Every year, I look forward to the month of March, with both the Philadelphia Flower Show and my birthday falling in the same week. What better present than to be able to spend a day or two at the Philadelphia Convention Center, soaking up the sight of beautiful plants and intriguing landscape ideas, and learning new growing tips? This year, though, due to the pandemic, both the time and the location of the Show have been moved. The 2021 Show will be held in June. And, for the first time in the Show’s 192-year history, it will be held outdoors.
The Show’s theme, “HABITAT: Nature’s Masterpiece” will explore the beauty of life through nature’s kaleidoscopic lens. Visitors should be ready to see exceptional beauty, learn from a diverse line-up of designers and leading horticulturalists, and enter a new gardener-centric experience that invites everyone at all skill levels to nurture a lifelong connection to plants and gardening.
The venue will be the historic Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park in South Philly, just a stone’s throw from the big sports venues: Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Wells Fargo Center. The Show will span fifteen of the park’s 348 acres.
FDR Park, a registered historical district, was built in the early 20th century to the design of Olmsted Brothers, the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and John Charles Olmsted. (The Olmstead name is probably familiar to you; along with Calvert Vaux, Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., designed New York City’s Central Park.) With walkable pathways, majestic trees, large ponds, and breathtaking views, FDR Park is an inspiring venue that will enhance the splendor that the Flower Show is known for.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which hosts the Show, says that the move will allow them to present the Show safely, at the height of the gardening season and with the added health benefits of the outdoors. Accessible to major highways and mass transit, the Park features inspiring natural beauty and an expansive setting that also provides Show designers with an exciting new layout for creative expression and horticultural displays.
“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the outdoors and offer joy and beauty after a year that has been marked by so many challenges. This experience is a wonderful example of the enduring and combined power of green space, plants, and gardeners to create impact and inspiration,” said Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events.
Along with the new venue and safety protocols comes new ticketing and access procedures. Here’s what you need to know:
New Flower Show dates: Saturday, June 5 through Sunday, June 13.
Attendees must reserve a date and time of visit for all tickets purchased. To allow for social distance protocols, a limited number of tickets will be available for each day and time segment. Time choices are 8-10 a.m., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and 2-7 p.m. Early purchase is recommended.
For tickets, go to PHSonline.org.
The show will be accessible via all modes of transportation (bus, subway, car). If coming by car, there will be Flower Show specific parking available for purchase in the coming weeks via PHSOnline.org. There will be transport once one enters the main entrance of the Park to the Show entrance. There will be motorized scooters and wheelchairs available for rent onsite. More info on that can be found at: https://phsonline.org/the-flower-show/plan-your-visit/accessibility
If it’s raining the day you’re scheduled to attend, be sure to bring along your rain gear, to stay dry while walking between exhibits.
Note: PHS members enjoy special entry privileges. Membership includes a variety of ticket offers, such as ticket discounts or complimentary admission during special preview hours. Plus, members provide needed funds to advance PHS’s impact year-round through a variety of efforts that create health and wellness throughout the region. To become a PHS member, visit: PHSonline.org/support-phs/membership.
Pam Baxter is an avid organic vegetable gardener who lives in Kimberton. Direct e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send mail to P.O. Box 80, Kimberton, PA 19442. Share your gardening stories on Facebook at “Chester County Roots.” Pam’s book for children and families, Big Life Lessons from Nature’s Little Secrets, is available on Amazon, along with her companion field journal, Explore Outdoors, at Amazon.com/author/pamelabaxter.