Garden News from City Planter

Stop by City Planter to check out the amazing work of metal artist John Howell IV. We maintain a selection of his artwork as he comes up with new, creative pieces.


The oldest plant on Earth is undergoing a renaissance. While the stately orchid is still the prize of the seasoned plant collector, it is the lowly moss that is receiving a new wave of love and admiration from the newest generation of hip gardeners.  And why not? Moss is beautiful, texturally interesting, and fairly easy to grow.

Moss belongs to a class of plants that do not produce seeds or flowers. Instead, mosses produce spores, like ferns. Unlike ferns, though, they have no vascular structures – they rely on the surrounding environment to move water through the plant. That is why mosses are always so small: they are non-woody plants that have no system to support larger growth.

Of all the fabulous plants you can have in your home, Tillandsias (sometimes called air plants or tillies) are by far the trendiest. Here at City Planter, they have gone from an unknown to one of our hottest items… and for good reason!

Tillandsias are easy to care for, interesting to look at, and can be collected and displayed in many different ways.


How can you tell if your plants are getting enough water? The Philadelphia heat is here and you just spent all this time and money making your garden look beautiful. Suddenly everything is dead. There are some tell tale signs of drought that if you take the time, you will be able to see.


The number one question urban gardeners ask us is "where do you start?" So many people come in to our store not knowing how to begin gardening on a small balcony or terrace. Especially if you're a beginning gardener, all the questions in your head can feel very daunting.  Is my balcony big enough?  Do I have enough sun? How am I going to water it? What plants are going to live? If you ask yourself all the questions at once, you may talk yourself right out of it!  But you can do it! Here are some tips to help you on your way, and if you get stuck on any of them, come see us at City Planter, and we can walk you through it.

Sunlight. It's the number one necessity for plants. Yet, unlike water or nutrients, it is the hardest component of the plant life cycle to provide if you don't have access to the sun itself. And who has access to the sun? Yes yes, I know some of you are blessed with south facing windows or solariums or even full sun roof decks, but as an urbanite who lives in a row house, I only have east and west facing windows. And my west windows are blocked by a horrible Tree of Heaven in the evening and the tall apartment building earlier in the day: not much light for my poor plants.  There are plenty of indoor houseplants that thrive with limited light, but what about those prized plants you want to keep, even if they need full sun?


Indoor lighting could be your answer!



If you don't know about SaVa Boutique, located at 1700 Sansom Street, you are missing out on a cool new way to shop locally here in Philadelphia. SaVa is B corporation certified. What does that mean? Taken from the B Corporation website:

Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  B Corps are unlike traditional businesses because they:

  • Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards; 

  • Meet higher legal accountability standards;
  • Build business constituency for good business 

This pertains to SaVa because they are a clothing boutique that sells locally made garments, manufactured by local employees who are paid a living wage for their work. They use only fair-trade fabrics (usually eco-friendly) and have implemented systems such as compostable tags and paper hangers to keep the green movement alive in all aspects of the store.

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is bird watch. I'm not sure why. I think it is because hearing the happy tweets and chirps of neighborhood songbirds reminds me that the cold will end and I will be out in my garden again soon.


This year, everyone here at City Planter has gotten bit by the birdfeeder bug. We have many different styles of feeders here in the store and all of the staff has taken one home to test drive. I even will admit that I jumped for JOY when I received a bird ID field guide as a holiday gift this past season.


We're not all work here at City Planter. Sometimes we like to roll up our sleeves and get dirty with our customers. And that is just want we did at the Seed Paper Gift Tag class on Nov 17.


I think it is safe to say everyone had fun learning how to take junk mail and other paper scraps around the house from clutter to a fun, plantable, gift tag!

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