Flower Show displays society’s dependence on horticulture | The Triangle

Flower Show displays society’s dependence on horticulture

The show features the world’s leading floral and garden designers to convey how flowers produce a wide range of emotions and messages. (Photograph courtesy of Wayne Lin)

The Philadelphia Flower Show is in town and is currently open to the public until March 10. Put on each year by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Flower Show has become a major attraction bringing thousands to Philadelphia each spring.

Many visitors have already flocked to the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Arch Street to see 10 acres of floral and garden displays as part of the largest, longest-running horticulture event in the nation.

In addition to many decorative displays, the Flower Show hosts competitions in multiple areas, including horticultural and artistic flower arranging, gardening presentations and demonstrations, and special events. Judges for the Flower Show rank displays based on cultural perfection, distinctiveness, bloom, fruit, maturity, difficulty and rarity.  

“The world’s leading floral and garden designers will explore how flowers convey a wide range of emotions and messages in a universal language that transcends cultures and borders,” according to the 2019 PHS Flower Show website. “Stunning landscapes, imaginative gardens and breathtaking floral displays will interpret flowers’ power to inspire, decorate, style and enrich our lives.”

The “flower power” theme of this year’s show is built around six distinct areas of effects that flowers have on humans, according to Karen Barsotti, an information desk volunteer for the Philadelphia Flower Show.

“The theme for this year is ‘flower power,’ which is based on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and ’60s power, but it is also based on every aspect of power that flowers and plants have on everyday life,” Barsotti said. “There are a number of areas. One is to inspire people, one is to heal, one is to form community, one is to help celebrate. Another is an economic driver — a lot of businesses thrive through horticulture. Lastly, one is communication — even if people don’t speak the same language, they can speak the language of flowers. Those are what I see as the six powers of flowers.”

Photograph courtesy of Wayne Lin.

In conjunction with the “flower power” theme and the powerful connections flowers have with humans, there is a strong sense of togetherness and friendship conveyed throughout the Pennsylvania Convention Center floor.

One park display features a “Buddy Bench,” a wooden bench dedicated to celebrating meaningful relationships.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one,” is painted on one of the bench rails.

The powerful floral and garden displays are sure to spark emotion, and some even tug at the heartstrings as they focus on difficult topics including pediatric cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

“One [display] actually made me cry when I looked at it,” Barsotti said. “It has five different categories of how flowers communicate through different colors and different themes. Spring and new beginnings, death and solemnity, there’s love — if you look at it, there’s a lot of communication. The way they communicate with words and then plants, I thought it was really beautiful.”

Those looking to visit the Philadelphia Flower Show can purchase tickets online at www.theflowershow.com, and Drexel students can receive discounted student tickets. The Flower Show is open to the public at the Convention Center until March 10.

Photograph courtesy of Wayne Lin.