Unseasonal garden spot blossoms with beer, hopes of spring

Despite the string of recent winter storms, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has forced spring into bloom.

The weekend, a vacant lot Broad and Spruce streets in Philadelphia will act as a harbinger of warmer times when the PHS delivers a “flower bomb.”

Volunteer crews shoveled a foot of snow out of the lot across the street from the Kimmel Center — not to plant flowers but electronic trees with illuminated LED leaves and hang images of flowers to remind people that this space had once been the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s pop-up beer garden. That was last summer, a long time ago.

It is likely the last hurrah for the vacant lot that will be developed into luxury condominiums next fall.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

This “flower bombing” is one of several surprise floral events in the run-up to the horticultural society’s annual Flower Show, opening March 1 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“It’s a little intense right now,” said Jamie McFadden, a social media coordinator for PHS who donned heavy boots and thick gloves to work on the site. “When we planned this, we didn’t plan for 12 inches of snow.”

The flowers may not real but the pop-up garden will have the next best thing: beer. Like the summer pop-up, this will be a beer garden with a warming tent to keep the reality of winter at bay.

It’s been all hands on deck to remove as much winter as possible from this vacant lot. Even PHS president Drew Becher put on boots and gloves.

“The office has been closed for the past few days, because of the storm and the city declaring a state of emergency. A lot of employees are stuck at home,” said McFadden.

The pop-up beer garden will last only through the weekend, when temperatures are expected to get as high as 36 degrees. Because it will take more than love to keep you warm.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal