Philadelphia Flower Show
A couple of weeks ago, I visited the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We had so much fun!
The Philadelphia Flower Show is the region's oldest and largest indoor flower show, dating back to it's debut in 1829. The show takes visitors through 10 acres of exhibitions halls, and attracts more than 250,000 visitors into Center City Philadelphia each year, making it the nation's largest horticultural event.
The show is an annual event held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia the last week of February/first week in March.
Philadelphia was expecting a Nor'Easter during our visit, so I was more than excited to escape the cold and set eyes on the first colorful blooms of spring!
I had never been to the show before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The amount of work that went into every little detail was extremely impressive! I was blown away by the beauty! I have a black thumb, so I had a deep appreciation for all of the work that the gardeners put into it.
Designers spend more than a year planning and growing exhibits that transform the convention center into a lively display of nature’s finest. The International Festivals and Events Association named last year’s Holland-themed show the best event in the world, beating out competitors such as the Kentucky Derby Festival and the Tournament of Roses Parade.
This year's theme, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, was "Wonders of Water".
The Main Entrance
It starts with passing by a rain curtain and mist-pool to a rope bridge that leads to a 25-foot waterfall in a tiered bamboo jungle garden at the main entrance.
Insider Tip: This area gets jammed from the show's opening to mid-afternoon - take a quick look when you arrive, move on to the other parts of the show and swing back after lunch when the crowds thin out.
As you move on, you can then expect to see rain gardens, illuminated fountains, and more than 40 display gardens that showcase every plant with a water connection just as they thrive in different environments.
This blue house was one of my favorites.
I enjoyed how different some of the displays looked from different angles.
The display below brought me joy as it reminded me of my best friend and her father.
There were fishermen made of pinecones!
One of my other favorite displays was this windows of water display. It was huge!
The view from underneath was awesome!
There were centerpieces and stunning floral arrangements, too.
I couldn't decide which of these arrangements made with veggies was my favorite...which one do you like best? Here they are close up. So pretty!
There was so much to see at every turn!
The door and balcony displays were also so unique! I liked this one with oyster shells as gravel.
This massive elephant made of moss was so rich in color!
Of course, by land AND sea...
There were too many creative and beautiful displays to keep track of!
The tulips were really vibrant and cheerful and made me crave Spring. Enough with this snow already!
But the wedding scene was unforgettable...
New in 2018, the Flower Show is offering audio tours. For just $6.00 you can rent a listening device narrated by the show's designer as she guides you through 14 stops throughout the showroom. I am a big fan of the audio tours, since I am an auditory learner. Many museums have begun offering this option and I feel like I take away much more from the experience when I listen to the audio! We didn't do the audio tour this time, but I will definitely pay extra for the audio when I return for next year's "Flower Power" theme so I can learn more about the different flowers.
The Show offers daily Garden talks one right after another in the middle of the showroom floor. Topics include garden design tips, shade gardening, etc.. The daily schedule is posted on their website. If you have a question that is not going to be covered on the schedule, gardening experts man a Q & A booth near this area where you can ask your own personal gardening questions.
One of the least crowded areas in the show is the Hamilton Horticourt where amateur gardeners enter their home-grown succulents in competition. We had the pleasure of smelling this stinky guy...p-ew!
Shop til you wilt!
Beyond the garden displays, there are wonderful shopping opportunities at the Flower Show's marketplace, with more than 180 vendor booths at the center of the show - featuring hand-crafted jewelry, freshly cut flowers, garden tools, garden furniture, plant seeds, botanical art, yard ornaments, and much more!
Insider Tip - the crowds tend to shop last since no one wants to carry stuff around with them. However, most vendors will hold items to pick up later, so shop in the morning and swing back for your paid-for items before leaving.
How cute is this purse made of succulents? I think it would make a sweet centerpiece for a garden party.
Bumbleberry Farms (based near Pittsburgh) had the most tasty honey I have ever had! I wasn't alone in thinking so - the orange and avocado flavors were sold out at the show. Yep, you heard that correctly - avocado pollinated honey and it was delish!! Lucky for you, I scored a discount code to save 10% when you order online - use code VIB10. Trust me, you will thank me! Also make sure to get the Lovers Leap Salted Caramel Cream - it just melts in your mouth. Use it in desserts or just put it on pretzels. Yum! Sadly, I didn't come home with any from the show, but will be placing an order soon! Makes great gifts!
They had some pretty French table linens, but I preferred these quirky pillow covers.
The almost life sized garden kids creeped us out!
Anything you could want for your garden was at the Marketplace - you name it!
I thought these oil infusers were cool. They looked much prettier in person. The bottles had full size flowers in them.
How cute are these little Alpaca stuffed animals made with 100% Alpaca wool?
Maybe I should have bought this tea hat it for our Garden Room Tea?!
You could also pick up some rare flowers for your home. The prices were fantastic! So be sure to bring a bag to bring your goodies home in.
Kremp Florists was selling three dozen roses for just $13.99 when we were there. I wish I could have bought some, but we stayed overnight and had a full day of exploring planned before our train left late the next day.
The Grand Hall
Wine & Spirits
Continuing on to the end of the Grand Concourse is one of the most popular attractions - the Wine & Spirits Store and Tasting Area. Dozens of wineries give away free samples. It opens at 2pm and gets crowded quickly!
Make and Take
Across from the Wine & Spirits Store is the Make and Take area, where visitors can create their own floral crown headpiece or succulence or bulb planter to take home. Tickets are $10. This is a great feature for kiddos! I wonder if theirs would turn out as nice as they one above?!
Next to the Make & Take section is the Backyard which has live chickens, a picnic/play area and corn hole for entertainment!
The Grand Concourse
Pay an additional $5 to walk through the Butterfly room with more than 20 domestic and exotic species and over 1,000 butterflies. My advice is go early. The butterflies were not interested in eating when we were there after 3pm. I guess they had their fill from all of the visitors earlier in the day!
This beautiful blue butterfly landed on my arm and hung out for a long while.
The Garden Tea is one of the Flower Show's best kept secrets. Escape the hustle and bustle and treat yourself to a relaxing retreat from the Flower showroom floor with afternoon tea amidst a backdrop of magnificent flowers and soothing music. This year’s menu included Stash teas, savory tea sandwiches and sweet treats. There is nothing like a hot cup of tea and a light lunch to recharge your battery during a day of excitement! The Show offers two different tea times. Tickets are $28 in advance or $30 at the door. I recommend securing your reservation online to ensure you'll get a seat and be sure to make a note that you'd like to sit with your friends since seating is assigned with 4-5 people at a table.
Teddy Bear Tea
Children are encouraged to bring their favorite bear or other plush friend and their families to the Teddy Bear Tea in the Garden Tea room. The day includes entertainment and a light lunch to relax and enjoy tea with friends and family. Trolls Poppy and Branch also made a special appearance.
If you don't do the Garden Tea and are looking for a snack, you can either grab something on the showroom floor or in the food court on the floor above the show. However, if you get your hand stamped, you can leave the Show to dine at one of the many restaurants within a few blocks of the Convention Center. The fabulous foodie Reading Terminal Market is right across the street and China Town is just a 5-10 minute walk. Tip: Get your hand stamped when you enter the Convention Center, so you don't forget!
They were serving the Reading Terminal Market's famous Termini Brothers cannolis and cupcakes right on the Showroom floor at the Flower Show!
I really enjoyed stepping into Springtime for the day! All of the beautiful greenery and colorful flowers definitely put a new spring in my step. I wish I could go back to Showroom floor today while we are getting another snow/ice storm!
I am looking forward to a return visit next year - the 2019 theme is "Flower Power" and promises to be full of bright and vibrant colors! SAVE THE DATE! The 2019 Flower Show will run from March 2, 2019 - March 9, 2019. Stay tuned to the show's website for info on all the events and family-friendly activities happening at next year's show.
Have you been to the Philadelphia Flower Show? What was your favorite annual theme?
Special thanks to Abby for joining me! I had a great girls getaway with you! xoxo!