Seedlings: Growing a Cause to Grow the Future

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.


Philly Flower Show 2019 – Teresa’s 5 Favorite Things

Saturday was my first ever time attending the Philly Flower Show. Beings I knew little of what to expect, I kept an open mind and dove in.

The atmosphere was fun, family friendly, and catered to many different aesthetics. You could have a wine smoothie, grab a Stella, or enjoy a cocktail, or munch on delicious snacks while watching a potting demonstration.

The artist eyes could savor the textures and details of winning installations, while the practical home gardener could walk away with inspiration for real life. Oh, and with the many market displays, you could literally walk away with amazing new features for your garden and outdoor space that same day.

Here’s a few of my favorite things:

1. The Phytoremediation display. College students developed a wonderful installation, showing the contrast of vacant, possibly contaminated, lots, to a beautiful garden of open space.


Did you know that sunflowers and grasses are amazing at drawing toxins and chemicals from the soil?  They clean the soil! We live in an age where many populated areas are stricken with brownfields and polluted sites. Using plants to beautify and purify the area, is a wonderful and needed step for human health and well-being.  Want to stop illnesses and cancer? Start at the source by cleaning up the Earth.

2. All the Neon: The Neon installation was so much fun, visually and experientially. Designed as a circular color wheel, each piece was sectioned off by color and theme. From far away, you could see the glow radiating RoyGBiv like electric Crayola crayons.  Up close, you were absorbed into each partition, and its collective neighbor.


The shapes and vivid colors, exaggerated by the neon glow, drew you in and begged you to look more closely and from every angle. Every vantage point gave way to a new perspective and delightful piece of rainbow eye candy.


3. Native plants and tree frogs! One installation was a wonderful walk through example of utilizing native plants for a cozy, fully landscaped effect. Not only did these college students showcase plants hearing and feeling (yes, it’s true!), but they had TREE FROG recordings playing!! Northern grey tree frogs, to be exact! I can’t even begin to explain how exciting this made me. Native plants hosting native wildlife? Yes!

This area hosts so much wildlife but many don’t realize it is right in our own backyards. And guess what? If it isn’t, if you build it, they will come.

Grass lawns are boring and time consuming and provide what service, exactly? Unless you are out there everyday playing football, it’s a waste. Do visions of lawn mowers and leaf blowers bring you joy? No? Well thank them and let them go.

We can reduce our impact on the environment, reduce flooding and storm water runoff (there’s grants you can apply for to offset this), and increase our well-being through our outdoor spaces.

Native plants are beautiful and make each region so unique! Plus, they are easy to maintain, in most situations, and they support native wildlife. Want birds? Plant natives. Want pollinators? Plant natives. Want to spend more time w your family instead of doing tons of yard work? Plant natives.

This display should be in every Lowe’s and Home Depot to encourage and inspire until we become lawn-less…or at least grow less grass lawns.

4. The Children’s gardens and art:  These 2 separate displays show the moving and thoughtful contribution of youth to the green movement. Our children see this world through a very tech oriented lens, and the natural world is a refuge. We have to keep setting our youth up for success and giving them opportunities to take ownership; we won’t be disappointed. Innovation, art, engineering, networking, practical, sustainable solutions–these kids are our future and they have wonderful ideas that need support from us.

All of the children-created gardens were done with professional eyes, quite beautifully and cleverly.


The art pieces from various ages used natural products, innovation, photography, and artist hands to send love through to the viewer.

It’s clear these kids see everything and want a beautiful, greener future.


5. Vietnam:  The thought provoking Vietnam installation stopped me on site. Slightly disheveled, at first glance, but oddly beautiful in it’s arrangement. Like many of the displays, you had to see this from every angle. The story told from the outside, peeking through storyline after storyline of those affected by Vietnam, reminded us that peace, flowers, and a time of free love was a direct response to war.


This war was very unpopular and the effects are still seen today in Veterans and families affected. The symbolism in this piece, though open for interpretation, ran clear.


“Bring me flowers while I live,” my political science professor would say. The value of remembrance and honor we instill in placing flowers, is second to how we can honor the living. Just a few of many thoughts that ran through my head as I took in the totality of this scene.

A show built on growing, planting, and transforming spaces, transforming your home and neighborhood and entire reality, is metaphorical for many positive attributes we possess as compassionate human beings. The overarching theme of Flower Power, came through as a celebration of life.

  • Teresa Brown




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

  • I am The Bullock Garden Project’s Director of School Outreach.

2. How did you get involved with BGP?

  • I’ve worked with children with different mental health and emotional needs for many years. In having a conversation with BGP’s CEO, Sonya Harris, we discussed the need of someone with educational history and experience in that area working with  BGP. Soon after, I became involved.

3. Where did you grow up?

  • I grew up in South Jersey.

4. What are you passionate about?

  • I have many passions but helping others and working with children are two of my passions.

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

  • The biggest project on my to-do list right now is getting more gigs for my musical group, Flow.

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

  • Yes, I have traveled outside the country. I’ve been to Canada, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, and Jamaica.

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

  • My favorite fruit is bananas. My favorite vegetable is between corn and green beans. And my favorite flower is a white Lily.

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

  • My favorite way to express my creativity is through singing/music.

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

  • A normal Tuesday would look like this for me: Waking and leaving the house around 7:15am to make it to work by 8:30am. Once at work, I assist my patients in many different ways at our medical facility. Then leaving at 5:30pm to come home and spend the rest of the evening with my family.

10. What is your life motto/mantra?

  • My life motto is: Don’t focus so much on what we don’t have, but more on what we are blessed to have.


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

  • I am Teresa Brown and I am the Board Secretary and Environmental Specialist.


2. How did you get involved with BGP?

  • My kids were in Glassboro schools at the time, so I had heard about the garden. Chance had it that Lavon, Glassboro’s awesome PR guru, thought I should meet Sonya, who was also involved with Glassboro Green Team and Creative Glassboro community groups with me. We met during these community meetings, which ultimately lead to me joining BGP.


3. Where did you grow up?

  • I grew up in the little town of Pitman, NJ, on a suburban street full of lots of kids to play with. We were always outside.

4. What are you passionate about?

  • A lot of things! My kiddos, Human rights, The earth, the arts, dance and movement, sustainability, science, laughing, and local food and drinks.


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

  • Designing educational programming and events at Scotland Run Park.

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

  • Yes! Canada and Colombia. Bogota, Colombia was absolutely amazing!


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

  • Cranberries! Hands down. Veggie, oh I can’t pick one, but I love eating cherry tomatoes right off the vine during the summer. Flower? So many, but I love tulips, lady slipper orchids, and Sea Lavender.


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

  • Creating: writing, dancing, and photography.

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

  • Currently, I get up, get my kiddos on the bus, and go run Nature programming for Preschool aged kids. Afterwards, my boss and I do school outreach, or create more lesson outlines and activities, or we work on event planning. Then back to Mom life, making dinner, and enjoying my son’s guitar lessons.


10. What is your life motto/mantra?

  • Life is what you make it. and, Keep swimming. I also love a lot of Mother Teresa’s teachings.  She encourages kindness no matter what you are faced with, and I have yet to be in a situation where I felt there was too much kindness.  We can always use more.