Worldly Flower Show

Philadelphia – Visitors to this year’s worldly presentation of the Flower Show will experience Amazonian splendor and some colorful surprises. The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show – February 28 to March 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center – will take visitors on a globe-trotting, exotic plant-filled adventure.

Produced by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and presented by PNC, this year’s presentation, “Passport to the World,” will greet guests with a 28-foot-high hot-air balloon, covered in more than 79,000 dried flowers, that towers over the Explorer’s Garden. The Victorian-era display, filled with varieties of plants like those collected through the remarkable Wilkes Expedition (1838-42) and more recent finds from Longwood Gardens Inc., Morris Arboretum, the University of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Botanic Gardens, harkens back to the Flower Show’s roots as a showcase for new plant discoveries. Giant pads of floating Victoria water lilies and blooms introduced to America at early Shows will fill the much larger-than-life Wardian cases throughout the display. Daily musical performances on the Exporer’s Stage include classical and contemporary Indian dance led by celebrated Bollywood choreographer Rujuta Vaidya, and music and dance presented by the vibrant Brazilian troupe, Minas.

Six Showcase Gardens take visitors on a trek to an Indian wedding, with soaring palm trees, golden columns entwined with jasmine, lotus-filled pools and elaborate ropes of marigolds. A life-size floral elephant topiary offers an animated perspective to the joyous scene, created by Jamie Rothstein Distinctive Floral Design. From here, 100,000 flower bulbs will bloom in an authentic Dutch canal garden created by Robertson’s Flowers. Working with design colleagues from South Africa, the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) will provide a tangible artistic presentation of the Zulu culture. Hand-thatched huts, live drummers, a chandelier of floral birds, and sculpted wildlife provide an enchanting entry to a walk-through display that invites visitors to inspect tribal headdresses and masks that depict the vivid colors and patterns found among the native people.

Deep into the dense ficus growth of Brazil’s Amazon jungle, visitors will encounter a plunging waterfall, indigenous plants such as heliconias and bromeliads, and a hungry caiman created by Burke Brothers Landscape Design. Officials of the Philadelphia Zoo will bring the display to life with “‘Rainbows in Flight,” demonstrations that feature the skill and natural beauty of tropical birds.

Singapore, the “Pearl of Asia,” will be represented by Waldor Orchids in a luminescent tribute to the orchid. The tiered fountains and formal design are inspired by Singapore’s renowned botanical gardens. The rugged beauty of New Zealand will be captured by Stoney Bank Nurseries in three designs that depict traditions of the native Maori and the alluring plant life found in exotic New Zealand. The Aura Garden, with its thermal pools and sculpted dragon created by artist Greg Leavitt, presents an appropriate setting for the native plants of this northern island. Giant tree ferns, hand-carved Maori tikis and flax rope complement the landscape that includes a bog Garden of English and Scottish tradition, and the Kiwi Garden, which showcases New Zealand’s popular calla and Casablanca lilies.

Designers throughout the Show will celebrate the exciting landscapes and plants of China, Japan, Thailand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, the Caribbean, and an artful perspective on the northern polar region’s Aurora Borealis.

“Passport to the World” is a grand celebration of the world’s flowers and gardens and an appropriate debut for the newly renamed Philadelphia International Flower Show, the oldest and largest indoor show of its kind.

“The Flower Show’s new title raises it up on the world stage, and it is an invitation to gardeners everywhere to join us in Philadelphia for this fabulous Show that does so much to highlight the best of horticulture and design,” says Jane Pepper, PHS president.

The change reflects the increasing participation in recent decades of horticulturists, designers and partners from other nations. Since the 1980s, the Show has welcomed presentations by gardening experts from Asia, Europe, Africa, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

With the new name, the Show also hopes to attract even more of the region’s gardening enthusiasts eager to learn about all that is new and exciting in the horticultural world. To that end, the Show will continually evolve to present thousands of specimen plants and floral designs in hundreds of competitive categories including, more recently, a whole category devoted to fashion. In 2010, elegant dresses inspired by many countries will be created by fashion students at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Visitors should plan in advance to attend any of the more than 150 gardening presentations held throughout the week, as well as dozens of educational displays that explore the most popular new trends for home gardeners. For the novice gardener, the PHS Village will feature all-new interactive demonstration gardens where guests can learn how to plant vegetables, herbs or shrubs, design a small-space or container garden, or find answers to horticultural questions. The PHS Village also will showcase special award-winning plants that have been given the PHS Gold Medal Plant Award. These hardy plants are well-suited to the region, having gone through rigorous tests that measure disease resistance, form and reliability.

Learning to garden from the experts is a highlight of the visitor experience. Students, faculty and professional horticulturists explore a variety of today’s trends in gardening and sustainable landscapes in exhibits, including “green walls,” vertical and roof-top gardens.

Shopping is a mainstay of the Flower Show, and in 2010, a whole crop of new vendors will offer visitors a chance to take home memories of the Show. The bustling Marketplace offers an array of products to get the garden started; the Flower Show Shoppe has keepsakes in celebration of the Show theme; and the World Bazaar provides exotic crafts and gifts for the well-traveled shopper. A complete schedule of presentations and attractions is online at the Show’s website.

Food at the Show is a treat that has no boundaries. This year, a Dessert and Coffee Bar is offered by Sweet Streets on the Show Bridge. In the Grand Hall, the PA Wine and Spirits Store will offer an expansive, international selection at the Wine & Spirits Garden and will include free tastings served by the vendors. DiBruno Bros. also will hold court in the Grand Hall with an authentic Italian menu.

Admission: Individual tickets are non-refundable. Advance Purchase Tickets (can be printed out and customized for gifts): Adults any day – $23; Students (ages 17-24) any day – $18 (must have valid student ID; proof of age); Children (ages 2-16) any day – $13. 

Family Fun Paks are available for $65 (savings of $7 off advance admission), and include two adult and two child tickets plus a complimentary one-year membership in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Group Tickets (minimum purchase of 25 adult tickets) are available for $22 each. Groups may purchase tickets by completing an order form at or by calling 215-988-8839.

Private Tours of the Show (before public hours) will be held Monday to Friday, March 2 to 6. Individuals and groups can make reservations by contacting PHS at 215-988-8775,, or visiting the website.

The Early Morning Tour package includes one additional general admission ticket, guided tour, celebrity flower arranging presentation, and one-day Shopper’s Delight card good for 10 percent off purchases in the Flower Show Shoppe. Price per person $105. (PHS members receive a special $85 rate.)

The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show is produced by PHS and presented by PNC. PHS has 16,000 members throughout the country, offers hundreds of educational programs year-round, and is considered the nation’s leading authority on urban renewal through greening. The Flower Show benefits Philadelphia Green, PHS’s acclaimed program that restores neighborhood parks, creates community gardens, conducts large-scale tree plantings, revitalizes vacant land, engages thousands of citizens in community development activities, and maintains treasured public landscapes. As the nation’s largest comprehensive community greening program, Philadelphia Green serves as a model for cities across the United States.

The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services.

The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show sponsors include: PNC, Subaru of America Inc., Acme, Bartlett Tree Experts, EP Henry (Official Hardscaping Supplier), Mantis, and Tourism Ireland; Media Partner WPVI-TV 6ABC; and Caterers, ARAMARK.

For more information about the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show and PHS, and to purchase advance tickets, visit the website or call 215-988-8899.

  • Published on Jan 26, 2010
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