More women than ever exhibiting at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Jackie Small (left) and Miriam Singer of Philly DIY Wedding weave flower crowns during a preview of the Philadelphia Flower Show at FDR Park. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Jackie Small (left) and Miriam Singer of Philly DIY Wedding weave flower crowns during a preview of the Philadelphia Flower Show at FDR Park. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Visitors to the Philadelphia Flower Show, opening this weekend in FDR Park, will see a spiraling mediation pool, a grand tribute to mushrooms, and a floral dance floor.

If they look more closely, they will also see that many of the designers are women. The Flower Show has more women designers this year than ever in its 195 years. Of more than 40 major exhibitors, which include displays between 1,000 and 2,500 square feet by individual designers and institutions, 13 are led by women.

They include urban designer Martha Schwartz, florist Jennifer Designs of Mullica Hill, NJ, Ann Marie Powell of Southern England, and Wambui Ippolito, a Kenya-born, New York-based horticulturist.

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“The last couple of years our team has really been taking inclusion pretty seriously,” said Seth Pearsoll, the show’s director of design. “It’s something that we are going to be doing in perpetuity from here on out. We started it last year. We’re just going to continue it and keep working and making sure we curate the show with those priorities in mind.”

Pearsoll said the increasing number of women participants is not accidental. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has been proactively seeking more diverse exhibitors by forging relationships with a wider circle of florists, gardeners, and landscape designers.

“I’m not ashamed to say that we comb social media religiously and rigorously,” he said. “It really has become a valuable tool of curation.”

The Flower Show runs through Sunday, June 19.

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