The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show has been a beloved annual tradition since 1829. It is the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event bringing the ﬂower experience to more than 250,000 attendees every year. This year’s theme, “Wonders of Water,” was a nine-day spotlight on all things H2O and horticulture related, from rain forests to the Delaware River watershed to rain gardens and more. More than 3,000 exhibitors and volunteers come together to make it all happen. It is these people who are at the heart of bringing spring’s splendor to so many while the last of the Northeast’s winter weather is just outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s doors.
From freelance ﬂoral designers to event companies, traditional retail ﬂoral shops to garden club designers, and mass-marketers to amateur ﬂoral designers, there are many ways to become a participant in the show. The Central Feature, Major Exhibitors and Floral Invitationals offer exhibitors ﬂoorshow space from 100 square feet to 2,000 square feet, and there are exhibit opportunities and volunteer options for many.
This year’s “Entrance Garden” was an impressive 10,000- square-foot feature of the most diverse displays of plants and ﬂowers in the show’s history. The entrance featured a 25-foot-tall waterfall amid a lush rain forest created with nearly 4,000 tropical leaves and plants. All of this was completed with thousands of stems of tropical ﬂowers. There were dozens of ﬂoral volunteers involved in the overall creation of the Central Feature.
The Philadelphia Flower Show offers truly amazing involvement that welcomes ﬂoral designers into the show through multiple levels of competitive classes. Although there are many exhibits on a grand scale, not all design categories are expansive. Professional and amateur ﬂoral designers can share their creativity in a variety of sizes and displays that include “Pedestal,” Small and Medium Niches,” “Quadrants” and “Galleria” designs. At the Philadelphia Flower Show “Designer’s Studio,” ﬂoral designers from around the globe go head to head every two hours in fun-ﬁlled fast-paced competitions that combine talent and ingenuity. These live “face-offs” provide the drama and suspense of a reality TV show – and you, too, could have the chance to compete! Between the hour-long ﬂoral design competitions, the “Designer’s Studio” features demonstrations and seminars, providing ﬂoral experts from around the country to demonstrate their skills and offer inspiration to an audience that often swells to a thousand attendees.
As ﬂower-show exhibitors for 12 years, Schaﬀer Designs also has been able to provide and share an experience with almost 200 ﬂoral designers from around the country who have helped us create our exhibits. This year, for our installation titled “Watercolour” we had 31 designers from 11 states throughout the country. And our installation is not the only volunteer opportunity for ﬂoral designers. In chatting with other exhibitors and volunteers at the show, our group represented only a small portion of the states and countries from which other volunteers had come. Designers and assistant volunteers from around the globe participate in the Philly show every year, and next year, it will be a truly international design event. In 2019, we are extremely excited that the Philadelphia Flower Show is hosting the 13th FTD/Interﬂora/Fleurop World Cup international ﬂoral design competition, which debuted in 1972. With 30 of the top ﬂoral design competitors from around the word, this most prestigious ﬂoral design competition will, for the ﬁrst time ever, be held in the United States. Get involved. Hope to see you there!
Color and creativity were united in Schaﬀer Designs’ “Watercolour” exhibit at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show, which was a blending of three art forms: painting, sculpture and ﬂoral. Water and pigment merge, bringing paint to life. Schaffer Designs worked with Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Ryan Beck to create an abstract 1,280-square-foot mural, teeming with the energy of unbound colorful forms. We then reached out to Philadelphia-based multimedia artists Joseph Leroux and Ken Derengowski to sculpt ﬂowing armatures emerging from the mural. The Schaffer Designs’ team of ﬂoral artists from across the United States then completed this collaborative ﬂuid ﬂoral art installation – a living ﬂoral explosion of color.