While the winter landscape has its own unique beauty and there are very real benefits to spending time outdoors in the colder months, we have reached that point of the year when most of us are looking forward to the brown and grays giving way to more vibrant colors.
This makes the Philadelphia Flower Show a nice diversion. It not only reminds us that winter is winding down, it also allows us to get our steps in while enjoying not only the sights, but also the scents of spring. The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, founded in 1827, is the force behind the show, the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event (the first show was held in a Philadelphia Freemason building in 1829; though there were a few years without a show, it has been held annually since 1966). The organization’s largest event, the annual flower show helps them fund educational programs as well as to design and maintain green spaces throughout Philadelphia, making the city an even better place to live and visit.
This year the show has returned to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, which for the next 6 days, has been transformed into a showcase for landscape and floral artists both local and far away.
The first thing you’re likely to see when you enter is Bloom City, a charming kids’ activity center, complete with a butterfly walk (extra admission fee) and Kids Cocoon, a spot to sit and read. Across from this charming kids’ space is a more grown-up activity center: Artisan Row. Here you can try your hand at arranging plants and flowers or creating unique flower-themed crafts. The Makers Market (artisan booths) and the Bloom City Stage complete the entranceway.
Traveling down the hall and on to the main event, you’ll see the main show entrance, flanked with tall floral displays. As you enter the “Garden Electric,” you are met with a wall of flowers. Simply follow the Promenade path through the exhibit hall and you’ll see everything.
The show features plants both native and exotic, from backyard gardens to floral interpretations of candy shops and dance clubs. Designers are based as close as Philadelphia and as far away as China. Some of our area high schools and colleges also show off what they have learned. Each display is accompanied by informative signage that not only tells you who is the genius behind the display, but also their inspirations and/or interesting related facts.
Reflective of the PHS roots, the center of the show is the Hamilton Horticourt, a competition that highlights the accomplishments of members and the general public alike. (Much like county 4H shows, you do not have to be a member to submit an entry.)
A Design Gallery features miniatures, photos and smaller displays (thin windows and doorways) and an educational display includes gardening tools in use throughout the ages. After you’ve seen everything, you can browse the wares of hundreds of vendors who fill the marketplace with items such as fresh plants and flowers, gardening supplies and décor, floral-themed housewares and clothing, and sustainable products such as shoes and handbags.
The Flower Show continues through March 12 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (open until 8 p.m. on March 10 and 11). Tickets can be purchased online and are $45 for adults, $30 for students with ID, $20 for children age 5-17. A discounted family fun pack is also available. Located at Jefferson Station in Center City, the Convention Center is easily accessed via public transportation.