Do you want butterflies with that? The answer is yes at Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s PHS Pop Up Garden, 1438 South Street, opening April 1, 2021. This is the fourth year PHS’s urban oasis of lush foliage, tasty food, and drink is sponsored by Solo Real Estate.
“We have partnered with PHS South Street Pop Up since 2018,” said Solo Real Estate president Deborah Solo. “This is our local neighborhood and we have strong community ties here. Green energy and sustainability have been very important to Solo Real Estate for some time. We are recyclers, composters, and advocators of green roofs. PHS aligns with what we feel is really important.”
Now about those butterflies. PHS Pop Up Gardens don’t just offer frozen mojitos and spicy nachos in a lively social setting. They also provide pollinator plants, including Fothergilla, Erysimum, Anemone, and Primula Veris for the purpose of attracting butterflies and bees back into the urban environment.
The goal is to provide sufficient food (nectar and pollen) to reverse the decline of bees and monarch butterflies in our City. Bees are not only essential for the reproduction of many flowering plants but are also responsible for pollinating agricultural crops. Meanwhile, the population of Monarch butterflies has declined 90% over twenty years.
Pollinator decline is attributed primarily to loss of habitat – farmland and open fields converted into housing developments – and to the use of pesticides. Weeds, such as milkweed, that once grew adjacent to crops and provided food for bees and butterflies are now eradicated by insecticides.
While butterflies are attracted to the PHS Garden, adults and children are drawn to delicious food and drink provided by Cantina Los Caballitos and Khyber Pass Pub. The food menu has something for everyone – vegetarian and carnivore. Kids can enjoy hot dogs, chicken tenders, and fries, while adults choose from a wide variety of light fares, including Garden Burgers, Nashville Hot ChickenWrap, and Mexican Shrimp Cocktail. Speak of cocktails, the bar menu offers a tantalizing selection of botanical cocktails, wines, sangria, and craft beer. Try a Pink Peppercorn Paloma – tequila, pink grapefruit, pink peppercorn, and lime. Or a Frozen Frosé – Aperol, Rosé, and lemon. Plus, non-alcoholic options.
One of the highlights of the PHS South Street PopUp Garden is the plant and seed giveaways sponsored by Solo Real Estate. “We distribute plants and bulbs on a weekly basis, along with detailed instructions,” said Sharon Tice DelCotto, PHS Business Development Consultant. “Each month features a different plant. In April, PHS will give away Gladiolus Bulbs. In May, June and July, it will be Geraniums, Coleus, Gerber Daisies, etc.”
“PHS Pop Up Gardens started in 2010 with the goal of transforming highly visible vacant lots into gardens that serve as a valuable community resource. Since then, we have had Pop Up locations all over the City,” said Tice DelCotto. “This year, we just have two locations, South Street and Manayunk. New for 2021, visitors will have the opportunity to book private spaces in the garden for groups celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other events.”
The atmosphere is like a backyard party with all the safety precautions to provide proper social distancing, mask-wearing, and contactless service. The number of visitors is limited and facemasks must be worn by adults and children until they are seated. To ensure safety, you can order and pay for your food and drinks on your mobile phone.
PHS was founded in 1827. In 2019, the non-profit organization became fully committed to using horticulture to advance the health and well-being of the Greater Philadelphia region. This includes creating healthy living environments, increasing access to fresh food, expanding economic opportunity, and building meaningful social connections. The Pop Up Gardens benefit the many programs of PHS, including City Harvest, which brings together a network of community gardeners who raise fresh, healthy food for more than 1,200 families in need each week. For Solo Real Estate, the connection with PHS reflects our commitment to sustainability, the environment, and the community.
The PHS South Street Pop Up is wheelchair accessible and pet-friendly. Open Monday-Thursday, 5-10 pm; Friday-Sunday, Noon-10pm.