Celebrating Exuberant Fall Vignettes, Plantings, My Birthday, and a Giveaway

– Posted in: Seasonal Gardening
Fall vignettes in Philadelphia

Exuberant fall vignette on Rittenhouse Street in Philadelphia

Today is my birthday. Unexpectedly, I am celebrating it in Philadelphia. Allowing myself to sink into the beauty of nature and the season of harvest is one of many reasons that I’m extremely grateful on this 1st day of November.

In a city known for its horticultural prowess, there is one block in particular, though, that takes the award for the most innovative and outstanding fall vignettes: It is the 1700 block of Rittenhouse Street.

Rittenhouse Street fanfare

Rittenhouse Street fall harvest vignettes

What used to be a rush-through street used for its two parking lots has been taken over by the imagination of a few owners who have created a plethora of lush and eye-catching displays seasonally. This tiny block is a perfect example of how some effort and ingenuity can transform a nondescript urban area into one that awakens your senses, brings a smile to your face, and has you ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’.

Each time I’ve walked up and down the street over the past week, I feel as if I’m entering a world of celebration: from every angle, there is an abundance of beauty and gratitude reflected in the plantings and designs.

Harvest and Fall front stoop vignettes

Side view of house decorations on Rittenhouse Street

With only 2 small window boxes, the owner of this home (photo below) created a front of the house display with straw, pumpkins, stalks of corn, and edibles in containers. It is joyful, fun, simple to do, and moderately priced.

Harvest displays in the city

Window boxes with front of the house display

I couldn’t resist adding in a few fall container plantings as we leave Rittenhouse Street and cross over to Rittenhouse Square. Their colors, shapes, and abundance are the epitome of celebration, joy, and harvest.

2014-10-31 10.23.06.jpg-Philly Harvest 10.jpg- resized- plantings in front of apt. bldg

2014-10-31 10.22.17.jpg-- planters in front of apt. bldg-re-sized

And guess what? In celebration of my birthday, I’ve decided to give away some fantastic gifts.

The first 25 people who purchase a paperback copy of the updated 10th Anniversary Edition of my book,  Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, 

Digging Deep 10th Anniversary Edition cover

will win a 3 pack of your choice of the Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew valued at $12.95. (http://www.authentichavenbrand.com).

Haven Brand Manure

Authentic Haven Brand Manure

(Photo Credit: Derk DeWit)

This is a product I love and use in my gardens…..created by my friend and colleague, Annie Haven.

All you have to do to enter is send your proof of purchase from Amazon for Digging Deep to fran.sorin@gmail.com and I’ll let you know if you’re one of the lucky 25 winners. To buy Digging Deep, click on here.


Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at www.fransorin.com.

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Fran Sorin
14 comments… add one

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sheila schultz November 1, 2014, 4:38 pm

I’m so excited about your birthday post Fran, our mid-western great niece lives in Philly and I’m sending her to the beauty of Rittenhouse street! she’s going to love it!!!
I am also imagining that you are having a most loving and wonderful Birthday! enjoy every moment.

katie November 1, 2014, 8:34 pm

Happy birthday! Love the autumn scene! Hope you had a great day!

Fran Sorin November 2, 2014, 2:25 am

Thanks Katie. Am glad you love the autumn scene. And it was a perfect birthday! Fran

Fran Sorin November 2, 2014, 2:28 am

Sheila- Am delighted that you can pass this onto her and suggest she visit. If she’s into plants at all, tell her to walk around Rittenhouse Square. The apt. buildings have done some tremendous plantings…..I had a perfect birthday! Thanks for your thoughts. Fondly, Fran

Jean Campbell November 2, 2014, 9:53 am

Beautiful vignettes. The link to Amazon is broken.

Ed Morrow November 2, 2014, 1:10 pm

A belated happy Birthday.
I grew up just outside of Philadelphia (Yeadon) and have fond memories of Rittenhouse Square when Eugene Ormandy lived in one of the hotels on the Square. It was a swell neighborhood.
I now live in California -where none of the East Coast gardening rules apply. We’ve just had our first substantial rain in over a year and now things are just starting to grow.
I enjoy your posts and always find something interesting. I’m still trying to track down articles and pictures of Mien Ruys gardens.
P.S. I wonder what the Fire Marshall thinks of all the produce blocking the door?

Ed Morrow
Carmel Valley, CA

Nancy Buley November 2, 2014, 4:05 pm

Gorgeous displays! I love Philadelphia for its horticultural exuberance. On a recent walkabout in the Old City area, I came across some window box displays like this that were delightful.

Catherine November 2, 2014, 6:29 pm

Looks like a fabulous place to spend your birthday. How wonderful that so many people in the street want to be part of this display. Very community building.

Emma November 3, 2014, 9:41 am

You’ve made incredible pictures! I wish I was able to see these incredible pieces of art. Regards!

Kathy November 10, 2014, 10:48 pm

Happy birthday! Fran

Annette November 13, 2014, 9:27 pm

Happy belated birthday! i hope it was an enjoyable one. I love your photos of the autumn vignettes. Gardeners certainly are a creative lot. i think that’s why I love it so much – it allows me be creative when my regular work doesn’t

Fran Sorin November 14, 2014, 2:58 pm

Annette- Thanks for your birthday wishes. I couldn’t agree more that gardeners tend to be creative. It would be an interesting piece of research to see if we are more ‘stress-free’ in our daily lives than those who don’t garden. Good to see you here Annette. Fran

Fran Sorin November 14, 2014, 2:59 pm

Thanks Kathy- it was a good one!!

Fran Sorin November 14, 2014, 3:12 pm

Catherine- Sorry for the delay in responding. Yes, it has been wonderful being in Philadelphia for the most beautiful part of the fall. And yes, it is truly a sense of community that’s created when neighbors do this. Fran

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