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“Flower Power” - A Groovy Week at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

As the Public Relations Intern for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, I spent my spring break enjoying “Flower Power” every day! For 10 days, I traveled from campus to the Convention Center every morning and witnessed the behind-the-scenes and execution of one of Philadelphia’s largest and most beloved events, The Philadelphia Flower Show. The Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s longest-running horticultural event and raises funds for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to continue their mission of gardening for the greater good. Every day at the Convention Center surprised me and had new experiences, new people to meet and new sights to see.

A section of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's exhibit.

Over 245,000 people attended the Show this year and witnessed the beautiful ‘60s-themed exhibits and FTD World Cup entries, a design competition that showcases the most talented floral designers from around the globe. Returning to the United States for the first time since 1985, the intense competition was incredible to watch up-close. Each designer created something beautiful and diverse. Since an international event was held at the Show, a great deal of international media came to cover it. I had the opportunity to put my global communication skills to the test through working with international media: answering their questions, making sure they had press passes and simply helping them in any way necessary.

Per Benjamin, the 2002 FTD Winner, and Alicia Vitarelli, 6ABC, hosted the competition right on the Show floor.

The second visitors walked into the entrance garden, they were transported back to the era of peace and love through classic ‘60s music playing, the Woodstock-inspired exhibits, the colorful hanging meadow and the elaborate colors and smells filling the room. The most popular exhibit was “Woodstock…A Renewal of Vows” created by Robertson’s Flowers in Glenside, PA. With the LOVE sign recreated, a peace sign made out of bright flowers, a “Flower Power” automobile and photos straight from Woodstock, this piece was a popular photo spot for many visitors.

One of my main responsibilities as the PR intern was overseeing and managing the Media Tent, where members of the media can check in, hang their coats and relax during a long day of covering the Show. My job was to schedule volunteers to work shifts at the Tent and make sure everything ran smoothly the week of the Show. Said volunteers helped answer the media’s questions and any general questions attendees asked. This experience allowed me to network with professionals in my field, as many who volunteered are members of PPRA. I also honed my customer service skills and bonded with members of the press.

My favorite part about my experience at the Flower Show was meeting and interviewing the incredibly talented designers behind the exhibits and entries in the Design Gallery. It was an honor to hear their fascinating stories on the inspirations behind their designs, why they participate in the Flower Show and what “Flower Power” means to them. During the week of the Show, I wrote two blogs for the PHS website featuring these amazing stories: Cultivating Young Gardeners and Hip Hobbies: ‘60s Themes in the Design Gallery.

Robertson's Flowers' popular exhibit "Woodstock…A Renewal of Vows".

Overall, my experience working at the Philadelphia Flower Show was everything I hoped for and so much more. I will forever cherish the lessons I learned, the connections I made, the once-in-a-lifetime events I attended, the friendships that blossomed and the beautiful sights I got to see every single day. Flower Power forever!

This blog post was written by Caitlin Gemmi, Digital Publications Editor.

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