In any normal year, the Philadelphia Flower Show is a sure sign that spring is coming. But, as we all know: things are a little different this year. But don’t fret, you will still be able to attend this inspiring East Coast tradition in 2021. Forget Memorial Day, the unofficial kickoff to summer will be the Philadelphia Flower Show 2021. Titled “Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece” and running from June 5th through the 13th, it will be held outdoors for the first time in its 193 year history.
But with all these changes, the expectations are sky-high for the flower and plant festival. Will the Flower Show live up to the hype? I’ll be attending the Flower Show and will share a follow-up. But until then, here are all the details of what you can expect, what I’m anticipating, and how to plan your visit.
(Update: The outdoor venue really added a lot of new energy to the show, although it still needs some additional tweaks. Read more in my full review.)
Philadelphia Flower Show 2021: What’s Been Announced & What to Expect
The two biggest changes for the show this year are the when and the where. Usually, the show is held in Center City at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. But this year, there’s an upgrade! The show will be held outside. FDR Park in South Philadelphia, not far from the sports stadiums, will have the honor of hosting the flower show.
Here’s what we know: across the 15-acre park, there will be more than 75 exhibits. The move to an outdoor location means that the Flower Show is 45% larger than at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Not only is the show’s footprint larger, so are the exhibits.
The theme of the Philly Flower Show has always been important. The interpretations have always been hit or miss for me. But this year the nature-focused theme and the outdoor setting should be an ideal pairing. Hopefully, all of the exhibits will embrace Mother Nature.
Expect to see a variety of viewpoints and opinions in the exhibited designs. Among the big names involved with the major exhibits are local names (like Jeff Leatham, the artistic director at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia), regional names (such as Patrick Cullina, whose projects have included the popular High Line Park), and international names (like East African horticulturist and landscape designer Wambui Ippolito).
In addition to having more and larger exhibits this year, being outdoors will also provide extra safety precautions that are, unfortunately, necessary given the times in which we live. Between the extra space and the open-air setting, visitors should be able to enjoy the exhibits safely.
The Flower Show is also a great starting point for those looking to explore the region’s fantastic gardens. The Greater Philadelphia area isn’t known as America’s Garden Capital for nothing! The organization includes 37 lovely spots like Grounds for Sculpture, Mt. Cuba Center, Brandywine River Museum of Art, and Shofuso. Visitors to the Flower Show will be able to learn more about all of the gardens at a special booth.
What I’m Anticipating at the Philly Flower Show 2021
But with all of these changes, there are still a lot of what-ifs, at least in my mind. The most significant is the outdoor venue. While the convention center is a convenient location, being able to experience the exhibits outdoors will be exciting. Generally, the large showpieces are intended for outdoor use: landscaped retreats for your backyard or surrounding your pool. Being outside will allow your mind’s eye to blend everything better and experience it more naturally.
And speaking of nature, visitors will be able to see in real-time how wildlife and insects take to the plants. Looking for more bees in your yard? Trying to discourage squirrels? Eager for more songbirds? Pay close attention to see how the animals interact with the exhibits.
I’m also looking forward to some more natural lighting. With those high ceilings in the convention center, exhibits tend to be far darker than they need to be. Seeing the landscape designs and plants in natural lighting will allow visitors to plan. Be sure to take note of full sun versus full shade plants!
As far as the exhibitors, the list looks impressive. In particular, the locally-based Burpee will be in attendance. Since Burpee is responsible for the vast majority of seeds and plants in my vegetable and fruit gardens this year, I’m always interested to see what they have coming next.
Philadelphia Flower Show Tickets
As always, you’ll still need a ticket to attend the show. But unlike in past years — where a ticket was good for any day and any time — this year you’ll need to reserve a specific day and time. Prices for Philadelphia Flower Show tickets don’t change. Adult tickets are $45, young friends (18 to 29-year-olds) are $30, and children (5 to 17 years of age) are $20. There are also special packages available for two adults and children.
FDR Park is located at Pattison Avenue and South Broad Street. Attendees arriving by car are encouraged to use the parking lots at the Wells Fargo Center or Citizens Bank Park. Keep in mind that parking may be limited or busy during Philadelphia Phillies games.
Using public transit, the NRG Station at Broad & Pattison on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line is the closest stop. From there it’s a five-block walk to the entrance.
The Flower Show will also be running free courtesy shuttles from the official parking lots and the NRG Station.
Thanks to the Philadelphia Flower Show. All opinions are my own.