By Melissa Bischoff
18 million new gardeners were welcomed into the fold in 2020, according to the National Gardening Association’s annual survey. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay home, many turned to horticulture to tend to their physical and mental health during this unprecedented time.
“In Full Bloom” was chosen as the 2022 Philadelphia Flower Show theme to emphasize the joy that the flowers and plants of early summer bring. With each Show, a community of garden lovers are connected by a love for nature and the outdoors. June’s peak sunlight brings plants into full bloom and highlights the healing and restorative power of nature as it enriches all our lives.
Find out more about why this year’s theme was chosen, what it means, and how it will influence the Show in 2022.
"There will be programming and beautiful displays in the show that will help you understand more about the healing power of horticulture and how you can live 'In Full Bloom.'” -Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows
The theme for the Flower Show is usually chosen years in advance. However, because of the pandemic and the Show moving outdoors for 2021 and 2022, this year’s theme of “In Full Bloom” was chosen in mid-2021 for its timeliness and relevance to what people are experiencing right now.
Sam Lemheney, Chief of Shows and Events says: "So many people couldn't go anywhere, couldn't go on vacation, couldn't get out and enjoy nature themselves, but had to stay home and enjoy nature at their own home instead. ‘In Full Bloom’ was selected thinking this would be a great theme for people who had turned to horticulture, turned to gardening, turned to their own environment to keep their health and well-being in a good place over the past two years.”
Even for those who haven’t gardened during the pandemic (or have not gardened before), the Show offers a great opportunity for people to see why they should learn, and why they still can. “You don't need a pandemic to help you improve your life, or for gardening to be the ultimate therapy,” says Sam. Sam feels that — after sitting on Zoom calls all day or working at a computer — there’s no better stress reliever than getting outside in the garden. For millions of gardeners, it’s a great way to stay grounded and get back in touch with nature.
Every gardener knows that when a plant is in full bloom, it is in full health. “We picked the words, ‘In Full Bloom’ because it speaks to a garden that is in great health and is in the ultimate condition that we always strive for,” says Sam. When applying the concept of being “In Full Bloom” to people, it’s easy to see the ways that gardening connects to good health and positive well-being — helping us thrive in even the toughest of times.
The 2022 Flower Show will once again be held outdoors in FDR Park in June when visitors will experience outdoor gardens at the peak of seasonal perfection and beauty. “Our responses from our constituents were all asking for more and more blooming flowers in gardens to create that WOW factor that is so synonymous with our Philadelphia Flower Show. So that’s what it’s going to be: ‘In Full Bloom,’" says Helen Horstmann, PHS board member and Chair of the Flower Show and Events Committee.
The theme promises that this year’s Show will be filled with color and many different varieties of flowers. Each designer will bring to life their interpretation of how gardening and horticulture are the greatest forms of therapy. There will be an eclectic mix of designers from Philadelphia and overseas, including the most female designers the Show has ever featured in one year. Susan Cohan, who was named The Designer of the Year by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers in 2021, and Martha Schwartz, a Philly native who was recently named on the 2021 Forbes 50 0ver 50 list, are just a few to look forward to.
Visitors of all ages and experience levels will learn something new to bring into their own homes and gardens. Helen says: “The take-home is that anyone can bring nature and the joy of a garden and flowers to their own life and home. Whether you aspire to create an amazing pot of flowers, transform your corner of a community garden, or up your home garden game, the Show can give you ideas.”