The 21st century concept of Green is rooted, in part, in 19th century civic horticulture, a pioneering and concerted effort by authorities and individuals to bring the garden (and nature) into the city to address economic, social and quality of life issues. So what about civic horticulture today in this postâ€Earth Day generation? Its benefits and vocabulary have expanded, leveraging the interconnectedness of the natural, cultural and ecological systems that provide the essential foundation for civic horticulture, while recognizing its prominence in fostering healthy, vibrant cities.
Perhaps no organization has the legacy of tackling this issue more that the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Founded in 1827, a meeting with a group of gentleman farmers, botanists and other plant enthusiasts resolved “to establish a Horticultural Society in the City of Philadelphia for the promotion of this interesting and highly influential branch of Science.” Today that mission to “motivate people to improve the quality of life and create a sense of community through horticulture” is still strong and is a fitting lens to visit the topic of civic horticulture.
The goal of the Civic Horticulture conference (and associated tours) is to first position the idea of civic horticulture in its historic context (from the Victorian era through the City Beautiful movement up to the Age of Ecology) and then go topically deep, placing a spotlight on such critical themes as The Street; The Productive Garden; and Parks and Plazas. Speakers will come from across the country and will include landscape architects, horticulturists, architects and historians.
Registration will be coming soon – visit www.tclf.org/civic-horticulture-conference-philadelphia.Â Photo from Philadelphia Style magazine.