Drew Becher was not particularly interested in horticulture until his grandmother taught him about the power of the plant.
Now, as the President of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Becher says that his life is focused on transforming all kinds of spaces with greenery.
“The power of the plant is really underestimated in the urban landscape,” Becher said.
For the fourth consecutive year, Becher and the PHS have transformed spaces throughout the city with summer Pop Up Gardens. This year is no different, with this summer’s location at 1438 South Street.
“I moved to Philly for this job, so I can remember walking by this space a while back after I moved here,” Becher said. “I remember thinking, ‘there’s got to be something we can do about this.’”
Tuesday, July 8 marked the opening of the garden with guest speakers like Kenny Gamble, the chair of Universal Companies and Lauren Vidas, the chair of South of South Street Neighborhood Association, food from The Cow and the Curd food truck and the Jamaican Jerk Hut (the garden’s next door neighbor), cocktails and craft beer.
Trinidelphia, a local Philly steal drum band, played for the stream of people going in and out of the picnic table and hammock lined garden.
The PHS has taken each garden further than the year before, adding new elements to the spaces every summer. One year, the garden was all about produce, the next had a “bring your own lunch” theme and last year alcohol was added to the space.
Other events are happening inside the space throughout the summer as well. On Friday, July 11 at 4 p.m. the Philly Beer Garden Series will be held at the garden.
The proceeds from the garden will be donated to beautification projects in Philly neighborhoods and will support the PHS City Harvest Program. The program strives to create green jobs and grow healthy foods for families in need all around the city.
PHS has a goal to raise $50,000 this summer for those projects. According to Becher, over 30,000 people stopped into the garden last summer, so he expects them to meet their goal easily.
The garden is open seven days a week and offers food and drink after 5 p.m. on weekdays, 2 p.m. on Saturdays and noon on Sundays.
Emily Rolen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org