulture program alumnus. "Since our students have the opportunity to either do directed studies or explore volunteer opportunities to assist on the plant side of the Flower Show, they get practical experience working in the Greenhouse, problem-solving, working on a tight schedule and figuring out how to make the best of certain situations."

By working on the Flower Show this year, "I've learned how much of a commitment it takes," said Lambert.

"It takes time figuring out what it should look like and then making that vision a reality. The Landscape Architecture studio students did a fantastic job creating so many difficult aspects with the construction of the exhibit," he said. "It's so nice to see all the different types of reactions by people of all ages walking through the exhibit. Kids appreciate the vibrant colors while others love the theme of the restorative power of nature. With the number of awards, I think it really speaks to our programs' ability to go the extra step in creating a story with the design that educates the public about sustainability."

For a behind the scenes look at the making of The Power of Nature, view the videos on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/templeuniversityamblercampus.

Building upon a rich history of environmental teaching that dates back more than a century, Temple's Landscape Architecture and Horticulture 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 Landscape Architecture and Horticulture programs, part of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, are committed to excellence in ecologically-based education. The goal of the programs 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 tyler.temple.edu/programs/landscape-architecture-horticulture.

For more information about the 2023 Philadelphia Flower Show, visit theflowershow.com.