It is one of the most iconic images from the turbulent ‘60s era of the United States.
As demonstrators protested against the War in Vietnam in a “March on the Pentagon” in October 1967, they were confronted by armed soldiers from the 503rd Military Police Battalion. Rather than meet the soldiers with violence, at least one protestor stepped toward them and placed a flower in a rifle barrel.
“Flower Power” won the day.
Fast forward to 2019 and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is embracing “Flower Power” as the theme for this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show. During the week-long event, which welcomes hundreds of thousands to the region each year, Temple University is inviting visitors to “get hip to living more responsibly,” said Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Rob Kuper, who coordinated Temple’s 2019 Flower Show exhibit with Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael LoFurno and Greenhouse Horticulturist Benjamin Snyder.
Temple’s exhibit, Hip Haven: Hangin’ Loose at a Home Refuge, recognizes the stark contrast between the forces that were, and continue, to shape the nation, said Kuper. The exhibit incorporates the harsh, unyielding features of “The Machine” and the free-flowing, free-thinking ideals of the hippie counter-culture in “The Haven.” The Flower Show runs from now through Sunday, March 10 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets.
“We’re showing those contrasts through the use of materials and plants. There are small things, however, that unify the exhibit — colors and shapes, for example,” he said. “Hip Haven questions contemporary material and social norms. We hope to turn visitors on to the wonders of nature, community, individual freedom and peace and demonstrate how to create a home refuge that is conscious of the present and the future.”
Months of hard work, dedication and teamwork have certainly paid off for the students and faculty that have poured their heart into the 2019 exhibit. Temple's exhibit was presented with: a PHS Gold Medal, awarded to a major exhibit that receives 95 or more points out of 100 in the criteria of design, horticulture, plantsmanship and educational value; the Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America, a PHS Gold Medal Plant Award, a Special Achievement Award of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania and a PHS Sustainability Award.
As part of the Flower Show’s Gardener’s Hub, all of the educational exhibits were asked to incorporate examples of techniques that visitors could do at home, according to LoFurno.
“Each year, we always work toward sharing concepts that people can take and use in their own home environments. Some of our educational themes this year include using cold frames to extend the harvest season,” he said. “People have become so distant from their food sources they may not really even think about berries growing on bushes and nuts growing in trees anymore; the food forage area of the Haven harkens back to when food self-sufficiency was common. With the reflective surfaces in the Machine, we’re also demonstrating what needs to happen to prevent bird/window strikes.”
Landscape Architecture junior Michelle Armour said the “build” experience within the design-build studio “has been extremely beneficial to me.”
“The skills we are using is allowing us to bring ideas that we designed and make them a reality — it’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time but it is an excellent learning experience. Working on the Roost, I was really inspired by the 60s counter-culture and their unconventional approach to design,” she said. “While they were rebelling against the status quo, they were also very resourceful in sourcing and repurposing materials. I hope visitors are inspired to be creative and feel free to be playful in designing their own gardens and living spaces — you need spaces where you can simply recharge and get away, at least for a little while, from all of the things that demand our attention every day.”