March 5, 2012

Philadelphia Flower Show 2012: Hawaii

The Philadelphia Flower Show is held yearly by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.  It is the oldest flower show in the United States, having first taken place in 1829, and it is currently the world's largest indoor flower show, with over 250,000 people attending over the course of a week.  What that translates to is this- it is always very crowded.  It doesn't seem to matter when you go, it will be packed.  The show is spread over 33 acres in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, with the main exhibits taking up ten acres of space.  There are both professional exhibits and amateur entries in gardening competitions.  There is also a large area with vendors, and in recent years they have added an area for wine tasting and a garden tea.

Each year has a different theme.  Last year's was Paris, and it was by far the best flower show I've attended.  This year's theme was Hawaii: Islands of Aloha.  Two things you can count on for any Philadelphia Flower Show: it will be beautiful, and it will smell great.  This year was no exception.

As you entered the show, there were giant screens under which you walked, replicating what it would be like if you were underwater.  Plenty of orchids and exotic, tropical flowers could be found among the exhibits.  

I always enjoy the section of the show which showcases the winners of the amateur competitions.   A good portion of the Philadelphia Flower Show space is devoted to this area. 

It's amazing to see what people can grow themselves.  In the area of the large, professional exhibits, it's often quite dark- darker than it should be.  I know they have received complaints about this and were supposed to fix it this year.  They didn't.  But, the amateur section is usually brightly light, and it shows off the flowers beautifully. 

a beautiful amaryllis
There are many unusual varieties of common flowers.  The colors and smells are amazing.  I didn't want to leave the hyacinths!  The scent was extraordinary.   

ahhh, hyacinths
I don't usually bring my camera to the Philadelphia Flower Show, because it's hard to take good photos.  Most of it is in poor lighting, and it is so crowded that people are usually bumping into you or walking in front of the camera.  So, while I don't think most of my photos turned out too well, you get the gist of what the flower show is like. 

Despite the crowds, I always have a nice time at the flower show. The flowers are both beautiful and beautifully arranged.  This year's Hawaiian theme was interesting.  I think it was one of the better themes of the past few years.  And one of the perks of attending any event at the PA Convention Center is that the delicious food of the Reading Terminal Market is waiting for you next door when you are finished. 


  1. Gorgeous photos, Jen! Thanks for making me feel like I was there, delicious scents and all! -Rebecca


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