July 2nd | Posted In Philadelphia

UPDATED: A Tropical Flavor for this Year’s PHS Pop Up Garden – Opening July 8!

By Alan Jaffe & Marion McParland


The PHS Pop Up Garden has become synonymous with urban oasis. And this year’s design, location and menu will have an island-getaway ambiance in the middle of the city.

The fourth PHS Pop Up will transform a vacant lot at 1438-46 South Street into a beautiful gathering place featuring tropical drinks, beer and wine, a rotating array of food trucks, and Caribbean dishes served by the Jamaican Jerk Hut, the Pop Up’s next-door neighbor. The site, owned by Philadelphia music legend Kenny Gamble, will also feature live acoustic performances and other special programs and events.

The landscape is being designed by Groundswell Design Group, which created the beer garden in last year’s PHS Pop Up on South Broad Street. That garden attracted more than 28,000 visitors over the summer/fall season, and another 2,000 when it re-opened for a long weekend in February – despite snow and freezing temps — leading up to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show.

The Pop Up Garden concept originated with PHS President Drew Becher, who leads the PHS effort to build beauty throughout Philadelphia. From his office at our 20th and Arch Streets headquarters, Drew’s daily view was of the long-neglected space at 20th and Market Streets a few blocks away. He decided that was where the first Pop Up should go. His idea was to inspire others to transform the city’s vacant lots into attractive and useful sites, even if only for a season or two. That first Pop Up raised veggies for our PHS City Harvest program; hosted morning yoga sessions and afternoon children’s activities; and welcomed 5,000 visitors. The garden also was honored to be included in the U.S. exhibition in the Venice Architectural Biennale for its beautiful design and innovative use of urban land.

The second Pop Up Garden, on the 1900 block of Walnut Street, featured a 56-foot-long wooden table and a rainbow of chairs, and invited everyone to support the PHS City Harvest program in its effort to bring healthy, locally grown food to families most in need. More than 6,500 guests enjoyed the garden and urban meadow across from Rittenhouse Square.

Last year, the University of the Arts invited PHS to plant a garden on its vacant lot at 313 South Broad. It grew into the most popular Pop Up ever, with over 28,000 visitors. The addition of an evening beer garden didn’t hurt. The 2013 garden received raves from the city’s leading architecture and food writers, and was named one of best summer gathering spots in Philly.

This year’s PHS Caribbean-flavored Pop Up will include cabanas, hammocks, palm trees, and twinkling lights that will make West South Street feel like West Jamaica, or any other island getaway in your imagination.

Proceeds from the Pop Up Garden support the PHS City Harvest program. Visitors to the PHS Pop Up Garden can support City Harvest by purchasing an “I ♥ PHS” button for a donation of $1 or more.

A party to celebrate the opening of the garden is planned for Tuesday, July 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m.* The garden will be open to visitors seven days a week. Programs and special events are also planned at the garden throughout the summer and early fall. A complete listing of garden hours and activities will be available at Follow the action at the PHS Pop Up at #PopUpGarden or #BuildBeauty. 


The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1827, dedicated to building beauty and community through gardening, greening and learning. PHS offers programs and events for gardeners of all levels, and works with volunteers, organizations, agencies and businesses to create and maintain vibrant green spaces. Proceeds from the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show and donations from foundations, corporations, government and individuals support PHS programs, including Plant One Million and PHS City Harvest. For information, visit

The PHS Communications team is Alan Jaffe, PHS Director of Communications, 215.988.8833, and Marion McParland, PHS Communications Specialist, 215.988.8815,  

*The post originally had June 13 for the opening. The opening was delayed a bit, due to construction issues.

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