Rain Barrels at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Rain Barrels at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Last Friday when I reported to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for my volunteer shift at the Philadelphia Flower Show, exhibitors and vendors were in flurry of activity putting the final touches on their displays for the 2009 show opening the next day. Prior to beginning my shift I took a moment to explore the exhibits as workers hustled about placing plants, adding the final clumps of mulch, and touching up paint jobs. My favorite exhibit in progress was by Temple University Ambler College students titled “Green Renaissance.”

"Green Renaissance" exhibit by Temple University Ambler College students at the Philadelphia Flower Show. photo credit:R. Robert

Their exhibit featured several green gardening concepts including a living wall, rain chain, and rain barrels. Their plant material included Swiss chard, fresh radishes, and various fresh herbs. Their design was inspired by 16th century Italian gardens with adaption to the local and vernacular flavors and sustainable living. As a result of their efforts, judges awarded the display Special Achievement Awards-Garden Club Federation of PA Conservation-under 1,000 square feet.

Rain chains dripping into a rain barrel Temple University Ambler College student display. photo credit: R. Robert

I appreciated the use of the rain barrels in the exhibit. They demonstrated how rain barrels can not only be useful in the garden but can also be decorative and attractive. I especially loved how they used a rain chain to decoratively drip water in a rain barrel.

A water-wise gardener can use a rain barrel to:

  • Reduce the volume of water flowing to the sewer treatment facility
  • Lower the percentage of roof top rainfall as a component of urban runoff
  • Backup source of water during times of drought or between rain showers
  • Help to keep our creeks clean
  • Naturally softened water – great for delicate houseplants, auto cleaning, and window washing
  • Save money by lowering water bills
  • Chlorine-free water helps maintain a healthy biotic community in the soil

The Scott Arboretum will be installing their first rain barrel in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden this spring. To learn more about this great gardening tool register for our workshop “Save the Rain! Water Conservation in the Garden” on Friday, March 27 from 9 am to Noon.

Rain chain example in Temple University Ambler College exhibit. photo credit: R. Robert

Congratulations to the students of Temple University Ambler College on their award winning design. Visit the Philadelphia Flower Show to experience all the sustainable garden techniques demonstrated this year.

Becky Robert
  • Jacqui
    Posted at 16:03h, 05 March Reply

    This display is awesome and inspirational!

  • Erica
    Posted at 16:17h, 05 March Reply

    Wish I could have been there in person. I miss volunteering at the show and the behind-the-scenes work.
    Looks like a great show and I like the rain chains.

  • Randy
    Posted at 20:57h, 05 March Reply

    Thanks for this article, it shows even better more attractive ways to green up ones garden.

  • Lou
    Posted at 08:01h, 10 March Reply

    I like the look of the rain chains going into the wooden barrels, I just bought one here: http://www.ne-design.net/rain-chain-barrels.html and found some good chains on Amazon.com

  • HappyGardener215
    Posted at 01:37h, 12 February Reply

    I have found locally made well priced rain barrels here in Philadelphia. This guy is using new clean food grade barrels and has fitted them with decent quality parts http://www.tradertravis.biz

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