-Courtesy of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
In a press conference held today at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) unveiled 5 new design concepts that will be a part of the 2023 Flower Show’s major exhibitions, showcasing large-scale gardens over 900 square feet. PHS created an art gallery experience featuring framed renderings and artistic interpretations of many of the key exhibitors among the museum’s backdrop of beautiful collections, elevating floral designers and gardeners into the realm of fine arts.
This press event was the first time that the Flower Show has released information and visuals on its exhibitors for the 2023 show, “The Garden Electric,” in addition to a video detailing the beloved PHS Entrance Garden, the majestic central feature that dazzles guests upon entrance to the Flower Show.
The Entrance Garden design this year will create a sense of mystery and intrigue with its rounded, transparent, mesh scrim that offers a fragrant hint of the opulent and lush floral world awaiting within. The silhouetted plants and flowers on the exterior of the space will invite curious guests inward, through a grey hued entrance. Once inside, guests will experience a jolt of floral magic that celebrates that unique feeling of awe, excitement, and celebration that one experiences when encountering majestic beauty. By using a mesh scrim to conceal and encapsulate the space, guests are enveloped in a 360-degree world of unique floral pairings, textures, light, fragrance, and vibrant colors; creating an immersive, sensory experience that captures the feeling of “The Garden Electric.”
For the first time in Show history, several designers have been invited to create gardens that range from 2,200 – 2,900 square feet, the largest gardens ever seen at the event. This creative direction continues the immersive experience of the previous two outdoor Flower Shows, enveloping guests in a 360-degree floral world that can be experienced from multiple viewpoints. This year’s artists hail from around the globe featuring notable up-and-coming designers as well as established industry veterans known for shaping the industry.
PHS also unveiled artist details for the Flower Show’s musical festival component, curated by Philadelphia-based musical group, SNACKTIME. Guests can look forward to lively musical performances throughout the Flower Show’s run from DJ Aktive, artists from RECPhilly, Zeek Burse, and many others. In addition, students from the School District of Philadelphia will perform on the Flower Show’s special family-centric day, Family Frolic.
In its return indoors, and for the first time, the Flower Show will adopt the concept of a winding promenade. This guided path is a departure from how all previous Shows have been laid out, creating a lush, self-guided experience for guests to view and engage with stunning gardens and flowers up close.
“This year, we’re working hard to create a cohesive and fully immersive experience for our Flower Show attendees. Design choices are intentionally being made to mimic the feel of being outdoors in nature by creating larger displays that surround guests, and our lineup of exhibitors is incredible,” said PHS Creative Director, Seth Pearsoll. “Every exhibitor is creating a unique, spectacular interpretation of the ‘Garden Electric’ theme, filled with bold color and interesting design elements that will really captivate our guests while the promenade-style path ensures that all visitors can closely enjoy these stunning works of art.”
The exhibitor lineup for 2023 will place special emphasis on representation of garden and landscape designers of varied backgrounds, experiences, and specialties, offering them a platform to make their unique artistic voices heard.
“The Garden Electric” will also feature design categories for highly skilled, non-professionals including several competitive categories such as: windowsill decoration, doorway decoration, miniature floral design, floral arrangements, pressed plants, botanical jewelry, and more. These non-professional displays are one of the trademarks of the Flower Show’s long legacy of showcasing the innovative and inspired designs of passionate gardeners, florists, and artists, and blue ribbons are awarded to the top participants in each category.
The PHS Hamilton Horticourt will also return this year in a new, central location within the show’s layout, allowing Show attendees to easily peruse the myriad of award-winning plants and flowers entered into PHS’s competitive classes. This year’s Horticourt will house new competitive class entrants for categories such as forced cut branches, citrus, and several new classes in arrangements, including a new invitational class that will invite top floral designers to compete.
In addition, there will be dozens of additional artistic, floral-inspired displays for guests to peruse.
Below is a short list of do-not-miss designers this year.
Black Girl Florists Network
Among the lineup of renowned exhibitors, is the Black Girl Florists network, led by Valerie Cristostomo, and including Alexis Christine of Flowers by Alexis, Leneille Moon of Special Event Factory, and Rashawn Scarbo of Bloom Bold Co. This network was created to support and celebrate black women in floristry, and the group offers workshops, group training sessions, and more to deliver on this impactful mission. They’ll be bringing “The Garden Electric” to life with an exhibit that draws inspiration from their own unity as black florists, illustrating that together, they contribute to the growth and sustainability of their presence in the floral industry. The exhibit will feature an array of vibrantly colored florals reflective of the theme, lighting elements, and large-scale barrels brimming with stunning flowers pouring into a 10-ft. tree.
Ill Exotics, a boutique shop based in Philadelphia and specializing in uncommon plants from aroids to orchids and captive-bred fauna, will create “Studio Exotica” a Studio-54 inspired disco completely taken over by tropical foliage and flowers, complete with a floral DJ, bartender, and dancers. This exciting exhibit will capture the electric feeling we get when we’re enveloped by beautiful flowers and gardens, as well as the electric connection we have to music.
Newfields led by Jonathan Wright
Renowned and esteemed designer Jonathan Wright, Director of The Garden and Fairbanks Park at Newfields, will be exhibiting this year for the first time. Known as a gardening tastemaker in the field of public gardens for his creative design sensibility and elegant, yet contemporary approach, guests can anticipate a breathtaking 360-degree, mixed-media installation featuring projections, music, and florals reminiscent of immersive art shows. Wright will encourage guests to experience “The Garden Electric” using multiple senses for a sumptuous experience.
Harijanto Setiawan, a recipient of the Designer of the Year Award in 2013 by the President of Singapore, is an architect-turned-florist and founder of Boenga floral studio. He has worked with high-end clients such as Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Swarovski, Manolo Blahnik, and Audi, uniting floral design, architecture, and high fashion. Look forward to innovative and architectural floral sculptures that will captivate lovers of decadent and imaginative design.
Treeline Designz, led by Iftikhar Ahmed, will bring to life a concept that pays tribute to children facing war in Ukraine. This exhibit sheds light on Ukrainian children who have been uprooted from their homes and exposed to war. Ahmed believes that garden and landscape design can contribute to making the world a more livable, equitable, resilient, and just place. His exhibit will use locally-grown trees and plants to envision a magical, twinkling fairy house, home to the Peace Fairy, who watches over and protects all children.
Apiary Studio, a landscape architecture, design/build, and experimental horticulture firm, will return to the Flower Show for the second time this year with an exhibit that explores themes of duality and contrast. Known for their use of unconventional building materials and adaptive reuse of urban decay, Apiary Studio’s exhibit will showcase how gardens can be transformed at different times of the day by focusing on night gardens and using plants that are activated at night with color and scent.
Susan Cohan Gardens
Renowned garden and landscape designer Susan Cohan, named “Designer of the Year in 2021” by The Association of Professional Landscape Designers, will also return to the Flower Show in 2023. Her firm’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that thoughtful and responsibly designed landscapes enhance our lives. Cohan will celebrate the joy and exuberance we feel at the start of spring. Through utilizing a variety of spring ephemerals, a suspended interactive swing, and spiral motifs, Cohan will invoke the blissfulness of a spring day.
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