Who are you and what is your position with BGP?

  • My name is Brianna Rivera & I am BGP’s Curriculum Coordinator.

How did you get involved with BGP?

  • I got involved with BGP through the COO, Onna Jones. She thought I’d be a great fit and knew I loved working with children. She invited me to a meeting and from that very first day, I felt like I was surrounded by family.


Where did you grow up?

  • I grew up in a small South Jersey town named Pittsgrove.

What are you passionate about?

  • I am very passionate about the education of children. My goal is to encourage children to never stop learning, never stop growing, and that they can do anything they put their mind to.


What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now?


Have you ever traveled outside of the country? If so, where?

  • Yes. Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

What is your favorite fruit? Vegetable? Flower?

  • Pineapple! My favorite vegetable would have to be corn on the cob. I love the rose.


What’s your favorite way to express your creativity?

  • Through my photography.

What does a normal Tuesday look like for you?

  • Working all day with my Pre-K kiddies, then I go to my grad class.

What is your life motto/mantra?

  • Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.



Who are you and what is your position with BGP?

  • I am Donna Romalino, and I am the Director of Committees for BGP.

How did you get involved with BGP?

  • It all began with a comment about gardening, that led to to the first leap, where it ALL began.

Where did you grow up?

  • Easton, PA

What are you passionate about?

  • Friends, family, gardening, Disney, books, and anything involving yarn/thread/etc.


What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now?

  • Cleaning out my closet!

Have you ever traveled outside of the country? If so, where?

  • Yes. Jamaica, where I met my husband (Thank God for that trip), Cancun, Cozumel, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Punta Cana

What is your favorite fruit? Vegetable? Flower?

  • My favorite fruit is grapefruit.
  • My favorite vegetable is zucchini.
  • My favorite flower is the pansy.

What’s your favorite way to express your creativity?

  • As a trained artist, it could be anything from needlework, to painting, to drawing, to whatever medium inspires me.

What does a normal Tuesday look like for you?

  • Feed the animals work, cook dinner, read or create something.

What is your life motto/mantra?

  • Respect others, until proven otherwise.


Guest Post: World Water Day


Guest Post from GrowOya’s Josh McWilliams

This March 22nd is World Water Day. With so many water issues facing us these days from billions without clean and safe water, to water scarcity, it can be a sometimes overwhelming feeling.

I want to share a recent story of what I found to be a profound moment for me, from someone you might not expect.

As a busy dad, chef, entrepreneur and gardener time can seem like the hottest commodity, at least usually the most sought after by yours truly. Sitting in traffic time slows and gardening in the sun or playing with my daughters at the park and it seems to disappear.

It was just another week for me counting down the days until Spring, when I read an article on Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish political activist. I was blown away for many reasons. Her courage and bravery was and still is very powerful. But it was her determination to ACT now that was most powerful. She was moved to ACT for something she believed in. It was the ACT that was the profound force that I can stop thinking about.

At a time of nothing short of a global water crisis the ACT of doing something rather than
nothing, to learn about the issues our water faces than to carry on as if we had all the water in the World is what will make the difference.

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I’m encouraged by our global youth. I want to encourage everyone to ACT(ION) and help tackle the issues around water so many face. Together we can do it, and our Youth are leading the way!

For more information and resources check out World Water Day
For more information on saving water in the garden check out GrowOya



1. Who are you and what is your position with the BGP?

I’m Meridith and I’m the Director of Social Media and Communications for the Bullock Garden Project, Inc.

2. How did you get involved with BGP?

When my family lived in Glassboro, we were blessed to have Sonya as a teacher in first grade (with Missy Tees!). It was the first full year the garden was incorporated in classroom learning and since I was the classroom parent, I got to experience learning with the children firsthand.

Needless to say, I was hooked. When the idea for a non-profit came about, I was happy to sign on to help with the social media element.

3. Where did you grow up?

I spent most of my childhood in central New Jersey – Manalapan. Went to school at Rowan and settled here soon after.

4. What are you passionate about?

So many things! My family, my dog, animals in general, running, writing. I’ve always said that whenever I do something, I throw myself into it completely.


5. What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now?

I’m the coordinator for the Healthy Kids Running Series – Mullica Hill/Mantua and our season starts in less than two weeks. Right now I’m focusing on getting everything lined up for that. There are a lot of moving pieces that all need to come together but I thrive on making everything work and enjoyable for our kid runners.

6. Have you ever traveled outside of the country? If so, where?

Yes! I’ve been to Haiti (when I was a child), Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, and some of the Caribbean Islands.


7. What is your favorite fruit? Vegetable? Flower?

Fruit: Strawberries. Fun fact: I was so in love with strawberries as a child, I ate a whole carton and then had an allergic reaction. In my 20s I decided to try them again and now I can eat them (but I never eat a whole carton).

Vegetable: Brussels Sprouts. Specifically from Sweet Lula’s in Pitman, but as long as they’re prepared well, I’m happy.

Flower: Lilacs.

8. What’s your favorite way to express your creativity?

Writing. I like to approach things from a different angle and present ideas in a way that make me think and inspire others too!

9. What does a normal Tuesday look like for you?

5am – wake up for the gym, 7:15am – home from the gym. From there anything goes: sometimes grocery shopping, sometimes work (I work from home), sometimes errands. We try to update the BGP blog so I’m on our social media accounts, sharing that information.

In the afternoon I’m a mom-taxi and drive my kids to and from their activities. Tuesday is usually packed with activities so we do a quick/easy dinner. Most Tuesdays you can find me on my blog Twitter account doing a chat with a community of runners.


10. What is your life motto/mantra?

I can and I will. It’s a reminder to myself to have faith and that I can do hard things.



Carlo’s Top 5 Designs from the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show

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Hi everyone! My name is Carlo and I am a social media intern for Bullock Garden Project Inc. Like Teresa, last Saturday was also my first time attending the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Before even getting to look at any of the designs, the smell was the first thing that caught my attention. The smell of the whole venue just reminded of all the times I helped my aunt and mother garden in the summer. Once I started to walk around everything almost felt so surreal. To be around all of the flowers, gardens, designs, and everything else in between, it just put me in the best mood. Inspiration was all around me. With every single design, you could tell how much love and passion each designer put into their creation. While I enjoyed everything about the Philly Flower Show, I have to show extra love to some of my favorite designs. Here are my top 5 designs/creations from the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Honorable Mention:  Flower Power Truck / Flower Peace Symbol / LOVE


Whenever I make lists or rank things, which is often, I always make sure to start off with an honorable mention. My honorable mention goes to the Flower Power theme truck, Flower Peace Symbol, and the iconic LOVE creation.  

For one thing, getting these pictures were actually incredibly difficult just because everyone wanted a picture in front of it or was trying to get that perfect angle to create that picture that you show off on Instagram to your friends and family. Personally, I don’t blame them because I kind of have that same mindset. I’m also not the tallest person in the world so it wasn’t like I could just raise my camera up and take a picture over everyone. Nonetheless, I was patient and able to get the pictures I needed.

I loved this year’s theme of Flower Power acting as a tribute to the impact that flowers have in our lives, as well as celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. These 3 designs hit the home run on the theme and even got to incorporate Philly’s famous LOVE statue. As for the flowers in the hood of the truck and around the peace symbol, they were so just vibrant and meshed well with the design as a whole.

5. Interiorscape


This combination of interior design and flowers/plants is mother’s dream, but I also really enjoyed the design. What I love most about these designs is that I was able to picture people in each of these spaces. In first room, with the striking yellow back wall and sunflower plants, I pictured a young, fashion forward woman who’s ready to take on the world with her love filled optimism and unique fashion sense. In the second room, I pictured a young male who is often judge as a guy who could care less about the environment, but in fact is a huge green enthusiasts. He appreciates the world of plants and furniture made though earth materials. In the final room, which was my personal favorite of the three,  I imaged a much older man who has been an educator his whole life who uses his plants and gardens as metaphors and symbols to teach his students about life as a whole. Yes, that was a reference to Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World. Shoutout William Daniels.

4. Mark Harding, White Rabbit

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While this is just one half of the whole design, this area really caught my eye. With inspiration taken from Grace Slick’s “White Rabbit,” which draws imagery and inspiration from “Alice in the Wonderland,” the design was both wild and beautiful.

Using more dark tones than majority of the creations, Mark Harding really nailed this one for me. Even though this was number 4 on my list, it is my top design when it comes to creativity. Every inch of this design you feel a different vibe. All the way around you felt that this was creation was something special. Finally, I have to show love to hypnotic floral circle. Through Haus’s instagram post he describes it as, “stories behind this element will forever remain in my repertoire of reminders that together we can can do anything.” Beautiful.

3. Katharina Stuart 


I apologize for not knowing the name of the design, but I do know the name of the designer if that makes up for it! Katharina Stuart absolutely crushed it. The pink velvet and white shag pile carpet create such a beautiful combination, while the flowers bring the whole creation to life. Everything kind of just pops out to you when you first catch sight of it.  Also, the letter C is the best letter in the alphabet, so I mean it’s almost destiny that my eyes were able to catch sight of this elegant design.

2.  Hans Zijlstra, Netherlands International FTD Design


The devil is in the details. Being the detailed freak that I am, it was awesome to see how much detail there was in this design.  From a first far away glance it looks like a very simple design (no disrespect intended), but as you got closer, you saw how that it was as simple as you first perceived. From the placement of the flowers surrounding the cups to the orange/rust pink shade of the glossy-like rock, I feel like Zijlstra really made sure the details would be noticed.

Another reason why this comes to be number 2 on my list is because a design like this is so overwhelming by the how beautiful it is, we forgot to see that the small details is what actually creates the final product. That statement doesn’t just go for this design, it goes for really everything in life. Life lesson #231 by Carlo B. Vargas, take time to smell the roses, but take even more time appreciating the details of the roses.

1. Leopoldo Gomez Caf, Geodesics Architectural Design, International FTD Design


Geodesics is a technique Leo discovered and decided to test with his floristry. I’m happy he did, because his design was hands down my favorite design from the whole show. He used wood and other natural sources to create the structure and sphere, and then embodied it with flowers.

With this creation he described it as, “The world is surrounded by flowers, it doesn’t matter which color, shape or race we are, all of us can live together in a happy world!” I love the message created through his floral and architectural artistry because not only does it beautifully fit in with the theme of the whole show, the details,  flowers, and colors combined just blend so well together. Not only was the centerpiece incredible, his table was a part I was not going to leave out of the discussion. His table was a creation of armature, hand made paper with bougainvillea petals to create and evoke romantic emotion. Everything about his design was just incredible. Shoutout Mexico and shoutout Leopoldo.

Overall, the Philadelphia Flower Show was probably one of my favorite experiences. I really recommend everyone try to visit a show either next year or some time in their life. You won’t regret it. Flowers are meant to bring joy to our lives. Even in the darkest moments, flowers find a way to bring a small ray of optimism and happiness. To be encompassed by it last Saturday, I still feel the euphoria.  Much love to Sonya, all of Bullock Garden Project, Philadelphia, and NC.

Peace and Love, Carlo B.