Greener pastures for city scapes

Urban Jungle specializes in vertical landscaping to make gardens for cities lacking in green space.

Urban Jungle specializes in vertical landscaping to make gardens for cities lacking in green space.

For avid plant lovers, it can be frustrating to live in an urban area like Philadelphia. With buildings on top of buildings and stoops and sidewalks galore, there is limited space to grow plants and show off green thumbs.

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Lucky for gardeners – and the environment – there is now Urban Jungle, a company created by Curt Alexander, a man some may refer to as a plant genius.

As a California native who grew up on a vineyard, Alexander always had a love and passion for horticulture and nature. However, when he made the move out to Philadelphia in 2003, he soon discovered that it would be extremely difficult to establish any type of green environment with the limited space and concrete that lined the Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Using his years of experience and the skills he learned at West Point Military Academy, where he majored in mechanical engineering, Alexander came up with Urban Jungle – a garden portal for people who want to learn more about making their city environment greener.

“It was something I had a desire to try and overcome, and I started experimenting with different methods and realized it wasn’t as difficult as it seemed,” Alexander said.

And with the support and advice from his wife and friends, Alexander began looking at his idea as a possibility that could one day prove to be a success.

“We started coming up with different concepts like vertical landscaping and landscaping services that are focused on city dwellers,” he said. “Just simple irrigation solutions that would be cost effective and allow people to irrigate their plants without any problems.”

According to Alexander, Urban Jungle formed about three years ago, evolving from his passion for wanting more greenery in his life. Since then, the company’s mission has been to create sustainable green urban environments, and everything the company does focuses on that.

“We figure that if people have water, soil and good plant material, there’s no reason why they can’t have a nice green environment,” he said. “And that’s what we’re aiming to accomplish in the urban environment – thus the name Urban Jungle,” Alexander said.

But why exactly is a company like Urban Jungle so important in cities like Philadelphia? From what Alexander says, Philadelphia needs it.

“What we are doing is providing an outlet for people to make their environment greater. All the products we produce or provide aim towards making it easier for urban dwellers to green up their environment,” he said, which will in time help reduce CO2 emissions.

In addition to providing urban gardeners a chance to green up their surroundings, Alexander and his company are taking matters into their own hands by keeping the Urban Jungle offices as eco-friendly as possible. Not only are all their products organic, but the Urban Jungle building has installed solar tubes that provide natural light and help reduce energy consumption.

And with the recent celebration of Earth Day, it could not be a better time for Philadelphians to use the services of Urban Jungle, or simply give back to Earth in their very own way. For Alexander, Earth Day should be used to reflect on how each of us can better care for the world we live in.

“It’s all about having a future for our children. It’s a new way of thinking, and it’s really not that difficult to change our thought process and become more sustainable. Earth Day kind of represents that transformation. And Urban Jungle represents the transformation for urban dwellers to think beyond the concrete and basically transform their environments and where they live,” he said.

Alexander tries his best to incorporate green tips and be as environmentally friendly as possible not only in his business, but in his own life as well by doing simple things like walking to work whenever possible.

“It’s one of the reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing, so I can try to reduce the emissions. It’s all the small steps that make a difference,” he said.

Christeen Vilbrun can be reached at

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