By. Jill Brooke
The famed Philadelphia Flower Show will move outdoors for the first time since its debut in 1827. Not only is the nation’s largest and world’s longest-running horticultural event showcasing floral talents outdoors at the historic Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, but now it is moving its show dates from February to June 5-13, 2021
Makes total sense strategically because of Covid.
“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the outdoors and offer joy and beauty after a year that has been marked by so many challenges,” says Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events.
But Flower Power Daily wondered how event organizers will deal with the “challenges” of weather since temps are in the 80’s during June in Philadelphia and fresh-cut flowers need cooler temperatures to last a week.
As of now, there are no indoor tents with vents like they do at Chelsea Flower Show in England. Most floral designers are given stipends but have to find additional funding for the prestige of being at the Philadelphia Flower Show. This show may require more flower supplies than usual.
Plus, floral designers are double and triple-booked now for wedding season to make up for last year’s losses and it may be difficult to find participants to manage the maintenance and design of fresh-cut flowers.
Bill Schaffer, who is the Michael Phelps of gold medal winners at the Philadelphia Flower Show, acknowledged the challenges when we called.
“We’ve already encountered pushback from our floral help because of the timing,” he said. “I’m also already booked to create weddings” in a variety of places.
However, the prestige of being at the Philadelphia Flower Show will spark adaptations to create installations within this framework.
“We’re creative people,” adds Schaffer.
Adds Jennifer Reed-Oechsie, of Jennifer Design Events, “The month of June comes with its challenges in terms of scheduling and weather but it honestly is the most perfect time to utilize and show off all of our local flowers,” she says. ” We have the most amazing flower farmers in our area and we finally get to incorporate their beautiful flowers into our designs.”
Another advantage she says could benefit visitors more than artists. People will be able to “view these beautiful creations outdoors in natural light! The colors of the flowers and foliage are going to be true to the designers’ intentions and the photographs are going to come out amazing in that natural environment.”
This new venue, says organizers, features 15 acres providing the opportunity to introduce many new features while continuing to include cherished elements of traditional Philadelphia Flower Shows.
Translation? More faux flowers perhaps and likely less the showcase of dazzling innovative floral displays like last year but instead a shift to a focus on gardening and landscaping. Which will still be fabulous since gardening has become the nation’s passion because of Covid. There are now more than 16 million new gardeners in the U.S. alone.
The June dates are also taking place at the height of the growing season so there could be instructional opportunities as well to add to the line-up.
Visitors will have an entirely new themed experience that will take place within three distinct “Districts” that feature all manner of Plants, Design and Gardening and created for all skill levels.
But for those who ooh and ah over floral displays from great masters may notice a difference. Organizers wouldn’t say who has signed up for this year’s event, but we will keep you posted.
The Philadelphia Flower Show raises funds to support health and wellbeing through PHS programs, such as those that bolster food security and tree canopy in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic throughout the region.
Tickets go on sale in January so mark your calendars!!! It’s always a joy to behold and an experience for any person’s bucket list.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.