Flower Show Awards for Temple University

Months of hard work, dedication and teamwork by 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 2024 Philadelphia Flower Show, which continues at the Pennsylvania Convention Center through March 10.

Temple's 2024 Flower Show exhibit, Piers, Progress and Processes: Charting a Course for a More Bountiful Future, 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."

"I was approached by several people on the judging panels and they personally conveyed to me how impressed they were in our exhibit and that it touched on so many important tissues of the day, getting visitors to think about what they can do in their in their own lives to protect the environment" said Landscape Architecture Associate Professor Michael LoFurno, who guided the students through the project with Landscape Architecture Instructor and Temple alumnus Anthony Zachornacki. "On a design level, several well-known designers and landscape architects said how well integrated the design elements were in our interpretation of this waterfront neighborhood."

At the 2024 Philadelphia Flower Show, Temple's exhibit explores the history of Pennsport and charts a course toward a future designed to reconnect the neighborhood with the waterway that has been so integral to its history.

"We chose the oldest neighborhood in the entire city drawing attention to the environmental issues — tides and rising river levels — while also recognizing the history of the area. We took the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's theme, United By Flowers, and interpreted it as uniting the neighborhoods back with the river," said LoFurno. "The river is why Philadelphia is even here — the city wouldn't exist without the river. I think we achieved what we set out to do — give people food for thought."

Taking Temple's exhibit from design to reality for an expected quarter of a million Flower Show visitors was entirely a team effort, LoFuirno said.

"As an alumnus coming into this from an entirely different perspective, Anthony was integral in helping the students achieve their vision," he said. "(Coordinator) Gracie Laychock was invaluable behind the scenes and there were others who volunteered their time — such a Temple alumnus Zoe Boothe-Jarret, who helped create the exhibit signage — that made this year's exhibit possible."

Piers, Progress and Processes was additionally awarded:

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 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 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."

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 student team working on Piers, Progress and Processes were Landscape Architecture majors Cecelia Quay, Owen Lambert, Ruby Kabuiku, Laetitia Zagabe, Simone Keg, Maggie Murphy, Taylor Place and Zachary Neyen.

"It's a really great feeling that the exhibit has been recognized this way, as it is a direct reflection of all the hard work and hours we put into designing and building our exhibit. One award that is particularly meaningful to me would have to be the Bulkley Medal of The Garden Club of America, because this award proves that our exhibit conveys a message to the public," said Landscape Architecture junior Maggie Murphy. "As an educational exhibit, I want visitors to not only appreciate our design and horticultural features but leave with a message or feeling that inspires them to care for our environment. I hope they spend as much time as they need to notice the tiny details we've incorporated, recognize the variety of plant species in the space, gain a sense of the history and feeling of Pennsport and, in general, gain an appreciation for horticulture, design and our environment."

Horticulture seniors Frankie Napoli and Zach Quintois and Landscape Architecture juniors Lambert  and Neyen worked closely with Benjamin Snyder, Manager of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture Greenhouse Education and Research Complex at Temple Ambler readying the more than 500 plants from 60 different species used for the exhibit for the week of the Flower Show.

"Having only been in the program for a short time and already having an award-winning Flower Show exhibit under my belt really makes me look in the mirror and makes me feel proud of who I am as a person and who I am as a horticulturalist," said Quintois. "I would say that my identification techniques my forcing techniques and just general plant care techniques all improved during the duration of this directed study and that's just scratching the surface — there is so much that I learned from this experience."

Each award Temple received this year has special significance, said Zachornacki.

"The students deserve all of the recognition. I think it's great for the university as a whole, for the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, for everyone who lent a helping hand, and especially all of the students who put in countless hours to make something truly unique," he said. "The extreme detail that you see in Temple's exhibit is carefully constructed by the students and it's wonderful to see them get rewarded after all their hard work."

The students, Zachornacki said, "have learned many attributes that they can take with them once they leave college."

"I think most importantly they have learned what hard work means, what dedication is when it comes to your art and skill. They learned teamwork, how to work with one another and I think they also learned basic, everyday skills such as how to use hand tools and power tools," he said. "A lot of these students never held a hammer, now I see them angle cutting two-by-four wood with a chop saw. It's extremely impressive how far they've come."

LoFurno said receiving the Alfred M. Campbell Award once again is a particular point of pride. The Gardening for the Greater Good Award, he added, "is certainly meaningful."

"It's recognition that we are aligned with PHS's mission of supporting the greater good through community gardening and horticulture," he 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."

For a behind the scenes look at the making of Piers, Progress and Processes, 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 2024 Philadelphia Flower Show, visit theflowershow.com.