Philadelphia Flower Show honors florals, culture of the Netherlands

By Dorothy Sasso - For Times Leader
The Designer’s Studio is a area where several competitions take place during the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. - Submitted photos
An artists rendering of what one of the flower displays will look like at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show. The show this year centers around all flowers Dutch. - Submitted photos
Tulips are the most common and perhaps most well known flower of the Netherlands. Holland and its culture is the main focus of this year’s annual Philadelphia Flower Show. - Submitted photos

This year’s Philadelphia Flower Show honors florals, landscape and culture of the Netherlands, highlighting culture, cuisine and community.

Alan Jaffe, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, said the theme has been considered for years. PHS developed relationships with Dutch designers and the Dutch ministry, which has allowed for stunning exhibits.

“Of all the countries around the world, the one that’s most known for its flowers and floral industry is Holland,” he said. “Ecodesign is something that is on the forefront internationally so this was a perfect time to look to Holland for some interesting lessons in how to improve our environment and also to bring a lot of beauty to Philadelphia.”

Attendees should expect to see flower bulbs and different arrangements.

“There’ll be a lot of new varieties of flowers and plants that people have not seen used before,” Jaffe said. Expect to see designers “mixing annuals and perennials together, mixing bulbs and lots of other kinds of plants in interesting ways, including edible plants to create some very beautiful, but also useful, landscapes.”

One of the show centerpieces is the Ecodome. Traveling from Holland for the first time, this plant-filled sphere houses an insect hotel, bio-based furniture, solar energy, moss water storage, and can convert rainwater into drinking water. Dutch architect and designer Nico Wissing built the Ecodome to highlight the Dutch commitment to sustainability and green designs and innovations.

Exhibits are heavily influenced by the Dutch Wave moment, which Jaffe said, recreates “landscapes that have a bit of a natural, wild look about them.” Designers look “at the way plants naturally grow, mixed in with some formal design.”

Shaffer Design created giant sculptures from bicycles. The American Institute of Floral Designers used the cultural history of the Netherlands as inspiration.

Jaffe said the entrance garden is a sight to see.

“We’ll have a floating flower canopy hanging over people’s heads as they walk through that entrance garden. They will be underneath a structure that will have strings hanging down and at the end of each string will be a flower,” he said. “People will be immersed in flowers and color when they walk through that portion of the garden. It will have the effect of those long flower fields that you see when you visit the Keukenhof Gardens.”

The space between exhibition halls and Reading Terminal will be a world market.

“Within that will be a Dutch shopping village that will have some imported and domestic products with Dutch elements in them,” Jaffe said “We will have the PHS pop up beer garden back there and the fine wine and good spirits store will be back there with free tastings.”

The Designer’s Studio will be in that area as well.

“That’s the area where we have the live competitions between designers and other presentations. People learn the latest trends in floral design there. It’s a lot of fun. It becomes a very raucous corner of the show every year,” Jaffe said. “We’re moving the make-and-take area back into the world market where people create their own crafts.”

A new element this year is the garden spa, which has its own admission price.

“We know that coming to the Flower Show, you walk around for two or three hours, you start to get a little weary,” Jaffe said. “This is a place to go and get pampered. You can get a hand or shoulder massage or sit in a chair and get a foot massage. You can also create your own essential oils or your own potpourri. There’ll be tastings of different wines and spirits in there also. We’re already selling tickets in advance for that.

Restaurants scattered around the show will feature menus inspired by Dutch cuisine.

The Designer’s Studio is a area where several competitions take place during the annual Philadelphia Flower Show.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_designerstudio-1.jpgThe Designer’s Studio is a area where several competitions take place during the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. Submitted photos

An artists rendering of what one of the flower displays will look like at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show. The show this year centers around all flowers Dutch.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_hollandgarden-1.jpgAn artists rendering of what one of the flower displays will look like at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show. The show this year centers around all flowers Dutch. Submitted photos

Tulips are the most common and perhaps most well known flower of the Netherlands. Holland and its culture is the main focus of this year’s annual Philadelphia Flower Show.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_tulips-1.jpgTulips are the most common and perhaps most well known flower of the Netherlands. Holland and its culture is the main focus of this year’s annual Philadelphia Flower Show. Submitted photos
Philadelphia Flower Show highlights Holland

By Dorothy Sasso

For Times Leader

IF YOU GO

What: The Philadelphia Flower Show

When: March 11-19

Times: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., March 11, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., March 12, 10 a.m. 9 p.m., March 13-17, 8 a.m. 9 p.m., March 18, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., March 19

Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center

Additional info: At 9:30 p.m., March 12, Flowers After Hours, a ’90s themed dance party, takes place. March 17 is Fido Friday, when dogs are invited to the show. March 19 is a family themed day and includes activities like the Teddy Bear Tea.

For tickets and more information, visit theflowershow.com.