Ernesta Drinker Ballard, an esteemed visionary and pioneer for ecological responsibility, historical preservation, and women’s rights, saved the Philadelphia Flower Show and brought it to international prominence as one of the largest indoor floral extravaganzas in the world. After her death in 2005, Philadelphia Mayor John Street commented: “Thanks to her stalwart efforts and graceful elegance, Philadelphia is a better place now and for generations to come.” Similarly, Jane Guest Pepper, the current President of PHS, hired by Ernesta in 1970, said: “The whole concept that greening can do a lot for a community — that is Ernesta.”
In the visionary spirit of Ernesta Ballard, Temple University Ambler is currently in a campaign to construct “The Ernesta Drinker Ballard Memorial Healing Garden” in the school’s Arboretum, a 187-acre teaching garden that has three educational prongs: the health benefits of gardens, the history of women in horticulture and design, and the concepts of sustainability.
The Ballard Healing Garden, to be built around a central labyrinth, will be based on the award-winning design of Temple Ambler’s 2006 Flower Show exhibit. Medicinal plants with healing properties will be a key component of the plant material selected. The garden will serve as another legacy of Ernesta Ballard at an institution where she first learned the joy of horticulture that set her on a path of unparalleled success.
We anticipate the cost of the Ballard Garden to be $25,000. With a lead gift from the Philadelphia Foundation and other gifts from generous benefactors, we have only $5,000 left to raise for this worthy project. If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact Jenny Rose Carey at 267-468-8400 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In fall 2005, Viola Anders, a graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women (1938) and a horticulture teacher at Ambler from 1954-1979, passed away at the age of 88. Here are a few memories of Ms. Anders that her former students have shared:
“Viola Anders was a humble, gifted horticulturist and teacher who will always be remembered with gratitude and fondness.”
— Kathy McCabe Sheldon AMB ’58
“Viola Anders was a solid-looking citizen, tidy and well groomed, with clothes that could take the dirt. She was also extremely professional, extremely knowledgeable, and was able to convey her knowledge to her students. That’s what she cared about the most. Being in her class prepared me to teach and to lecture. What my father taught me made me a gardener. What Viola Anders taught me made me a professional. She gave me my career.”
— Mary B. Hopkins, AMB ’76
“I had the pleasure of knowing Miss Anders on a more personal level in the last years of her life. After graduating with my degree in horticulture and working for a few years, I found myself drawn back to school to pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy. Approximately seven years ago I began working at a retirement community, which turned out to be Miss Anders place of residence. I looked her up and was extremely impressed that she remembered my name. As her health declined, she eventually needed to move into the skilled nursing part of the community where I worked. Imagine how awkward I felt when I became the teacher and she the student! Miss Anders had an outstanding sense of humor, which stayed with her until the end. Sometimes we would reminisce about her days at Temple, but it was hard for her to recall much of the details. I will always be grateful for having had that opportunity to give back something to her for the enjoyable learning experience she had given to me.”
— Pat Fried AMB ’77
The Ambler College Alumni Association (ACAA), former students, and friends of Viola Anders close to raising $25,000 to permanently rename the herb garden in her memory. For more information on this effort, please contact Jenny Rose Carey at 267-468-8400 or email@example.com.
The Endowment for the Landscape Arboretum is a new endeavor to provide self-sustaining income for garden maintenance and supplies. The Endowment will protect the long-term heath of the gardens and allow for future developments.
For more information on this effort, please contact Jenny Rose Carey at 267-468-8400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.