W.B. Saul High School seniors stand next to the windmill on the school’s exhibit, “Flowing in the Wind,” which won two awards at the 2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Holland: Flowering the World.” From left, Leto Ford, of Northeast Philly; Joe Blockus, of Roxborough; Nate Teagle, of Mt. Airy; Cameron Whitehead, of Roxborough, and Na’im McKitthen, of Logan. (Photo by Sue Ann Rybak)

by Sue Ann Rybak

W.B. Saul High School for Agricultural Sciences in Roxborough, the largest agricultural school in the U.S., won two awards at this year’s PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Holland: Flowering the World,” which ran March 10 through 19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The school’s exhibit, “Flowing in the Wind,” won the American Horticultural Society’s Environmental Award, which is presented for an exhibit of horticultural excellence that best demonstrates the bond between horticulture and the environment, and inspires the viewer to beautify home and community through skillful design and appropriate plant material.

The school also won a PHS Silver Medal in the education category for receiving 95 or more points out of 100 in the criteria of design, educational value, horticulture and student participation.

Alan Jaffe, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (PHS), said this year’s flower show celebrates the beauty and resourcefulness of Dutch culture. He added that student exhibits in the educational category “explore Dutch innovations in land recovery, redirection and re-use of stormwater, creating new cultivars and other advances in environmental sustainability.”

Lisa Blum, who teaches Greenhouse Management and plant science at Saul High School, and Garth Schuler, who teaches landscape architectural, supervised the design and construction of the educational exhibit.

Nate Teagle, 17, of Mt. Airy, is just one of 75 horticulture students at Saul who participated in this year’s Flower Show. He said the 18’ x 28’, 504-square-foot exhibit, “Flowing in the Wind,” features colorful flowers, a wind mill, a bridge, dunes and a boat leaving the canal with coffee and spices. He said the design of the exhibit is based on the historic village of Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands.

Schuler said the small town is named after the Zaanse River, which runs through the city and was the main source of transportation. “It is often referred to as ‘The City of Windmills,” he said. “Students’ artwork on various famous paintings can be seen throughout the exhibit. We feel honored to be included in the Flower Show. Saul High School is one of only two high schools in the educational exhibit category, and the other schools are all colleges.”

He added that despite operating on a “shoestring budget of $5,000,” Saul consistently wins awards against their competitors including Delaware Valley University, Temple University Ambler, the University of Delaware, Williamson College of Trades, Mercer County Community College and the Horticulture Academy at Abraham Lincoln High School.

Last year the school’s exhibit, “Wander Inn to the Valley,” also won the American Horticultural Society Environmental Award. “Almost everyone who walks by is surprised to learn that this is a high school exhibit,” said Teagle, who plans to study Landscape Contracting at Penn State in the fall. “Saul is an extraordinary school. It’s rare that you have an opportunity like this. To be able to say that I participated in the Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest indoor horticulture show in the nation, is something I am going to cherish for a long time.”

For more information, visit http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/schools/s/saul/