Make mulch, not war: Philadelphia Flower Show to spread ‘Flower Power’

Sam Lemheney, chief of shows at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, announced the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show's theme,

Sam Lemheney, chief of shows at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, announced the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show's theme, "Flower Power" on Jan. 16. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

The annual Philadelphia Flower Show is coming up in about six weeks, to remind us that spring is around the corner.

Because 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is taking cues from 1960s hippie culture, adopting the theme “Flower Power.”

The grand entrance to the Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center this year will borrow from the 1960s Pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. However, the bulk of the show will be about the emotional and social power of flowers.

“If you think about the PHS mission, using horticulture and flowers to connect people and communities, that really is the power of flowers,” said Sam Lemheney, chief of events at Horticultural Society.

“It’s going to have healing power, power of celebration, emotional connection, communicating, economic power,” said Lemheney, who runs the show. “Think of countries whose economy is based on flowers, like the Netherlands.”

During the Flower Show, opening March 2, the Horticultural Society will roll out a 10-year strategic plan, which will focus more of its gardening resources toward improving communities.

“Over the next 10 years, we’re trying to focus and say there are really four drivers of community health we want to work on,” said Matt Rader, PHS president. “Quality of the living environment, access to economic opportunity, access to healthy food, and connections to one another.”

The upcoming Flower Show will also be the site of the FTD World Cup. It will be the first time in three decades that the prestigious, international flower design competition will be in the United States.

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