Just six days from now, visitors to the 2014 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show will be experiencing ARTiculture, a one-of-a-kind collaboration between our exhibitors and museum partners . Whether inspired by a specific painting, a collection, or a genre of art, the displays are sure to be a feast for the senses–a floral fantasy of beautiful plants and cutting-edge designs. But before you put on your most comfortable shoes and charge those camera batteries, here are a few things you might want to know about world’s largest flower show!
The first Philadelphia Flower Show was held in 1829 in the 82-by-69-foot Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street. Twenty-five Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) members showed off their horticultural treasures, including a variety of exotic and native plants. In 1966, the Show was presented in the lower level of the Civic Center and in 1968, PHS became the official producer. The Flower Show remained in the Civic Center until 1996, when it moved to its current location at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In this Center City venue, the Show encompasses 33 indoor acres, with exhibit space taking up 10 acres of the main exhibit hall. Almost 300,00 people visit the Show each year.
Founded in 1827, PHS is America’s first horticultural society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “motivate people to improve the quality of life and create a sense of community through horticulture.” Proceeds from the Flower Show benefit PHS’s gardening, greening, and learning programs year round.
PHS City Harvest is one of those gardening initiatives. Through City Harvest, PHS and its partners have empowered urban gardeners to share the fruits of their labor with families in need. The program is creating an infrastructure of agricultural supply and education centers, as well as expanding fresh food production, distribution, and consumption in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. PHS City Harvest gardeners grow more than 20,000 pounds of produce each year, helping to feed approximately 1,000 families per week during the growing season, including residents of neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of poverty and food insecurity in the region.
In its greening efforts, PHS Philadelphia LandCare is a nationally recognized model of landscape treatment to address the widespread challenge of land vacancy plaguing the city’s core. As part of a strategic approach to neighborhood redevelopment, PHS works with community-based organizations and City agencies to transform Philadelphia’s vacant land into neighborhood assets by “cleaning and greening” selected lots in key neighborhoods. Philadelphia LandCare provides custodial management for 10 million square feet of land, more than 8,000 lots, and provides jobs for more than 100 Philadelphia residents.
So as you escape winter’s last blast and jump into spring, remember that the Philadelphia Flower Show is a fundraiser for PHS and your ticket purchase helps support its important programs. For that, we thank you!
To learn more about PHS and to become a member, please click here. The entire history of the Flower Show can be found in the exciting new book, Images of America The Philadelphia Flower Show. Pick up your copy at the PHS Store at the Show, or click here.