Explore a selection of the PHS McLean Library’s extensive resources in the fields of horticulture and landscape and garden design through the Library's virtual exhibitions.

Browse Current Exhibitions

Groundwork: Three Early Honorary Members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. William Coxe, Mary Griffith, and J.C. Loudon were among the first Honorary Members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. William Coxe (1762-1831), first PHS honorary member (1828), was a celebrated American orchardist and author A View of Cultivation of Fruit Trees, and the Management of Orchards and Cider (1817) -- the first book on pomology written by an American or about American fruit trees. Mary Griffith (1772-1846) was elected as the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s first woman honorary member in 1830. Griffith’s Charlieshope Hive introduced a design that would protect the bees from predators and create conditions that would increase the health of bees. J. C. Loudon (1783-1843), noted Scottish botanist, landscape architect, and author, was elected an honorary member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in 1830.

The Chinatown Community Garden, founded by the neighbors in 1974 and active for a decade, it succumbed to the Vine Street Expressway expansion project in 1985. This exhibition focuses on the garden’s early years, its intergenerational focus and health benefits to the community, and its introduction of plants indigenous to China to the wider community of Philadelphia gardeners.

The Geranium Files: Ken-Watt Court and the Neighborhood Garden Association traces the history of an early urban greening project undertaken by the NGA, the Ken-Watt Court Community Club, and the United Neighbors Association. In 1953-1954, court residents collaborated on improvements that included replacing outside privies with indoor plumbing, building restoration and maintenance, and, at the request of the Ken-Watt Community Club, declared Ken-Watt as the first Philadelphia Garden Court. The Court, located at Kenilworth and Watts Streets, was demolished along with other South Philadelphia blocks to make way for the high-rise housing project Hawthorne Square (later renamed Martin Luther King Plaza). The housing project was imploded in 1999.

Mapping the Oasis Garden Club, 1954-1967 follows the news coverage of the Club by the Philadelphia Tribune and is documented by images from the Louise Bush-Brown Neighborhood Garden Association Collection. Under the leadership of Elizabeth J. Forrester, director of Women’s and Girls’ program at Western Community House, 1613 South Street, the Oasis Garden Club was organized in February 1954. At its height, the Club's African-American membership numbered more than 50 blocks and operated in roughly the area of Pine Street to Washington Avenue, and west of Broad Street to the Schuylkill River.​

The Acacia Chronicle: Joseph Widener, Thomas Roland, and the United States Botanic Garden traces the complicated history of the Joseph E. Widener Acacia Collection from the purchase in 1916 of 118 acacias from Thomas Roland of Nahant, Massachusetts, its exhibition at the Philadelphia Flower Show and the National Gallery of Art, through to its ultimate demise under the stewardship of the United States Botanic Garden by mid-century.

Two Women, One Garden: Selections from the Castaña Portfolio focuses on the photographs of the gardens and grounds of the Alba B. Johnson estate in Rosemont, Pennsylvania by noted photographers Ida W. Pritchett (1891-1965) and Clara E. Sipprell (1885-1975)