Philadelphia Flower Show will stay outside in 2022

Jeff Leatham’s “Habitat” at the 2021 Flower Show

Jeff Leatham’s “Habitat” at the 2021 Flower Show at FDR Park in South Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The Philadelphia Flower Show will be back in FDR Park next June.

This makes 2022 the second consecutive year that the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society show will be held outdoors at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park (aka The Lakes) in South Philadelphia. The show has always been held indoors since 1892, and only moved outdoors for the first time last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PHS announced the outdoor show 10 months in advance because growers need time to start preparing plants now for next year’s show, which will run from June 11 to 19.

“If we were going to go back inside the [Pennsylvania] Convention Center, those decisions had to be made now. The plants are collected and selected and put in greenhouses, and forced into bloom in March,” said Sam Lemheney, chief of shows and events at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. “We knew there were just too many uncertainties and too many unknowns with regards to COVID at this point to go back inside.”

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Lemheney said this year’s Flower Show was a success, albeit with some first-time hiccups to be ironed out next time around, particularly around parking and traffic.

“I think if you go on social media, anybody can know that the parking and traffic were a little bit of an issue this year for us — some people would say a lot of an issue for us,” he said. “That’s the one area that I can talk about right now that I know we’re going to improve and definitely do different things to make [it] that much easier to get in and out of the flower show.”

The 2022 Flower Show is still in the early stages of planning, with more details forthcoming. The theme, “In Full Bloom,” will spotlight the healing and therapeutic qualities of flowers and gardening.

“The Horticultural Society has always known that plants and flowers and gardening can increase the health and well-being of everybody that becomes involved with gardening,” said Lemheney, pointing to a new survey by the National Gardening Association that shows 18.3 million Americans gardened for the first time during the pandemic.

“There’s a lot of people during the pandemic that turned to gardening and turned to plants to help them get through, to decrease their stress levels, to get them outside, to get them in touch with nature,” he said.

This year, PHS worked with Friends of FDR Park to make improvements to the grounds in preparation for the event, including extensive tree pruning, fertilizing, and sod grass repair. Lemheney said he will again consult with Friends of FDR to plan improvements around next year’s show in accordance with the park’s long-range plan.

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