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The Flower Show

"United by Flowers" Celebrates Our Colorful Flower Show Community

November 10, 2023

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By Melissa O’Brien 

Every year, the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show brings together garden enthusiasts, nature lovers, and plant aficionados from near and far to celebrate the wonders of horticulture. Now in its 195th year, the award-winning PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is a world-renowned gardening event and PHS’s main fundraiser, known for its stunning visual displays, world-class plant competitions, family activities, artisanal crafts, educational offerings, and curated shopping.  

The Show's unique themes have always set the stage for captivating exhibits, and the 2024 theme, "United by Flowers," promises to be no exception. In this blog post, we delve into the insights and inspirations behind this year's theme with Seth Pearsoll, PHS’s Creative Director and Vice President for the Flower Show. 

"It is a place where magic happens, and where people from all walks of life come together as one. This growing community represents the essence of United by Flowers." - Seth Pearsoll
guest selfie at the flower show
Who will you bring with you to the Flower Show?

Combatting Loneliness with Connection 

Selecting United by Flowers as the theme was a thoughtful process, influenced by the evolving landscape of the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. The previous year marked a significant moment as it was the first Show that could be easily termed post-COVID. It felt like a rebirth, and a perfect opportunity to rethink the Show's essence. The outdoor Shows during COVID were incredible in their own right, but more change was needed while preserving the event's unique identity. 

According to Seth, “This shift is part of "Flower Show 2.0, building on the past and aiming for deeper, richer, more meaningful themes because the audience is looking for a meaningful experience.” The 2024 Flower Show will strike a balance between fun and substance, providing an event that appeals to a greater sense of community, purpose, and tradition. 

This theme is particularly timely because of the evolving needs of the world. In the wake of the loneliness epidemic -- COVID is partially to blame -- people are craving connection and community. The Flower Show offers an antidote to this issue, encouraging people to gather and celebrate their shared love for plants and gardens. “I always think of the Flower Show as something best done with somebody else,” says Seth. “Maybe you're coming with somebody you haven't connected with in a while, making new connections at the Show, or finding a new connection to nature.” 

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The Flower Show's growing community represents the essence of United by Flowers.

Celebrating the Flower Show Community 

This year’s theme, United by Flowers, is a celebration of the community that the Flower Show represents. Just like Philadelphia's passionate sports scene, this event attracts a diverse group of people, all united by a common love for gardens, plants, landscape design, and community. It transcends age, profession, and location, uniting everyone under the banner of a shared passion. 

The event is carefully co-created with PHS and thousands of volunteers, participants, and contributors. United by Flowers emphasizes the unique communal aspect of the Flower Show, where connections are nurtured, and communities are formed. “It is a place where magic happens, and where people from all walks of life come together as one. This growing community represents the essence of United by Flowers," says Seth. 

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There will be a focus on education this year, creating a better understanding horticulture.

A Focus on Learning and Growing Together 

The United by Flowers theme has influenced the content and layout of the 2024 Show. The events team has reorganized the exhibits and optimized crowd flow to ensure a smoother, more enjoyable experience. There is a dedicated area where attendees can seek expert advice and learn more about plants, as well as free educational sessions happening at the Show each day. A primary focus during the event is on education, creating a better understanding of the world of horticulture. 

The theme will also influence the stunning floral and garden displays at this year’s Show. A massive, immersive, flower-filled entrance garden will unite the most colorful and beautiful plants and flowers into one unforgettable, sensational garden wonderland. Large-scale floral creations and gardens designed by the most talented florists and garden artists from Philadelphia, the U.S., and around the world will draw inspiration from United by Flowers. Seth says, “A lot of the florists are making interesting design statements that are metaphorical takes on what it means to come together, to be in unity, and to have a group that you're affiliated with.” 

The Shared Impact of the Flower Show 

The 13 International Festival and Events Association (IFEA) awards garnered by the 2022 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, including the Grand Pinnacle award -- the highest honor that showcases the best in festival and event promotions and operations -- signify its success and reach. Competing with the likes of the Kentucky Derby, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival, these awards highlight the remarkable impact the Flower Show has on its community. “Winning these awards is a testament to the dedication and passion of everyone involved, from PHS staff to volunteers, exhibitors, and the event's attendees,” says Seth. 

As the 2024 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show approaches, the theme United by Flowers promises an experience filled with wonder, inspiration, and a sense of belonging. Don't miss out on this opportunity to join a community united by a love for horticulture and the beauty of flowers. We look forward to seeing you there, celebrating the shared passion that brings us all together! 

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