Despite the wintry weather, the Philadelphia Flower Show opens this weekend. This year’s theme celebrates the National Parks Service, which turns 100 years old this summer. This year’s theme will look at the natural beauty, cultural beauty, and historic beauty of the parks.
The Flower Show is the biggest fund raiser of the year Pennsylvania Horticulture Society. And like spring buds that are about to bloom, the show will be first for the organization’s new president Matt Rader. His background in business and architectural history not horticulture, but that is not seen as a handicap to taking over the society
“I have been a passionate lover of landscapes and a little bit of a horticulturist most of my life,” Rader said. “As a kid, I did garden flowers and vegetables. I’ve always had an interest in landscape history and I’ve spent a lot of time in parks and gardens around the city.”
Rader, who officially took over the Society on Jan. 11, is a native of Mercersburg, PA. Prior to joining PHS, Rader served as the Executive Director of the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District from 2005-2007 before moving to Washington, D.C.’s Urban Land Institute. Rader spent the past four years as a management consultant at the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
He had to get right to work preparing for this year’s Flower Show and it’s been a sort of crash course for him. This year’s National Park theme has sparked a few memories for him.
“As a kid, we did a lot of National Park travel,” he said. “When I was in college, I was kitchen help in the Old Faithful Inn [at Yellowstone National Park]. So you’re living in a dorm behind the hotel and you go do your work in the kitchen or the dining room and after work you’re walking past Old Faithful, Morning Glory pool, and the bison.”
To hear more on Rader’s plan for the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s going forward as well as the future of the Flower Show and its community outreach, you can listen to the interview by pressing play at the top of the page.