Coming up roses

Spring has sprung, finally, and the green spaces of Penn once again beckon us to sit and enjoy the gentle pleasures of the season.

Now you can add Penn Museum’s Upper Courtyard Garden back to your list of places to de-stress and smell the perennials. After being closed for two years, the courtyard re-opens May 7, and all Penn, HUP and CHOP employees are invited to a celebration to get reacquainted.

The formal Italianate garden has a new lawn, new hedges and a recreated reflecting pool that’s planted with water lilies and lotus and populated with colorful koi. Yoshino cherries and other deciduous trees offer some welcome shade, while stone and wooden benches provide places to sit. One of the benches even comes equipped with an all-weather journal, where visitors can record their tranquil thoughts.

This $10 million project is about more than just plants, though. Three skylights shed light onto a 20,000 square foot underground space beneath the courtyard, which will eventually house a centralized air-conditioning system.

The May 6 event will feature music from singer/songwriter Chris Kasper, a Spring Clearance table of Museum items at 20 to 50 percent off the regular price and free lemonade, iced tea and cookies. Visitors will also have a chance to win Pink Knock Out roses donated by the Morris Arboretum.

For more information, go to or call 215-898-4890.

Originally published on April 28, 2005