Let's go outside! Previewing Philadelphia Flower Show at FDR Park

Katherine Scott Image
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Preview: Philadelphia Flower Show moves outside to FDR Park
The Philadelphia Flower Show is moving outside this year to FDR Park and Katherine Scott has a preview.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- New venue, new views.

There's always a wow factor at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and in that regard, this year is no different.

"This is a huge tradition for Philadelphia. It's the largest flower show in the country. It's the oldest flower show in the world, and we're outside for the very first time," said Sam Lemheney from Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Fittingly, this year's theme is 'Habitat: Nature's Masterpiece.' But the theme was actually selected before the pandemic, and before plans to hold the show at FDR Park in June as opposed to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in March.

This means changes to their usual playbook.

Unlike the Convention Center, where electricity and plumbing are a given, organizers needed to bring in any needed infrastructure.

"It's almost an entire city around the show to make all this happen," Lemheney said.

Kiera Donnelly from Irwin Landscapers in Delaware said from the logistics to digging the plants in the actual ground, this is not like past years.

"It is completely different from start to finish," said Donnelly.

There's also no control of the weather which, Donnelly points out, is more in line with reality.

"We have the elements. We have birds and butterflies buzzing around, which is really, really cool to see in the gardens this time," Donnelley said.

New York landscape designer Wambui Ippolito, who was born in Kenya, explained she selected winding paths and lush, dense greens for her display.

"This is perfect for me because I think you enjoy nature and plants and flowers more when you see them in natural light," Ippolito said.

She continued, "Clearly none of these plants are native to Africa, but I wanted to create that kind of spatial beauty that I grew up with in east Africa."

Normally when the show is held in March, guests have to wait for warmer weather to plant their own gardens.

Not this year.

"We're right in the heart of gardening season, so this is perfect for people who want to get inspiration, want to find some new plants for the garden," Lemheney said.

Lemheney pointed out that this year you can pick your plants in the morning and have them in the ground by the afternoon.

The Philadelphia Flower Show runs June 5 to 13. For more information and tickets, click here.