Haute couture Horticulture as in a 2010 presentation. Photo courtesy of PHS.
The 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show does Springtime in Paris.
Visualize it. Acres of Paris without the jet lag. So you’ve arrived in Philadelphia with visions of Paris can-canning about your tête. What do you see? Sidewalk cafés, cabarets, French bread, the Seine, the Eiffel Tower of course . . . and at least one bottle of wine.
From March 6 – 13 (2011) you can experience this evocative Parisian theme and a gazillion flowers and greenery. Spring is just around the corner, at least at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Berets off to the very successful producer of the event: the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (PHS). The entire city of Philadelphia will be following the Parisian theme in anticipation of your arrival.
Thirty-five hundred volunteers make this event happen for an anticipated audience of 250,000. The numbers reflect it. It is one of—if not the—country’s most popular flower and garden events. Hundreds of other exhibitors and designers are behind the scenes. I’m wowed by the hours, organization and choreography required.
Here’s a sneak peak. Thematic displays evoke the romance of Paris, the artists we associate with Paris, opulence of yesteryear, Parisian food and dance. Oh yes, flowers and plants take center stage. You’ll be able to identify many Parisian landmarks floral-ly brought to us by many talented exhibitors. Here is just some of what you’ll see:
- Colorful topiary animals will be created by Valley Forge Flowers
- An interior parlor and garden scene will be styled by James Rothstein Distinctive Floral Designs with French antiques collector John Whitenight
- Imagine a wedding scene at Nôtre Dame by Robertson’s Flowers!
- The great artists of France will be interpreted by Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens
- Cuisine must be included of course along with rooftop gardens presented by Stoney Bank Nurseries
- Courtyards and cafés will be offered by Burke Brothers Landscape Contractors.
- Even the unique underground catacombs of Paris serve as inspiration for the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD).
Dozens of notable floral designers will demonstrate their craft each day of the week-long event. As always, competition soars in the area of horticulture and artistic design by individual entrants. Plus, more than 150 presentations will serve to educate us. And then of course is the Marketplace where there will be things to buy, oh my.
Finally, who, what, where benefits from this tremendous effort and coordination of so many participants?
All proceeds from the Philadelphia International Flower Show support the PHS Philadelphia Green program. Philadelphia Green serves as a model for cities across the U.S. in that it is reported to be the largest comprehensive community greening program. The program restores neighborhood parks, creates community gardens, conducts large-scale tree plantings, revitalizes vacant land, and maintains treasured public landscapes—thereby engaging thousands of citizens and their communities along the way.
A new initiative TreeVitalize will encourage tri-state tree plantings and also City Harvest. City Harvest is a job-training program and a mission to provide fresh produce to more than 1,000 underserved families each week during the growing season.
Last but not least, a shout out to PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. as the Show’s presenting sponsor for 20 years. Merci.
Link to the flower show here for ticket and other info. www.theflowershow.com.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society link—where motivating people to improve the quality of life and create a sense of community through horticulture is the mission.
Nancy R. Peck
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