An exhibition of flowers in Philadelphia is preparing for the next summer sun Lifestyle

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has unveiled details of the upcoming Flower Show in Philadelphia on June 11-19, which for the second time in its 194-year history will be held outdoors, at FDR Park in South Philadelphia.

The show is usually held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the first week of March – late winter – but last year due to the pandemic it became a summer outdoor event in the park. Last September, PHS decided to return to the FDR so that floral designers could develop and prepare the appropriate foliage.

At last year’s outdoor show, ticket sales were restricted to limit the number of visitors as a pandemic protocol. There were also few opportunities for interaction and hands-on activities.

A typical indoor exhibition of flowers will attract about 250,000 people before the pandemic. Last year’s open-air pandemic show was less than that. The Horticultural Society did not release attendance figures for the past year, saying only that it “exceeded expectations” for what was considered a difficult year without precedent.

This year, all of those restrictions will be lifted, making it a more accurate test of the viability of the outdoor show.

“We’ve seen different viewers come to the show, but we also know that our main audience loves the Philadelphia Flower Show in March, right after the long winter,” said PHS show and events manager Sam Lemhini. “We think a lot about what to do in the future and how we do it.”

Lemhaney said that last year at FDR Park the exhibition was attended by more families with children than he usually sees at the indoor exhibition. This year the show will feature more exciting activities, including The Cocoon, a play space specifically designed for children.

“We learned a lot from being here,” Lemhini said.

PHS has also learned that with an extensive show on more than 15 acres it is important to create a space in which to navigate easily.

“It’s interesting to predict how people will move in space,” said design director Seth Pearsol, who made the show’s layout less tortuous and more linear. “This year we realized: let the guests make fewer decisions. Let’s be absolutely clear what’s here, what’s there. Then no need to choose. You can accept everything. “

The show will take place primarily in the space in front of the boat, a semi-enclosed pavilion overlooking the lake, which will be used to serve drinks and small snacks. The eldhouse will be temporarily built to give guests a great view of the exhibition grounds.

This is one of three food options on display. There will also be a Food Bazaar with vendors and picnic tables, as well as a more upscale restaurant called The Lakes, a 300-seat bistro from chef Jean-Marie Lacroix.

This year will also be an indoor component of the open-air exhibition, as some of the competitive gardening shows will be held at the neighboring American Swedish History Museum. Extravagant theatrical performances created by some of the designers require controlled conditions that are only possible indoors.

Pearsol also said the outdoor show feels different.

“When you’re on the street, stop, stop and take your time feeling a little more natural,” he said. “There is one area near Elendaus, I remember I was upstairs at the meeting and looking down, and there people were having a picnic right on the waterfront. I said, that’s all. Here it is. An outdoor site allows you to do some of these passive relaxing things. ”

The participating landscape designers were invited to consider the topic “In full bloom”, which refers to the benefits of plants and gardening for mental health.

“Our view is that gardening is the best form of therapy, and that relationships with plants, flowers and gardens are good for your mental health,” Pearsol said. “When a garden blooms, it is at its best. It was fed up. He got everything he needed to get into that state. Such as gardening, for people: it is a way for all of us to be in full bloom. ”

A survey by the National Horticultural Association in 2021 shows that 18.3 million people started gardening during the pandemic. The reason was most often called “good for mental health.”

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is waiting until the flower show is over before embarking on major improvements, including a new visitor center and space for events, as well as a large children’s playground.

The Horticultural Society has made constant physical improvements to the FDR, including 7,000 plantings and extensive tree maintenance on site. Parks and Recreation Commissioner Catherine Ott Lovell would like the flower show to return every year.

“If you think about it from a non-physical point of view, the flower exhibition for us has made so many new visitors for us. These visitors have become big fans and great stewards, ”she said. “I think the Flower Show, because it attracts such a large audience, has led people who don’t normally come to FDR Park.”

This article first appeared on WYY.org.

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