The 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show was remarkable. This year’s flower show celebrated the centennial of the National Park Service and our country’s majestic park, rich history and vibrant culture. The theme, “Explore America”, carried through with displays inspired by iconic parks and historic parks and was brought to life in the form of floral and garden designs.
Some of the featured parks included Acadia and Cape Cod, Valley Forge and Shenandoah, Yellow Stone, Yosemite, Cape Henlopen at the Cape May area, and many more. I was really hoping that we might stumble upon a display dedicated to Assateague Island National Seashore and depicted by salt grasses, wildflowers, and a pony (or three) made out of fresh blooms and garden materials. There was not an Assateague display, but Cape May and Cape Henlopen were represented very nicely and that made me excited (especially because I had just been at Henlopen State Park the night before and looked across the bay at the Cape May lighthouse).
I am a member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and love seeing the line up of florists, gardeners, landscapers, and organizations selected to create displays published in the monthly newsletter that comes out the month prior to the show’s start date. It makes me anxiously excited as I try to envision which individuals and groups will create so many of the magical displays the following month. PHS offers programs and events for gardeners of all levels, and works with volunteers, organizations, agencies and businesses to create and maintain vibrant green spaces. If LML is ever closed on a random business day, it means that I am more than likely attending a workshop, presentation or class in the Philadelphia area thanks to PHS and the wonderful events they provide their members with.
My favorite display at this year’s flower show was titled “Redwoods” and was created by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). The colorful and natural displays were inspired by the Redwood National and State Parks. The display combined natural elements (like wood slices, logs, sticks, sweet gum balls, lotus pods, moss, and many other items) in correlation with fresh florals. The displays were so intricate that it was mind blowing. The AIFD display was intriguing and I spent some time trying to figure out the mechanics that held the arrangements together. The Redwood display won multiple awards at the flower show including the Philadelphia Flower Show Silver Trophy in the Floral category and the PHS Gold Medal in the Floral category.
My favorite national park garden-derived display was titled, “The Appalachian Trail, The People’s Trail”, and was inspired by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The display was so life-like! I have hiked several stretches of the Appalachian trail and was impressed by how well The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades was able to recreate the natural, woodsy, rocky trail with towering trees inside.
The PHS Marketplace was filled with so many unique and fun pieces for in the garden, for at home, or for the florist. We left with bags filled with fresh flowers thanks to Kremp Florist and their steal of a deal on roses by the dozen.
Did you make it to the Flower Show this year? Did you love the theme? What was your favorite display?