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Philadelphia’s flower show back in bloom | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

Philadelphia’s flower show back in bloom

Photo by Nicole Buscaglia | The Triangle

Every March, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Center City, Philadelphia to experience the beautiful and immersive Philadelphia Flower Show. This show, run by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is the oldest and largest flower show in the United States. Since its start in 1829, the show has allowed florists of all ages and skill sets to embrace their art and make a name for themselves. The event has a general theme each year and includes both larger exhibits and smaller projects to be judged by an esteemed lineup of panelists. This show is deeply rooted in tradition, and the 2024 show held up the standard.

Upon walking into the exhibit hall, viewers were transported into a breathtaking garden. Full of vibrant pinks and blues, with purple “clouds” made of flowers, the main display captured the hearts of each person who walked through the door. The piece included multiple reflection pools, making it the largest water exhibit the show has ever seen. After experiencing the main display, visitors made their way through the promenade, where about twenty exhibitors provided their creations and attempted to fit the theme. This year, the theme of the show was United By Flowers, and the florists did not disappoint. 

The first display was a map of the United States, fully covered in flowers. There was an interactive portion that planned “road trips” for guests. By picking a region of the country, lights lit up to highlight a path of real gardens people could visit in that area. There were also car doors that served as photo ops. Across from the map display, there was a collection of pieces that brought different aspects of nature, like sunrises and waterfalls, to life. 

One of the largest exhibits along the promenade was created by Black Girl Florists. The display represented a salon and captured three main components: the check-in area, getting hair washed and getting hair styled. The flowers told a story of the salon being a place that unites people. Two of the creators, Rashawn Scarbo and Samia Zellner, explained that almost everyone could remember their first time at a salon, hearing the conversations, laughter and stories of the community around them. They also emphasized the importance of salons for black women, as the space provides what the women described as a “communal sanctuary.” Salons are a place of culture and comfort for many, and this display did a great job evoking both personal memories and the beauty of this shared experience.

Some of the other notable exhibits included a kitchen with a garden outside, an overgrown yard, an Italian Market and a shipping container. There were also quite a few dining room table setups. These pieces of art convey all the ways in which people find themselves united, whether that is over food, exploring other cultures, remembering our pasts and more. The displays truly encapsulated the experiences of human life that draw us together, yet also make us unique. Each viewer could apply the beauty in front of them to their own experiences, making the florals that much more impactful.

After walking through the promenade, guests could make their way to the art section, full of photographs, paintings and sculptures. Some of the art was made by young students, students in college classes and amateur artists. The pieces were all eligible to win awards, with some already adorned with blue ribbons for their greatness. Another competitive aspect of the show was a section where people could submit individual plants to be judged. With rows and rows of potted flowers, viewers could see how different members of the horticultural family worked to grow similar, and yet different, plants to brighten up the show even more.

The main exhibit hall included a vendor’s market, where guests could purchase everything from flowers to a new bathtub. Many people were seen carrying around beautiful bouquets and seed packets so they could try their hand at gardening once they returned home. In addition to the main hall, a second hall gave space for visitors to take craft classes, enjoy a butterfly pavilion and hear from master gardeners. 

The 2024 Philadelphia Flower Show was one to remember. From breathtaking exhibits to nostalgic themes, it was a beautiful experience for anyone in attendance. Visitors left realizing that while people are all different, everyone is truly united. This is an amazing tradition that has united Philadelphia for nearly two centuries, and it will continue as flower enthusiasts look toward the 2025 show when the flowers will enthrall this city once again.