By Melissa O'Brien
The theme of the 2022 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “In Full Bloom,” has energized close to 40 designers from Philadelphia and overseas to bring to life their vision of how gardening and horticulture are the greatest forms of therapy. This year’s Show features an eclectic mix of world-class designers, including the most women ever exhibiting in one year. Get to know six of these women as they share what inspired them leading up to this year’s Flower Show!
Based in the U.K., Ann-Marie Powell's multi-award-winning garden design practice has seen outdoor spaces as places with exciting possibilities for over twenty years. “Sustainability is a fundamental value of our approach, and we endeavor to respect the ecological value of the site through our plantings,” says Ann-Marie.
As a first-time exhibitor at the Flower Show, Ann-Marie is excited to showcase what “In Full Bloom” means to her — designing a colorful garden exhibit filled with plants that attract pollinators. “Flowers in full bloom are not just beautiful, beneficial for well-being, and fun to grow — they’re fundamental to our life on earth, bringing us all together,” she says. There will be gold elements incorporated throughout the design to celebrate the color yellow (a bee’s favorite color!), a pond to further support wildlife, and a path that is a direct lift from a section of the anatomy of a bee’s wing.
FÊTE URBANE is a female and family-led floral and event design studio located in Pennington, NJ specializing in floral design, installations, event production, and styling. Co-Owner and Creative Director Elizabeth Barrella is thrilled to be returning as an exhibitor at the 2022 Flower Show, saying: “We are really leaning into the theme this year, as it hits close to home for all of us. We explore nature and flowers, specifically, whenever we're hoping to recenter and ground ourselves. That is the main intention in our design this year — to create that same feeling for our viewers/guests.”
FÊTE URBANE’s exhibit this year will be a dynamic and interactive experience that incorporates all of the senses. The goal is for viewers to appreciate more than just the surface-level beauty of the flowers. “Ultimately, I hope they leave with a deeper sense of awareness and a sense of calm,” says Elizabeth.
Jennifer Reed strongly believes floral design and all forms of art should make you "feel," immerse you in the design and, most importantly — be fun! She has been creating distinctive floral designs for events for over 20 years at her company, Jennifer Designs, and gained experience in the retail end of the industry, having grown up in her family's floral business.
The Flower Show theme “In Full Bloom” inspired Jennifer to create a playful floral dance club exhibit called “The Bloom Room” for this year’s Show. “The Bloom Room” will feature a DJ, swirling florals, and a custom playlist for guests to enjoy on the dance floor. Jennifer believes movement is therapeutic — for plants and people — and hopes guests will help bring her exhibit to life. “I hope the viewer feels something — the sense to start dancing or just enjoy watching someone else dance — and it makes them smile,” says Jennifer.
Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP) is a leading international design practice whose work focuses on activating and regenerating natural sites and urban centers. Situated at the intersection of landscape architecture, urban design, and site-specific climatic considerations, MSP is committed to the design of urban landscapes and the public realm as the foundation for sustainable cities that are healthy across all aspects and sectors of life.
As a native Philadelphian and first-time exhibitor at the Flower Show, Martha Schwartz wanted to make something memorable that would stand out, spark curiosity, and maybe even teach people something new. Her garden exhibit will feature a giant flower made from mushrooms that contains a room underneath that people can walk through to learn more about mushrooms and their health benefits. She says: “It’ll be fun, funky, and a little strange. You may not even like it, but you'll certainly learn something from it.”
Renee Tucci AIFD is a freelance floral designer, author, educator, and consultant. Her teachings center around practical, everyday floral design techniques for the retail florist and hobbyist.
This year, Renee’s floral exhibit entitled “Heartwood” will feature a large tree sculpture as its centerpiece that will be blooming with beautiful flowers and apples created by kids in the Big Brother Big Sisters program of Bucks County. “The oldest, most supportive part of a tree is called Heartwood, and just as wood provides support for trees, I believe trees support communities in all the ways that they give back to people, wildlife, and the environment,” says Renee.
She hopes this exhibit will inspire viewers to walk away with a renewed appreciation for trees, saying: “PHS does so much to add to the green scene in the Philadelphia area, and I think we all need to pay a little more attention to it and support those endeavors whenever we can.”
Susan Cohan, CPLD, FAPLD is the principal and design director of Susan Cohan Gardens, a full-service landscape design studio located in the New York/New Jersey metro area. For almost twenty years, Susan Cohan and her team have created landscape designs for discerning regional and international clients.
A long-time Flower Show attendee, Susan is thrilled to be exhibiting for the first time this year. Her garden design called “The Gardens of One’s Own,” is inspired by Virginia Woolf’s essay, “A Room of One’s Own.” “I thought about all of the different roles that women have been asked to perform during the last several years of the pandemic — mom, breadwinner, maid, cook, laundress — they have to be all of these things with no space for themselves, so we decided to create a distinctly feminine space,” says Susan.
When people enter the garden, Susan wants them to feel at ease. The central part of the garden will be surrounded by blooming plants and has a circular path inspired by meditative labyrinths leading guests over a water feature towards a garden folly in the back that is intended to be a room for one person to enjoy — all on their own.