The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) has announced the exhibitor list for its 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show, “Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece.” This year will feature the most designers, gardens, and floral displays in the Show’s history, with over 75 unique installations for guests to see and interact with, spanning the Show’s 15-acre outdoor footprint.
The Show will feature an impressive lineup of 34 major exhibitors, whose displays average approximately 1000 square feet. Almost half of these will consist of the large-scale, ornate displays that the Flower Show is famed for. This year, these sizable and imaginative floral and landscape creations are inspired by the Show’s outdoor setting and the late-blooming spring season. The Show will also welcome 8 brand-new major exhibitors displaying gardens at the Show for the first time. These fresh voices represent varied styles and artistic viewpoints that stem from each exhibitor’s personal and creative background. From sculptural, majestic floral design to the usage of superb low maintenance native plants in innovative configurations and layouts, each garden design reflects a unique aesthetic that will delight guests.
First time outdoors
For the first time in the Show’s 193-year history, it will be presented outdoors. Designers will take advantage and inspiration from the Show’s alfresco location in South Philadelphia’s FDR Park – a registered historical district – filled with beautiful vistas surrounding a serene lake.
In addition to the Show’s major exhibits, the Show offers dozens of additional floral and landscape gardens, educational experiences, and horticultural exhibits throughout the showgrounds of FDR Park. Visitors can learn more about plant and flower species with installations from prominent floral and plant societies or interact directly with dozens of smaller gardens that will provide beauty and additional touchpoints for interaction with guests.
Some key designers and exhibits to look for at this year’s Flower Show: upon entering the showgrounds, guests will be greeted by the work of iconic floral designer, Jeff Leatham, Artistic Director for Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. Leatham’s creations are bold statements -- using shape, color, and simplicity to produce a dramatic effect. Known for his grand, architectural floral installations that utilize thousands of flowers, he will create Jeff Leatham’s “Habitat” presented by Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. A captivating installation where nature meets architecture, this work will re-create the explosive energy and movement of overgrown vines in vibrant hues of orange and purple sculpted around the iconic columns of the Olmsted Pavilion, the iconic structure guests see as they enter the Show.
Wambui Ippolito is an established East African horticulturist and landscape designer whose style is influenced by her upbringing in the Great Rift Valley in Africa and lifelong travels. Ippolito’s show garden Etherea is inspired by memories of her childhood years in East Africa. It is a contemporary re-interpretation of the moorlands where humanity’s earliest ancestors lived and evokes light, air, and peace in nature. Ippolito is the founder of the BIPOC Hort Group, and an advocate for the recognition of the First Nations, African American, and immigrant communities' contributions to horticulture.
Patrick Cullina is a landscape designer, horticultural consultant, and photographer with a diverse portfolio of projects across the country with extensive experience designing, creating, and maintaining dynamic urban landscapes in New York City such as the High Line Park. His installation will communicate that the constructed aspects of a city do not rob it of its potential to be a landscape that is both dynamic and transformative. Utilizing spontaneous vegetation that rises through voids within the urban hardscape, this garden emphasizes the role that plants can play beyond ornamentation — whether by providing habitat for pollinators and other wildlife or by offering a host of other ecological benefits ranging from improving air quality to filtering stormwater runoff.
Balmori Associates is an NYC-based landscape/urban-design studio that produces green infrastructures that invite community interaction with space. Balmori Associates’ garden design visually references the “edge effect” -- an ecological concept that identifies greater biodiversity at the boundary between two or more different habitats. Thickening and curving of typically straight human-made boundaries will create more interaction between living things, boosting biodiversity, and will allow for new relationships between humans and nature.
Donald Pell is an international award-winning garden designer known for bold, naturalistic landscapes. This exhibit explores how we can intervene in nature to build harmonious, beautifully designed places that are integrated seamlessly within a landscape. Set inside an idealized woodland, a neatly decorated table, water feature, and bench beckon guests to come together among the flora and fauna of their own habitat to relish the beauty of nature and their place within it. The dynamic swaths of color and texture woven throughout evoke a sense of wildness while maintaining legible design and serenity.
Treeline Designz, founded by internationally renowned research scholar Iftikhar Ahmed, helps bring the natural living into the urban environment. Treeline Designz garden, “Dancing with Nature” green spatial and organic structure will be anchored by a bamboo forest that rises through natural vegetation surrounding reflection ponds. The muted colors in the outer landscape will lead into the inner peace garden, a relaxed setting for meditation and socializing, and a sanctuary for insects and birds.
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