The annual Philadelphia Flower Show runs every year, usually in the month of March.
The show is the largest and longest running horticultural event and includes 10 acres of extravagant displays, botanical crafts and eco-gardening demonstrations.
One year's theme was Holland, so there were lots of tulips, windmills, bridges and bicycles. Flowers were hanging from the ceiling and exploding from the heads of statues. Innovations in music and lighting play a prominent role in these stunning installations. The fragrant scent of millions of flowers creates an otherworldly intoxication.
It's a wonderland of colors and smells.
Philadelphia Horticultural Society Cares For the Land
Each year, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) raises more than 1 million dollars through attendance at this grand event. The funds support the Society's LandCare program, which, with the help of more than hundreds of volunteers, builds and maintains community gardens. The PHS also plants trees and landscapes all over the city, including empty lots. A global beautification of Philadelphia is the result; a city full of inspiring murals and urban farms in neighborhoods that decades ago suffered from urban blight.
Longwood Gardens' Orchid Show
Every spring, Philadelphia transforms into a cacophony of blooms; the city is called America's Garden Capital because there are 30 renowned outdoor gardens getting ready to bloom. Just outside Philadelphia is the renowned Longwood Gardens. The landscape designers just completed a $90 million dollar renovation of its outdoor water features. The Main Fountain Garden is 25 acres of dazzling fountain jets and streams, surrounded by handpainted Italian limestone and decorative boxwood. Summer Spectacle runs through the summer, but during colder times stay warm inside the huge Conservatory featuring millions of colorful, fragrant orchids.
Bites to Eat
Philly is a fabulous town for gardening enthusiasts, whether they love raising flowers or vegetables, and there are dozens of farm to table restaurants that showcase locally grown produce and products from nearby Pennsylvania farms. Philadelphia is a serious foodie town, and always has been. Philly chefs are typically adventurous, and their diners encourage them to create their own take on international cuisine. Some have moved into older neighborhoods and infused new life into them. One example is Noord Eetcafe, with Chef/Owner Joncarl Lachman at the helm. This Scandinavian-inspired restaurant makes clever plays on smoked fish, root vegetables and all kinds of seafood. The sauces and accompaniments of caviar and fresh herbs will make you sit up and take notice of every bite. Then there's the historic suburban town of Chestnut Hill in Philly's Garden District. Make a reservation to dine at Mica Restaurant, where young chef Yianni Arhontoulis is running the show in a romantic historic townhouse. Arhontoulis was trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and serves a six course tasting menu. Yianni takes traditional American dishes and elevates them into condensed bites of flavor. Both Mica and Noord restaurants are BYOB style, which is pretty interesting, and a nice way to save money when dining out.
Where to Stay in Philly
So, it's not too late to make a pilgrimage to Philadelphia for the Flower Show. But if you miss it this year, there's always next. Plan to book your hotel in advance though, and I recommend staying at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. It's right across the street from the Flower Show and Reading Terminal Market. If you can't make it for the Flower Show, a trip to Philly is always an excellent destination for garden and food lovers.