The Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) knocked it out of the park this year with the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show. Holland: Flowering the World is a people-pleasing theme. The florists and landscapers from around the region have beautifully executed the theme. If, like me, you love tulips then you simply won’t want to miss this year’s exhibition.
In recent years, the theme for the Flower Show has made things a bit difficult for the exhibitions. “The Movies” was inexplicably interpreted as Disney princesses. The National Park Service, while beautiful, wasn’t very floral. Simply put: people want to see flowers. They want to see colors. They want to anticipate spring. And if ten acres of blooming trees and flowers don’t get you in the mood for spring, then you’re just not trying.
Everyday Life in Amsterdam
From the first steps you take onto the floor of the convention center, it is easy to be overtaken by the theme. Freeze-dried flowers in a rainbow of colors dangle just overhead. A piece of canal-laden Amsterdam is placed right at the entrance, surrounded by tulips of a variety of colors, blooms spill out of flower boxes and bicycles are casually placed along the bridge. A slice of everyday life. Another exhibit drew inspiration from Keukenhof Gardens’ annual flower festival. Seemingly each exhibit is accented with countless bicycles, windmills with their blades gently rotating, wooden shoes and delicate Delft pottery.
But getting psyched for spring isn’t the only goal of the Flower Show. You can also take in more educational exhibits. Williamson College of the Trades, for example, always brings a highly informative display for helping you to embrace your green thumb.
Likewise the Dutch also got in on the act, which makes sense since the theme is in their honor. The highlight and literal centerpiece of the convention center is the Ecodome. Designed by Nico Wissing, the Ecodome is a 36-foot-tall dome covered in moss. The dome is completely open inside and visitors can walk through to learn about green and eco-friendly Dutch ventures. Philadelphia is the first stop for the Ecodome, which will be traveling around the world.
Tulips, Tulips, Tulips
You also should not miss the small exhibit on the history of the tulip. Text panels recounting the popularization of tulips are accompanied with paintings and woodblock prints. Tulips were once so exotic and in demand that they were worth their weight in gold. Today we sure take those little bulbs for granted!
Speaking of those bulbs, however, I have to admit my disappointment that I didn’t seem to find any businesses in the marketplace selling a wide variety of tulips. Sure, there are bulbs, flowers, jewelry. If you want to spend some money, you have plenty of options. But I was hoping to come home with some harder-to-find bulbs for my garden. Similarly, Philadelphia now has its own tulip. Dubbed the Philly Belle, the flower variety is a gift from the Netherlands. But bulbs for this special flower seemingly weren’t on sale either.
Attending the Philadelphia Flower Show
The Philadelphia Flower Show is arguably one of the most anticipated events in the region each year. This is both a blessing and a curse. Tickets aren’t inexpensive; this year, tickets purchased at the door are $32. And because the Flower Show is so wildly popular, it is a pretty safe bet that it is going to be jam-packed. Unlike my experience in previous years, PHS has stated that they will replace flowers throughout the running of the show. So no need to be disappointed by drooping daffodils!
The Philadelphia Flower Show, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, runs through Sunday, March 19, 2017.
This review is unsolicited. All opinions are my own.