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PHS Flower Show Preview: United By Flowers is A Floral Fantasy!


Like the sirens of the movie screen who knew just how to make a dramatic entry, the first garden you see at the PHS Flower Show opening tomorrow, “Edges and Reflections” takes your breath away.  Your Flower Show visit begins with this aquatic floral spectacle, boasting the Flower Show’s largest body of water ever created and vibrant floral sculptures suspended like floral clouds. Here’s your sneak peek into this massive, immersive Flower Show: 

The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event and fundraiser featuring stunning displays by the world’s premier floral, garden, and landscape designers. 

This year’s theme, “United by Flowers,” celebrates the unique and colorful community born out of our shared love and appreciation of gardening and the connections and impact they create on our everyday lives as well as the colorful community that comes together to share in their love of gardening, flowers, and plants, and the impact they make on our lives all year round.  

The 195th Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Philadelphia Flower Show opens tomorrow, March 2 and runs through the 10th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 

There are large-scale floral creations and gardens designed by the most talented florists and garden artists from Philadelphia, the U.S., and around the world, curated by experts and judged by globally renowned horticultural gurus. 

Your eyes can lead you to believe you’re in another galaxy ~ a fairyland that tickles the senses: the kaleidoscope of plant colors, the sounds of gurgling fountains, the scent of flowers and trees, and a delightful but powerful fragrance of fresh Vanilla at the Waldor Orchid exhibit.  And oh, what a flavor.  

Sweet. In more ways than one to me.  See, vanilla plays a very leading role as the protagonist in the novel I’m writing… 

After opening remarks by Seth Pearsoll, Vice President and Creative Director of PHS and a quick interview with him, 

Bill and I eagerly leapt into taking in and taking photos.  

A few bazillion photos, while making that proverbial “bee line” to interview and hug, Kelly D. Norris.

Kelly saw me approaching and while graciously disengaging from his conversation, came to greet me with a big hortie hug!  

Plant People are the best 😀

As a Follower of Garden Glamour, you know I adore and admire Kelly ~ since the day I met him at the New York Botanical Garden’s “Hortie Hoopla” (Hats off to Charles!), where Kelly was the keynote speaker.  

Kelly also was the keynote at our MetroHort Plant-O-Rama ~ in the : before times.”  His exuberant presentations are nothing short of thrilling.  If he wasn’t an expert plantsman getting us all jazzed about the nexus of plants and people and place, he could be a preacher, leading the flock to salvation and resurrection! 

Kelly was also a much-respected Director of Horticulture and Education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Kelly continues to captivate the Horticulture world as a plant poymath: plant breeder, speaker, planstman, landscape designer ~ he now has his own landscape business ~ an award-winning author of four books (!) including “Plants with Style,” and The New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient Ecologically Vibrant Home Garden

It was only natural that his display garden here at the PHS Flower Show is a splendid conceptual intersection of an urban community garden.  Here, Kelly has designed an inspirational garden, “A Beautiful Disturbance” ~a composed former abandoned lot rejuvenated with native plants, that can be a template for our increasingly urban landscape.  “Folks can take an urban lot and adapt it; activate it, with native plants for a city garden,” explained Kelly. “This is doable,” he added.  

So many of the displays at the show are very dreamlike fantasies that couldn’t ever be replicated!  Kelly’s display is truly an ecological and pretty design that will inspire you. (And you don’t even have to haul in the 3,000 pound cement barriers like he did!)


When I asked about his next book, Kelly shared with me that in April he will be announcing a redesign of his new naturalism book. How exciting. Stay tuned.

We also ran into a fellow Metro Hort member and PHS judge, John!  More great plant people.

“The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show brings people together to connect over their shared love of gardening and floral beauty. It is a place where magic happens, and where people from all walks of life come together as one. This growing community represents the essence of United by Flowers,” said Seth Pearsoll, Vice President and Creative Director of PHS.  

I asked Seth what the PHS hoped for this year and he explained that they want visitors and especially Members, “To spend a great day here ~ to take in the immersive beauty of the plants. To capture the magic of United by Flowers.”

He added that horticulture has the ability to make us feel emotionally, to feel different”  When I asked if they hoped the show would be educational or entertaining, he replied “Both.”  

I also asked about this year’s timed tickets (this policy is in reaction to last year’s laments that it was sooooo crowded. So much so that visitors felt they couldn’t enjoy the full experience.  

Hope this year’s policy works.  Seth noted they won’t be throwing anyone out of the show. So in addition to the caution to coordinate/plan with others who may have a different time than you and you are hoping to go together, I couldn’t help wonder if those with entrance time later in the day will be the unlucky who will have to deal with a day’s worth of accumulated visitors…  

And there is much to see and do at the show.  

I particularly appreciate the tablescape displays; the mini hanging gardens, the door decor, the fashions, and the emphasis on the edible gardens this year.  Even the trash cans are plant pretty. 

Here’s a quick gallery of floral displays at the show:




I so enjoy the mini hanging garden designs that look like jewelry displays.


The price of tickets is a real value. To cite just a few of the many programs and attractions:

Celebrate the Region – Experience the neighborhoods interpreted as gardens! Local schools highlight the unique spirit of the region through gardens dedicated to neighborhoods like Roxborough, South Philly’s Pennsport and the Italian Market, Spring Garden, Doylestown’s small-town charm, and more

Penn Museum – Here you can become a kind of Ethnobotanist.  

See Ancient Food & Flavor.  Ever wonder when humans first

started making wine? Or growing potatoes? Discover what plants were important to communities who lived thousands of years ago at Penn Museum’s preview display of their newest exhibition, “Ancient Food & Flavor!” Penn Museum educators will be available onsite to share wondrous stories about some of the world’s oldest leftovers!

Hamilton Horticourt – Take in the beauty of incredible and rare plants, all competing in the nation’s largest plant competition for a blue ribbon! Read the judges’ comments, see the winners, and pick your favorite out of this rotating lineup of unique plants!

Take in beautiful botanical-inspired artwork and jewelry.

Fun for the Family at Kids Cocoon and Family Frolic – Bring the whole family and make some memories! Kids Cocoon is a dedicated space for kids to play, learn, and have fun! The Show’s youngest guests can plant a seedling, read a story, and enjoy activities from local partners, with hourly programming every day. Purchase a special Flower Show coloring book designed by local artists, so kids can enjoy page after page of colorful flowers long after their visit to the Show!

Shop Local at Artisan Row and the Makers Market – The Flower Show is a

great place to shop local! Visit Artisan Row, the Flower Show’s experiential hub, where you can choose from 7 unique artists and create your own elevated floral or gardening-inspired memento. Choose from fresh floral crowns, candles, floral handbags, floral bouquets, terrarium making, dried flower bud vases, and botanical jewelry.

The award-winning PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest, and the world’s longest-running horticultural event and features stunning displays by some of the world’s premier floral and landscape designers. Started in 1829 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Show introduces diverse and sustainable plant varieties and garden and design concepts. In addition to acres of garden displays, the Flower Show hosts world-renowned competitions in horticulture and artistic floral arranging, gardening presentations and demonstrations, and special events.

More to come for my PHS Flower Show review because this show is too massive and too glamorous for one post.


  • Garden Glamour

    And what a treat! You are so right ~ the PHS Flower show is a floral fantasy experience like no other. It is truly my honor and privilege to be able to share the horticulture news and lessons from the pros with all my Garden Glamour readers xoxo. So glad you enjoyed the post with its photos and information. I have a bazzilion more photos! I don't want to overload folks so haven't posted all. Maybe I should include a Garden Glamour photo gallery?

  • Anonymous

    To see the show personally is such a treat. To see, to learn, to enjoy, is a wonderful experience so many have the privilege of doing. Thanks for all the pictures and information.

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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
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 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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