Philadelphia Flower Show blossoms despite two nor'easters

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Philadelphia Flower Show closes out 2018 season: Sarah Bloomquist reports on Action News at 6 p.m., March 11, 2018 (WPVI)

The "Wonders of Water" made quite a splash at the 2018 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, which celebrated the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water. While two powerful nor'easters blew through the region, inside the Flower Show visitors were transported to a tranquil, tropical rainforest and were inspired by stunning creations by the region's premier floral and garden designers and professional and volunteer horticulturists from March 3 to 11. This fabulous event, created collaboratively by more than 3,000 people from many walks of life, provided an inspiring promise of the spring to come.

250,000 visitors were captivated by beautiful, unique interpretations of this year's theme - especially the immersive entrance garden showcasing the sights, scents and sounds of a rainforest - and learned about the importance of water conservation and access to clean drinking water.

With support from the William Penn Foundation, this year's Flower Show offered opportunities for visitors to explore fresh water issues through two impactful experiences: the first-ever Philadelphia Water Summit, a day-long event that brought together leading environmental and industry experts, including former NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber; and Windows on the Watershed, an artful exhibit illuminating the ecological lessons and stories of our own complex freshwater system, the Delaware River Watershed.

Highlights of this year's special events included the Preview Party fundraiser for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's year-round greening and beautification programs, a disco-themed dance party featuring the Kings of Disco at "Flowers After Hours," visionary presentations by nationally renowned finalists in the PHL Image Maker airport landscape design competition, and special appearances by Martha Stewart and Smokey Robinson.

"Thanks to the dedicated effort by our thousands of volunteers, the awe-inspiring displays created by our exhibitors, and the generous support from our guests, this year's Flower Show was a magnificent success for our region and the ever-growing PHS family," said Matt Rader, PHS President. "The 'Wonders of Water' provided visitors with both inspiration and information to bring to the horticultural and water conservation endeavors in their own backyards and communities. We also paid tribute to one of our most important and beloved supporters and exhibitors, the late Dorrance "Dodo" Hamilton, with plants from her collection on display in the aptly named Hamilton Horticourt."

Collaboration and competition are time-honored traditions at the Flower Show and this year, the dedicated planning and effort by entrants in the Horticourt were truly impressive. Passionate gardeners and designers from across the country brought 5,327 entries in the competitive classes at this year's show - nearly 500 more entries than last year. Junior Flower Shows were hosted by 32 public, private and parochial schools, with 4,400 students entered in the artistic or horticulture classes.

The Flower Show raises approximately $1 million that helps support PHS's work to transform lives and communities every day through horticulture. This summer, PHS will create a temporary "Farm for the City" on the Thomas Paine Plaza across from City Hall to spotlight healthy food access issues and invite the public to help address these challenges through community gardening and urban farming. PHS will also work with more than 5,000 volunteer Tree Tenders to tend city and suburban street trees and plant thousands of trees through PHS's region-wide watershed projects ; provide 250,000 organically grown seedlings to community gardens providing fresh produce for those in need; maintain 12,000 greened and stabilized vacant lots in the city; beautify the city's iconic public landscapes; and train returning citizens in green job skills and life skills as they return to their communities.

Plans are already underway for the 2019 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, to be held March 2 to 10, 2019, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The 2019 Flower Show theme, Flower Power, will celebrate the contribution of flowers to our lives and will play host to the FTD World Cup, the world's most prestigious floral design competition.
The renowned competition will kick off during the Philadelphia Flower Show's preview day on Friday, March 1, 2019 and conclude with the announcement of the new FTD World Cup floral design champion on Sunday, March 3, 2019.

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