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The Flower Show

United by Design: 7 Flower Show Exhibitors Share a Sneak Preview

January 19, 2024

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By Melissa O’Brien 

Welcome to the vibrant world of the 2024 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, where creativity blossoms and nature takes center stage. In this blog post, we explore the unique perspectives and captivating exhibits of a few of this year’s designers at the event: Apiary Studio, Jennifer Designs, Kelly D. Norris, Mercer County Community College, Robertson’s Flowers & Events, Tissarose Floral, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Each exhibitor brings a distinctive flair to the theme "United by Flowers," showcasing the harmonious intersection of artistry, horticulture, and environmental consciousness. Join us on a journey through immersive experiences, symbolic road trips, abandoned spaces brought to life, geometric wonders, and the transformative power of flowers. As we delve into the narratives behind these exhibits, we invite you to discover the profound connections that unite us all through the universal language of flowers. 

See all of these and exhibits and more at the 2024 Flower Show!

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An artistic rendering of Apiary Studio's 2024 Flower Show exhibit: “Right of Way”

Apiary Studio 

Apiary Studio is a landscape architecture, design/build, and experimental horticulture firm made up of a passionate and sustainability-driven team, whose commitment shines through in their third consecutive year participating in the Flower Show. This seasoned group has cultivated a design philosophy that emphasizes accessibility and sustainability, crafting transformative solutions with a light and holistic touch. Their planting style -- described as raucous and effusive -- serves as a vibrant counterpoint to their meticulously crafted recycled and repurposed hardscapes, showcasing an environmental consciousness that defines their work. 

Their 2024 Flower Show exhibit “Right of Way” unfolds as a captivating narrative, with a 30-foot-long photographic installation by Philadelphia-based artist Jaime Alvarez taking center stage on a billboard. The exhibit, akin to a one-act production, not only mesmerizes with its mirage-like scenes of roadside America but also integrates emblematic highway features into a dynamic planting design that transitions from spring dormancy to summer profusion.  

Under the theme "United by Flowers," the team explores the quintessential American road trip experience, emphasizing the unbounded plant throughway along shoulders that transcends state lines. Visitors can anticipate a theatrical and playful presentation that challenges preconceptions, inspiring a fresh perspective on the potential of gardens. The exhibit serves as a platform not only for visual delight but also for sparking a dialogue on land conservation, habitat restoration, and beautification, encouraging attendees to think deeply and engage in a profound exploration of nature's wonders.  

“We love supporting the Show not only as the primary fundraiser for PHS’s mission to broaden horticulture education and access to the public, but also as an intentional gathering for those of us already devoted to the science and the craft. This event connects folks at every stage of entry into horticulture, and we always walk away having met so many new people and learned so much.” - Martha Keen, Apiary Studio’s Horticulture Manager
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An artistic rendering of Jennifer Designs' 2024 Flower Show exhibit: "America in Bloom"

Jennifer Designs 

With a design philosophy focused on creating immersive experiences that keep viewers engaged and connected, returning exhibitor Jennifer Designs brings a unique perspective to the 2024 Flower Show. The exhibit, titled "America in Bloom," serves as a visual exploration of the interconnectedness of individuals across the country through flowers and plants. Owner and professional floral designer, Jennifer Reed, draws inspiration from the idea that we all celebrate seasons and states through landscapes and flowers, capturing the essence of shared experiences in gardens, flower shows, and seeing iconic blooms like cherry blossoms. The exhibit invites viewers on a symbolic Road Trip across the United States, featuring a larger-than-life Flower Road Map adorned with flowers grown by American flower farmers. This innovative approach to storytelling through floral design aligns seamlessly with the theme "United by Flowers," emphasizing unity, connection, and the shared love for nature. 

 The theme of unity is particularly resonant in Jennifer’s choice to focus on the word "United" and the concept of bringing people together. The exhibit becomes a celebration of shared passions, with a special emphasis on the joy of travel and the sense of unity that arises from experiencing the beauty of botanical gardens and blooming landscapes. The Flower Show itself becomes a manifestation of the theme, offering attendees an opportunity to come together and celebrate the collective love for flowers, plants, and nature. For Jennifer, being part of the 2024 Flower Show fulfills a long-held dream.

“It is a tremendous honor to showcase my work among so many talented designers and horticulturists from all over the world, and to be a part of it is an incredible opportunity. I also love what PHS stands for and what they do for the community.” - Jennifer Reed, Owner of Jennifer Designs
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An artistic rendering of Kelly D. Norris's 2024 Flower Show exhibit: “A Beautiful Disturbance”

Kelly D. Norris 

Immersed in a plant-driven and site-specific design philosophy, first-time Flower Show exhibitor Kelly D. Norris draws inspiration from the intricate dynamics of plant life, from individual specimens to thriving communities in natural landscapes. His process captures the essence of a place, considering both its atmosphere and living components. For the 2024 Flower Show, Kelly’s exhibit “A Beautiful Disturbance” delves into the resilience of weedy plants growing in abandoned places with horticultural license. Challenging conventional perceptions of gardens, the planting explores the idea of nature reclaiming spaces, prompting viewers to contemplate the blurred lines between natural creation and human intervention. The selection of plant species, often labeled as 'exotic' or 'invasive,' sparks a nuanced exploration of belonging, resilience, and adaptation, inviting visitors to question their preconceived notions and narratives about the natural world. 

Aligned with the theme "United by Flowers," the exhibit serves as a secret garden in plain sight, inviting curiosity and contemplation about the power of flowers to cultivate dialogue between people and place. The theme encourages a shared admiration for plant life and the potential for curiosity to restore and reinvent the places we inhabit. Kelly envisions the exhibit as a beautiful meadow amidst abandonment, showcasing the transformative power of flowers in fostering a new narrative of renewal, hope, and community.  

As a part of the 2024 Flower Show, Kelly sees this as an exciting opportunity to share innovative ideas, provoke thoughts, and initiate conversations about reimagining urban landscapes and socio-ecological systems. Kelly’s participation in the Flower Show is not just a showcase, but a culmination of a journey that began with admiration in 2016, reflecting the honor and excitement of having the chance to contribute eight years later. 

“I want people to leave wondering how a floral transformation of abandoned space promotes a message of renewal, hope, and community." - Kelly D. Norris, Owner
Mercer County Community College’s greenhouse as they force plants for the 2024 Flower Show.

Mercer County Community College 

Driven by a commitment to provide visitors with inspiration and tangible ideas, Mercer County Community College approaches each year's creations with the intention of leaving attendees with a wellspring of creativity. Their design philosophy revolves around offering practical takeaways that resonate with the audience.  

For the 2024 Flower Show, the inspiration for their exhibit "Two Cities, One Garden" stems from the vibrant community gardens of Trenton and North Philadelphia. Going beyond traditional components, the exhibit stands out by incorporating elements that elevate gardens to new heights. Filled with an array of vegetables, pollinator plants, and educational features, the design encapsulates the essence of community gardens while pushing boundaries to deliver a visually stunning and informative experience. Aligned with the theme "United by Flowers," the exhibit channels the unifying power of community gardens, emphasizing their role in fostering connections among neighborhoods and communities, especially in the context of the growing emphasis on urban agriculture. 

As contributors to this prestigious event, Mercer County Community College students see it as a valuable platform to highlight their creativity and contribute to the collective celebration of horticultural arts. 

“The Flower Show is a fantastic experience for our students, and it allows us to showcase our talent as a community college from New Jersey." - Amy Ricco, Program Coordinator for Horticulture, Plant Science, and Sustainability at Mercer County Community College
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An artistic rendering of Robertson's Flowers and Events' 2024 Flower Show exhibit

Robertson’s Flowers & Events 

Immersed in the enchanting intersection of nature and geometry, Roberson’s Flowers & Event’s philosophy for this year's Flower Show hinges on the captivating relationship between organic shapes and modern design. Drawing inspiration from books exploring geometric patterns in the natural world, this longtime favorite Flower Show exhibitor seeks to weave these elements into an innovative exhibit.  

The Flower Council of Holland's website and the NOVA documentary, "The Origami Revolution," stand out as key sources of influence. The 2024 Flower Show design departs from previous blueprints, focusing on a bold floral display with a clean, contemporary aesthetic and vibrant color palette. Collaborating with Filippi Brothers, the exhibit introduces sculptures and a chandelier as focal points, accompanied by clean lines and striking designs, aiming to captivate visitors in a fresh and challenging way. 

The theme "United by Flowers" deeply shapes the exhibit, showcasing the harmony between geometry and nature while symbolizing unity and diversity within humanity. A central dinner table becomes a focal point, representing a communal gathering where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate the gifts of the planet. The exhibit, bursting with color and creativity, interprets the theme in a way that highlights harmony and community. Beyond being a visual delight, the designers hope the exhibit prompts reflection on the joy of coming together and existing in harmony.

“The Flower Show provides us with a unique platform to express and share our creativity, passion, and dedication to our craft with a wider audience. Being a part of the Flower Show is a thrilling opportunity for our team and is always a welcome challenge that we enjoy from start to finish.” - Taylor Ferry, Director of Sales and Operations at Robertson’s
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An artistic rendering of Tissarose Floral's 2024 Flower Show exhibit



Tissarose Floral

Immersed in the world of floral artistry, Philadelphia-based floral designer Tanesha Sample’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of flowers in one's life. Starting without a particular affinity for flowers, Tanesha’s appreciation for their beauty evolved through life's twists and turns. Before starting Tissarose Floral, the therapeutic nature of keeping fresh flowers in the home became a source of solace during a period of grieving for Tanesha. The act of creating arrangements for personal comfort turned into a fulfilling career, marking the intersection of passion and profession. 

As a first-time solo exhibitor at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Tissarose Floral draws inspiration from the dining table, a symbol of familial and human connection. Aligning with the theme "United by Flowers," the design aims to encapsulate the long-standing tradition of using the dining table as a gathering place for celebration, relief, and togetherness.  

Tanesha sees the Flower Show as a unique opportunity to showcase her work among the vibrant community of creative designers.

“As a new exhibitor, I want people to view my design and be inspired to be creative and push past all doubt. I ended up with a career and an opportunity to be in this year’s Flower Show because I decided to try something new. By stepping out and believing in yourself, anyone can achieve that which seems unattainable.” - Tanesha Sample, Owner of Tissarose Floral
USGS's exhibit interprets bees as primary agents uniting flowers in the natural world.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program designs and develops surveys and identification tools for native bees which are integral to the environment. The first-time exhibitor’s design philosophy for the 2024 Flower Show aims to convey a message about the crucial role of plantings in saving bees. The design for the Flower Show distinguishes itself by featuring large format, hi-resolution photos of native bees in unique colors like blue, green, and red. This distinctive approach sets their exhibit apart, capturing attention, sparking curiosity, and fostering conversations among visitors. 

Aligned with the theme "United by Flowers," the exhibit interprets bees as primary agents uniting flowers in the natural world. Highlighting the interconnected relationship between bees and flowers, the exhibit underscores the vital role of pollinators in sustaining floral biodiversity. The design aims to raise awareness about the impact of gardening choices on regional bee populations, emphasizing the significance of planting native flowers and shrubs to support bee conservation. 

"We see this event as an exciting opportunity for fun and a unique platform to engage with a large audience and advocate for bee conservation, fostering discussions that might not occur in other settings.” - Sam Droege, Wildlife Biologist and first-time Flower Show participant

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