Famed Flower Show Blooms Outdoors This Year With ‘Habitat’

'Habitat Nature's Masterpiece' is the theme of the Philadelphia Flower Show
‘Habitat Nature’s Masterpiece’ is the theme of the Philadelphia Flower Show

Held outdoors for the first time in its 193 year history, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s Flower Show debuted with an explosion of color and large-scale architectural floral installations at FDR Park in Philadelphia. Where nature meets architecture, or Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece, is the overall theme and will be held June 4 through June 13 and is a great day trip post-COVID.

FDR Park

FDR Park

FDR Park – a registered historical district – is composed of several lakes and wetlands, historical buildings, baseball fields, recreational areas, and is known as one of the best places in Philadelphia for bird watching – mainly waterfowl. Designed by Olmstead, famed American landscape architect, the grounds is also home to the Swedish American Museum, which was a unexpected nice surprise.

Exhibits at The American Swedish Museum

Plants Galore!

Traditionally held at the Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia in late February and early March, June is at the height of the gardening season presents visitors with an entirely new palette of plants. Bulbs, spring flowering trees, and other forced perennials were on view in March, but changing the venue and time of year opened up new opportunities for more expansive layouts and horticultural varieties.

A wider variety of plant species were on view
Many native plants were used in the exhibits
Native Spigelia marilandica

Offering new more seasonal experiences, low maintenance native plants, and increased diversity of plants were the most welcome change for me. Salvias, Penstemons, Lavender, Alliums, and other natives were in full bloom.

Penstemons were blooming everywhere

Large Exhibits

Spanning 15 acres of FDRs 300+ acres, Jeff Leatham, Artistic Director of the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris, creations are well known for his bold statements-using color, shape, and simplicity to produce a dramatic effect. Exploring the beauty of life through nature’s kaleidoscope, there are 29 signature, large scale floral and garden exhibits that premiered.

The historic gazebo was one of the signature large scale displays
‘Habitat’ is themed throughout the show

Featuring three unique districts- Design, Plant, and Garden – that focus on the gardening interests of enthusiasts at all skill levels, there were also lots of themed food and beverage options that were absent at the Convention Center. Since the show is so big, I never felt crowded or rushed. But with the onset of a thunderstorm, I had to run for shelter – a downside of any outdoor venue. But the show goes on, rain or shine, and the planners looked at Farmers Almanacs to find the summer week with the least precipitation. But the weather was very hot and humid and I was glad for any shade!

Rooted + Garden by Camellia Faire- A feast table for woodland natives

An increase of 45% of space from previous Convention shows, a full day can easily be spent strolling through the exhibits and shopping the garden-related vendors. Boasting more garden displays – 75- more than any other year, many people thought that there were too many vendors and not enough displays. But I think it was a factor of being so spread out in FDR Park.

Hamilton Horticourt


Large fans kept things cool in the heat at the Hamilton Horticourt

Inside the plant district, you’ll find a curated version of the Horticourt, the show’s annual competition that features prized plants of local gardeners and apartment windowsill tenders. Plants in their prime are displayed individually, designed to inspire and educate you about what you can grow in your own home.

Windowsills, balconies, miniature settings, terrariums, and botanical illustration was on display at the Hamilton Horticourt in a large tent, where many people went when it rained. There was a much smaller selection o exhibits from previous years because of space constraints.

A miniature setting of a jungle scene
Description of the miniature setting


Balcony at Hamilton Horticourt

Honeybee Display

I am a beekeeper, so of course I gravitated to this display by Renee Tucci on honeybees.

Beehive bursting with flowers
Amazing facts about bees were on display

8 Replies to “Famed Flower Show Blooms Outdoors This Year With ‘Habitat’”

  1. I loved this years Phila. Flower show. I don’t think you could have ever fit all the displays, plant vendors, & food trucks into that convention center! Plus, the displays were so grand & yet natural due to being outside in a natural setting. Well organized, nice lunch bags we enjoyed, shady grove to eat…plus air conditioned job Johnny’s!!! What more could you ask for? Sue from Lancaster county.

  2. Can’t thank you enough, Claire, for posting the great pictures and blog on the Philadelphia Flower Show. I enjoyed this one very much, especially since I did not have the opportunity to attend. The possibilities must be endless when displays are outside! Thank you so much.

  3. Claire, another great job at capturing the essence of an event. Your photos really do justice to the exhibits. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: