• Sunday , 18 February 2018

Explore a Fragrant Portrait of History at This Year’s Philadelphia Flower Show

Photos / Story By Jill Beckel

Spring has sprung at the annual Philadelphia Flower Show which has opened in all its splendor at the Philadelphia Convention Center. This year’s Flower Show theme is Explore America, marking 100 years of the National Park Service. It “celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service and our country’s majestic natural landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture.” If you missed last year’s flower show, the theme was “Celebrate the Movies” for comparison.

The Flower Show celebrates an amazing world of great gardening and design that dates back to 1829. Each year, acres of gorgeous gardens and outrageous floral arrangements come together for the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition. The Flower Show designers behind the major exhibits work tirelessly to “wow” guests of all ages and make a lasting memory.

This year, visitors get to see and experience impressive large-scale gardens, landscapes and floral creations inspired by the wonder of national parks like Acadia, Cape Cod, Shenandoah, Yellowstone and Yosemite. You can “Explore America” right here in Philadelphia at this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As soon as we walked into the Convention Center, we were greeted by beautiful hanging plants and flowers, tall trees, and a delightful flowery scent in the air. A stunning large red, white and blue Liberty Bell made completely of flowers hung above a wall showcasing the Constitution. There was a lot to do and see with national park replicas, interactive activities, speeches, contests and more.

Children and adults alike were taking photos and having a great time throughout the day. Kids could even become a junior ranger and hike the Flower Show trail to earn their official Junior Ranger Badge! There’s even a swearing-in ceremony held daily for all new Junior Rangers. Visitors could take a “walk through the Appalachian Trail,” talk to a park ranger, make their own flower crowns and hats, and purchase plants, flowers and other garden-themed gifts.

For an additional fee, visitors could also experience “Butterflies Live!”, a live collection of rare and exotic butterflies created by California’s SkyRiver butterflies. The walk-through experience is inspired by the indigenous environments of the national parks.

There was lots of fun for foodies too! Base Camp is the newest feature of the show where visitors can find loads of seating and refreshments in the now transformed Grand Hall. Visitors could make a pit stop to create their very own snack mix at the Trail Mix Bar, try a free-range bison sloppy joe at the Smokey Mountain Cafe, grab a quick bite to eat and drink at the PHS Pop Up Beer Garden, and try free daily tastings at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits shop.

All of the flower show revenues support the charitable efforts of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. There’s still time to check out the show this year and celebrate America’s beautiful and historic national parks.

Get your tickets now through March 13!


This year’s theme: Explore America – 100 years of the National Park Service.

The beautiful entrance way was filled with colorful hanging flowers.

The beautiful entrance way was filled with colorful hanging flowers.


A National Park Service sign was displayed right at the entrance so visitors really felt like they were stepping into a national park.


Flowers became chandeliers, lighting from above.


A red, white and blue Liberty Bell honored our history.

Real trees gave it a real national park feel.

Real trees gave it a national park feel.


A replica of a typical trail sign one would see at a national park.


It was very crowded, but everyone had a chance to check out each display.

"Explore Bonsai" exhibit.

The “Explore Bonsai” exhibit.


A bonsai tree.


Visitors learned more about bonsai trees.


A thank you to the flower show sponsors.


All of the flower show revenues support the charitable efforts of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

A serene waterfall.

A serene waterfall.


A bear wood carving.


Up close and personal with a bobcat.


Everyone wanted photos with the buffalo and bobcat, just some of the wildlife you’d typically see in a national park.


A striking pink rose bush.


Spring is here!


Beautiful red tulips.


“Tiptoe through the tulips.”


A bright, fun floral arrangement from a local florist.


Large floral arrangement made with white roses and other flowers.


“People and Parks – Heroes” contest.


A pilot themed “People and Parks – Heroes” entry.


A whimsical suitcase packed for a “leaf peeping” adventure.


Mini floral arrangements.


Designer’s Studio presentations were informative and visitors could ask questions.


An American flag work of art.


Ranger Station where junior rangers could earn their badges.


The “Charred” exhibit explained just how devastating forest fires can be.


All of the lush greenery and real stones made visitors feel like they were really taking a walk through a park.


So much to see and do at the 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show.


Tulips look great in a window sill flower pot.


“America in Bloom”


There were lots of food and drink options including Death Valley Chicken Strip.


A field of colorful flowers.


Many awards and trophies were awarded to local schools, florists, gardeners, artists and more.


“Natural Beauty – Arch” contest.


A beautiful sunflower arch won the first place blue ribbon for the “Natural Beauty – Arch” contest.


A necklace made completely out of flowers, leaves and other natural materials.


One section felt like a greenhouse with lots of potted plants and flowers.


A wide variety of plants and flowers in the greenhouse.


Contestants competed to create the best national park small model replica of their favorite park.


A first place blue ribbon winner.


An amazingly detailed national park model replica.


A variety of irises.


A first prize blue ribbon flower winner.


A beautiful bright orange flower.


Visitors enjoyed tastings at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits shop located at Base Camp.


A canoe on display at Base Camp where people shopped and took a rest.

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