Visitors to be greeted by 30,000 flowers
Entrance blends traditional, Dutch Wave design
PHILADELPHIA >> Thirty thousand flowers — with an additional 6,000 blooms suspended in a giant floral canopy — will welcome guests to the 2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Holland: Flowering the World,” from March 11 to 19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“Tulips, a flower field, romantic bridges, bikes — the focus will be on all dimensions about Holland,” Sam Lemheney, chief of shows and events for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, said of the entrance garden and other highlights of this year’s flower show. “Holland is a very sustainable and green country and we will highlight and showcase that.
“There’s a lot of sustainable, green gardening in the United States, but it’s not as well-known as in Holland,” he said. “It’s definitely in their culture. They’re concerned about the environment on a daily basis.
“They ride bikes everywhere, water conservation — the windmill was used to move water.”
Visitors will enter the show by walking under a large brick bridge inspired by the Amsterdam cityscape and adorned with Delft tile patterns, with romantic walks adored in window boxes and hanging baskets with cut flowers, Lemheney said. They will walk into a center plaza with three windmills — just the slats — with flower adornments and LED lights that will go on every half-hour set to music, he said.
The surrounding garden will be planted with cherry trees, sycamores and drifts of floral color ranging from hot orange to soft pinks, reds, blues and purple accents, show officials said. Mixed in with thousands of tulips will be hundreds of fritillaria, narcissus, anemones and other blooms.
“The flower fields include acres of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils; the colors are amazing,” Lemheney said. “Instead of a meadow, it will be a naturalistic design, creating grasses in a wave and perennials in a wave. It’s a much more formal design.”
Ina Flower Show first, a floral canopy will float above the entrance garden. More than 6,000 flowers will hang down from 4,500 multi-colored strings suspended over the heads of visitors.
“It will be spectacular,” Lemheney said. “It will feel like you’re walking through a tunnel of flowers.”
The entrance garden was designed by himself, PHA designer Seth Pearsoll and two contractors, Gary Radin and Jeff Newburger, Lemheney said.
The more than 10,000-square-foot garden and walkway “sets the tone and mood for the entire show,” he said.
“We’re so excited about this,” he said. There will be 30,000 bulbs, 20 varieties of tulips, floral and hybrid, “from deep orange to peach to lavender to white.”
Dutch Wave design with perennials and native plants mixed together will be prevalent, with a 70-foot-diameter, 36-foot-tall display in the “dead center of the show,” with a geodesic dome housing companies from Holland to showcase their innovative and creative ideas for sustainable gardens and horticulture, Lemheney said.
Bulbs will be the highlight of most of the gardens in the show, he said. Inspiration for the gardens comes from artwork from the Dutch masters, bikes, old castle gardens and architectural areas.
Halfway through the show, the 30,000 bulbs will be replaced, Lemheney said. After the show, PHS members will be able to go to Meadowbrook Farm and purchase some of the bulbs for the following year.
For more information on the Philadelphia Flower Show, call 215-988-8800, visit TheFlowerShow.com, search for “The Flower Show”on Facebook or follow @Phila-FlowerShow on Twitter.
A sketch of the entrance to the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show.
Flowering bulbs that will dominate the 2017 Flower Show.
Visitors to the 2016 Flower Show take photos of tulips, the highlight of the 2017 show.
IMAGE COURTESY OF GARY RADIN, GMR DESIGN A sketch of the entrance to the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show.