PHS Philadelphia Flower Show exhibitor and daughter use plant materials to create mini arrangements

Lydia Allen-Berry says they deconstruct and reconstruct materials found in nature to "turn it into something else."

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Flower Show exhibitor, daughter use nature to create mini arrangements
A mother and daughter use their creativity to make mini arrangements from items found in nature to exhibit at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Lydia Allen-Berry and her daughter, Alexis Berry, not only find beauty in nature, but treasure as well.

On outdoor walks, they often find plant materials they can work into their entries for the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show.

Lydia's specialty is the miniature arrangements. She is a longtime exhibitor and also a challenge class advisor at the show.

"It really is more like sculpture because we can only use dried plant materials," said Lydia. "They're just exquisite."

Alexis says she likes utilizing materials from nature that people don't necessarily think of as "valuable or artistic."

Lydia joined Our Garden Club of Philadelphia and Vicinity and made her first entry into the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2004.

"And I got a blue ribbon," she said.

She entered every year after, until the pandemic. This will be her first show since 2020.

There are certain criteria that must be met when making a mini arrangement.

"They can't exceed five inches square, and they sit in niche boxes," said Lydia.

Her daughter followed in her footsteps.

"The volcano - that was Alexis' first design," said Lydia.

Alexis won her first blue ribbon in 11th grade for a mini arrangement based on the British flag.

Lydia says she started bringing her daughter to garden club meetings at an early age and had her "doing what I was doing."

Alexis is returning to the show this year, after a ten year hiatus. She says she loves using the different textures from flowers and pods and putting them together into "really cool shapes."

This year, they're both doing botanical jewelry.

"I felt like I really needed a challenge," said Lydia.

She made a cuff - a bracelet you could wear on your arm.

"And this is called a neon design," said Lydia.

Her daughter's entry is a bit different.

"I have to design a key that somehow represents Philadelphia," said Alexis.

She says she incorporated wood into the design because she wanted it to evoke "the Liberty Bell."

Lydia says they deconstruct and reconstruct natural materials to "turn it into something else." She says she enjoys helping people to see plants and materials "in a totally different way."

"It's a beautiful feeling," she said.

The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show runs now through Sunday, March 12.

For more information:

PHS Philadelphia Flower Show

Our Garden Club of Philadelphia and Vicinity