History

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society connects people with horticulture and together we create beautiful, healthy and sustainable communities.

In 1827, the nation's first passenger and freight railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, was incorporated, slavery was abolished in the state of New York, and on November 24th, a group of gentleman farmers, botanists and other plant enthusiasts held a meeting to create the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

There, it was resolved "to establish a Horticultural Society in the City of Philadelphia for the promotion of this interesting and highly influential branch of Science." At that time, PHS boasted 80 members. Today, the PHS family includes 27,000 members strong.

Community, innovation, and a passion for plants and gardening all describe PHS, and interwoven throughout is tradition, and the tradition that looms in most minds is the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, held each year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The first Philadelphia Flower Show was hosted in 1829 at the Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street, where the well-known Christmas favorite, the poinsettia, was first introduced to the American public. Today, the Philadelphia Flower Show serves as our nation’s largest and most prestigious flower show, attracting over 250,000 visitors annually, and  high praise from industry leaders such as the International Festivals & Events Association who bestowed 15 international awards for excellence and its Grand Pinnacle on the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show naming it the best event in the world.

Dedicated to Gardening, Greening and Learning, PHS programs are integral to the PHS mission. From civic landscape and parks initiatives, to community gardens and  the restoration of major gateways and public landscapes throughout the city, PHS engages  partners and thousands of city residents in an ongoing effort to make the city a more livable, vibrant place to live and work.

High on the list of PHS traditions for thousands in the region is volunteerism. If there is any single concept that gets to the core of PHS's mission, it is the act of getting together with others of all backgrounds and "working the soil."  Whether it's joining in work days or planting bulbs in a Philadelphia neighborhood; touring enthusiasts through the grounds of PHS Meadowbrook Farm or guiding  guests at the magnificent Philadelphia Flower Show, PHS fosters a passion for sowing and growing together that  also serves as its hallmark.