2012 Flower Show brings wave of changes, unexpected vistas of Hawaii

PHILADELPHIA (December 2011 ) –  In 2012, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will take visitors on a trip to a whole new Philadelphia International Flower Show.

Guests will have fun, learn more, and be wowed by real-time floral competitions, the world’s largest lettuce wall, internationally renowned speakers, and a whole new layout of displays. They will also navigate the Show and take home ideas on the new Mobile Application. The Flower Show App for Smartphone users will provide free maps, schedules, special offers, Show features, and parking advice.

The new vibe of the Show will be most evident in the themed gardens. “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha,” this year’s rallying theme, will introduce a tropical experience that blends next-stage digital technology with the natural beauty and rich culture of the islands, and so much more.

This is not your grandmother’s Flower Show … but she’s going to love it!

Known as the Nation’s Flower Show, this year’s presentation will take place March 4-11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Breaking from tradition and moving in new directions is exactly what PHS President Drew Becher had in mind when he challenged designers to take the 2012 Show exhibits to new heights.

“This is a Show that will appeal to anyone who enjoys excitement, fantastic design, and a full-tilt experience,” Becher said. “Whether you’re a Show veteran or a first-timer, you’ve never seen a Flower Show like this.” 

Working with creative wizards from Klip Collective and GMR Design, Flower Show Executive Director Sam Lemheney tapped into new motion graphics to magically transform waterfalls into lava flows and sculptural forms into breaking waves. As visitors enter the halls, they will be transported to a new world, one with a multi-dimensional sensory experience amid a canopy of tropical flowers that rivals the Pacific paradise.

“This unique opportunity to partner with PHS at the Hawaii-themed Flower Show will provide the Hawaiian Islands a chance to showcase our beautiful flora and fauna,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “We look forward to sharing the natural beauty of our islands, as well as our Hawaiian culture and the aloha spirit of our people, on the East Coast. The week of events will expose attendees to the richness and diversity of Hawaii, and we hope they are encouraged to visit us after experiencing and learning about our special place.”

The 2012 Flower Show will unveil an expanded Designer’s Studio, a venue devoted to the introduction of flower varieties and inspiring designs. Daily competitions by professional and amateur flower arrangers will be critiqued on the spot by judges and audience members. This participatory attraction will put the REAL in reality programming.

The artistic entries of local amateur designers will surround the Designer’s Studio. The popular pressed plants, miniatures, and floral designs will go with the Hawaii flow, with titles such as Blue Lagoon, Diamond Head, Surf’s Up and Island Vibe.

Gardeners of all skill levels will find an ocean of ideas in the free lectures and demonstrations on topics such as lei-making and quilting, green roofs and walls, organic gardening, vegetables, edible landscapes, native plants, tree and lawn care, and ornamental horticulture.

But the Flower Show attracts non-gardeners as well as people of all ages who enjoy a host of activities designed for individual appeal. Every day, the Show will come to life with hula, music and fire dancing performances, a Family Lounge of children’s activities, and a “man cave” filled with all the trappings of a happy hideaway. These features and free wine and spirits tastings are held daily. At night, a variety of special events invite distinct audiences to join in the fun: Monday is LGBT Night, bridal parties should check out Wedding Wednesday, Thursday is Girls’ Night Out, and Mothers and Daughters will be invited to celebrate with the Philadelphia affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Friday. Family Day on the final Sunday will be a great way to introduce the young ones to the world of gardening. Some events require reservations, so please checktheflowershow.com for details.

The 2012 Flower Show also will pay tribute to the talents of the people of Hawaii in the Hawaii Village, which will offer demonstrations, crafts and merchandise in the Grand Hall. Shop for handmade, natural items for home and garden.

“Interactive and experiential is the goal of the 2012 Flower Show,” said Lemheney. “Visitors will be completely immersed in this once-in-a-lifetime presentation. They will feel like they are walking across the beaches, rainforests and mountains of the Hawaiian Islands.”

Guests will enter the 2012 Flower Show beneath dynamic projections of crashing waves and one of the largest and most exciting displays of white orchids and anthuriums ever assembled. Towering palms, bamboo, green walls, and a tropical plant canopy will immerse visitors in the Hawaiian rainforest.  A 25-foot-high waterfall will splash down into Pele’s Garden, an island of exotic flowers and plants where performers will conjure volcanic flames and the Fire Goddess.  Waldor Orchids will bring decades of floral expertise to the creation of Pele’s Garden.

The islands will be celebrated in showcase gardens that highlight their culture through flowers and landscapes, performances and art.

The American Institute of Floral Designers, including members from Hawaii, will create a floral interpretation of the hula, the traditional dance of native Hawaiians in which every movement has a meaning. Robertson’s Flowers will stage a destination wedding on the beach with flower arrangements designed for a honeymoon in paradise.

Stoney Bank Nurseries will carry Flower Show visitors to the paniolo – the Hawaiian cowboy culture – with a ranch-house setting and stands of island crops: pineapple, taro and sugar cane. The wave-riding culture of Hawaii will mellow out in an upscale, fantasy surfers’ retreat created by Burke Brothers Landscape Contractors. Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens will explore the other-worldly island landscapes of rock formations, mountains, deserts and dry-land forests that form a “Garden of the Gods.”

Other major exhibits will include floral volcanoes, cut-bamboo designs, surf shacks, Hawaiian vistas, and a tribute to the memorial garden at Pearl Harbor.

The culinary experience at the 2012 Flower Show will include a new guest chef, celebrities, a Hawaii-themed VIP restaurant at the center of the exhibition hall, and special Hawaii cocktails at the beverage stations. Additional presentations will include farm-to-table and healthy cooking in the culinary room.

Visitors can take it all home from the Show Marketplace, Flower Show Shop and Meadowbrook Farm Store. A new Green aisle in the Marketplace will feature sustainable products for home and garden, in addition to the more than 180 specialty shops that fill the bustling Hall C adjacent to the Show gardens.

            Revenues from the Flower Show benefit the year-round work of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and this year will support City Harvest, the innovative program that brings together a network of urban farmers, provides green job training, and grows fresh produce for more than 1,000 families in need each week.

            The Premier Sponsor of the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show is Subaru of America. Official Sponsors include Acme, Bank of America, Bartlett Tree Experts, Colonial Williamsburg, EP Henry, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Mantis and Tourism Ireland.

For information and to purchase tickets for the Flower Show, visit theflowershow.com. For behind-the-scenes stories and previews of the Show, visit the Flower Show Blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.

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