Pepper Site Sightings

September 29, 2011

Home and community gardeners are still harvesting colorful bell peppers this time of year, and many will continue to do so right through until the end of October.

But even if you didn’t get around to planting a garden this summer, you can still enjoy the rewards of home-grown with ornamental hot peppers.

Some food markets sell festive Medusa-style chili peppers like these below. Although this ornamental is a sweet pepper, it isn’t always as tasty a variety as those grown strictly for flavor rather than looks alone. These peppers fruit in a cluster, like a bouquet, which only adds to their colorful charm.


In the Rittenhouse Square area, the Floral Expressions shop on 18th Street, between Chestnut and Sansom, is selling Black Pearl Peppers. Both the leaves and the fruit are deep black, with tiny lavender flower buds; the fruit will eventually ripen to a rich red. Like all hot peppers, this drought resistant variety is edible and very, very hot.

A stunning array of these black beauties is nestled among dozens of other gorgeous perennials and flowering annuals within the well-tended garden outside the Dorchester Condominium building adjacent to the Square.

According to the Landreth Seed Company, this variety was an All American Selection for 2006 and is perfect for container gardening.

The Landreth Seed Company is America’s oldest seed company. It was begun by David Landreth in Montreal in 1780 before relocating to Philadelphia in 1784. In recent years, it was acquired by other seed companies and then briefly headquartered in Baltimore. In 2003 new owners took over the company and in 2006 moved Landreth to New Freedom, PA.

Change, however, continues for the old firm. It’s currently facing a crisis in this tough economy and may be forced to close. As a fundraising effort, it’s selling a collector’s catalog filled with hand-drawn illustrations, color photographs and articles about home gardening care from the 1800s.
LandrethFB Landreth's2013catalogcover







Landreth Seed Co. photos


Photo References:

Medusa Pepper from

Black Pearl Pepper by Ralph Anderson, Southern Living Magazine

Landreth Seed Company Catalog cover, Landreth Seed Company Facebook Page

Anita Mc Kelvey © 2011-2016
The Philadelphia Pepper Project


Peppers and Future Fossils

September 21, 2011

photo by Nathaniel Hamilton/For NewsWorks, WHYY

Colorful hot peppers are part of the urban garden mix at Jenny Sabin’s greenhouse of the future.

This clever and unusual “Greenhouse and Cabinet of Future Fossils” is just one of many projects and programs being hosted by the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum for its current exhibition, “Of Elephants and Roses: Encounters with French Natural History, 1790-1830.”

Jenny Sabin is an artist and architect who specializes in computational design. Inspired by the historic greenhouses featured in the APS Museum’s current exhibition, she created this environmentally sustainable pre-fab structure, one of five structures planned for  The Greenhouse Projects at the APS Museum.

APS: “Made of recycled and recyclable materials, the 52’-long structure has no glass and requires no heat. It is supported by curving, structural ribs that hold up 110 translucent, jewel-toned cold frames (mini-greenhouses) filled with edible and ornamental plants. The 2’ x 1’ x 1’ cold frames are removable and portable, intended for winter gardening in small urban spaces.

The “Cabinet of Future Fossils” inside the Greenhouse displays digitally produced ceramic art objects that are inspired by forms in nature. But they are not quite recognizable. Like scientists perplexed by the fossil bones of animals who lived a long time ago, Sabin wryly imagines a future era when people might be equally puzzled by these curious “fossil” remnants of the computer age.”

To learn more about this exhibit and other Greenhouse Projects, reference the APS website.

Jenny Sabin will give a lecture on  “Between Architecture, Nature and Technology: Material Analogs,” at 6 p.m. on October 20at the APS Museum, 104 S. 5th Street, Philadelphia.

Anita Mc Kelvey © 2011-2016 The Philadelphia Pepper Project

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