Philadelphia Flower Show 2017

The 188th Philadelphia Flower Show opens to the public today and runs to March 19th.  This year’s theme is “Holland: Flowering the World”, celebrating the beauty of the Dutch landscape, the beloved Dutch contributions to the botanical world and highlights the country’s technological advances in green energy, starting with windmills. The show is spectacular.  Set on 10 indoor acres, it is the largest indoor flower show in the world.  Proceeds from the show support the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society urban tree planting programs and City Harvest which grows and supplies food to the underprivileged.

Starting with a rainbow of more than 30 thousand tulips and other bulbs running in carpets, the entrance display recreates the iconic bridges and winding canals of Amsterdam and Delft.  Some bridges are covered in Delft tile with lighting changing from day to night.  Throughout the week of the show every bulb will be replaced with fresh ones, ensuring that no matter when you come, the show will be at prime viewing enjoyment.

A floating canopy of over 6,000 cut roses, hydrangeas and yarrow hung on 16 miles of precisely cut and color coordinated string conjure the endless flower fields in changing color gradients growing throughout Holland. It is nothing short of spectacular and truly captures the wonder of seeing those miles and miles of flower fields in the Netherlands.


Illuminated windmills, many covered in blooms and underplanted with splashy floral displays capture the imagination throughout the show grounds.  Some were functional and life size while others served as garden art the home gardener could duplicate.

Clever bicycle art delights, paying homage to the Dutch bike share program which spurred the world wide movement.  At every corner bicycle parts are turned into fountains, flower containers, stylish fences, garden art and cool bridges.  Gorgeous floral arrangements are created in bicycle paniers and although the bike theme was very prominent in the show, it brought creative whimsy that was fun to behold and was not overdone.

This retaining wall made out of seashells was a stunner and a nod to the Netherlands’ seaside geography.

Green roofs and vertical wall gardens were inspiring examples of urban and green gardening, some were even planted entirely with edible plants, like lettuce!

Even an alley way with its edgy graffiti art was on display.

Even some PHS volunteers were in their finest Dutch-inspired garden hats!

One of the Netherland’s most famous landscape architects, Nico Wissing, designed a showstopping display of woven willow branches creating a continuous outdoor wonderland of pergolas, benches, hammocks and giant birdnest large enough for humans to snuggle in.  Ingenious!

Little Dutch village scenes appeared as charming backdrops in many displays.

Tablescapes were enchanting and spectacular.

The pressed plant artwork was worth a closer look.  Entries from around the world were absolutely breathtaking and illustrated scenes from Dutch life. I  found it hard to choose just  3 examples to share. Pardon the glare from their glass fronts. Aren’t these amazing?

The orange color of the Dutch royal family was peppered throughout the show in subtle displays.   This tablescapes was one of my favorites.

This clever towering tree was created by bunched up fabric/paper/moss and was underplanted with picnic baskets and bicycles overflowing with flower arrangements.

Very modern floral arrangements of Delft blue flowers featured the namesake pottery in decidedly non traditional ways!  Did you know the Dutch are leaders in cutting edge modern floral design?

Designers from England, Canada and the US showcased their creativity in designing dozens of floral “fascinators” on the same mannequin heads.

The entrance display was dramatically illuminated for night time as I left, the bright red lights a subtle nod to Amsterdam’s red light district perhaps?

All good things must come to an end and even on the way out of the show, there were dozens of fantastic floral displays such as this one along the corridor  of classrooms, restaurants and shops.

Congratulations to PHS organizers and the multitude of talented designers for creating this terrific show.  Holland has indeed flowered the world and what a debt of gratitude we owe this wonderful country for the horticultural beauty and innovativeness they have shared with the world.  The pictures reallly don’t do the show justice.  If you can make it, come and be swept off your feet in person.  If you don’t live near Philadelphia, consider travelling to a future show!  The 2018 theme has just been announced and will be “Wonders of Water”.  The 2018 show will return to the first week of March 3-11.  Can’t wait.

Holland:  Flowering the World runs to March 19th.

17 thoughts on “Philadelphia Flower Show 2017

  1. Beautiful! Stunning flowers, and I love all of the bikes and bike parts 🙂
    And the huge wooden clogs – when I left Holland, in 1981, everyone in my class at school signed a wooden clog for me and I still have it 🙂 x

  2. Johanne I was so disappointed that I couldn’t get to the flowers show this year because I’ll be out in CA. Your photographs are stunning and I feel like I’ve actually been there, without the fabulous fragrance of course. I can’t wait to show these to my mom when I see her. Thank you!

    • Hi Lorelei, So sorry you’ll miss the show but happy I could transport you there for a bit of a visit. It really was a wonderful show. Enjoy the visit with your mom. Give her my regards too. I feel I know her.☀🌸🌺

      Johanne Lamarche


  3. Hi Johanne,
    These photos are spectacular and a great preview of what we will see tomorrow.
    Going with some Dutch friends from Maryland, go orange!
    Thanks for your posting, always interesting and informative.

    • I’m so glad you will take the show in in person Trudy! Let me know what your Dutch friends think. They should be proud of their country! Although there was some Mondrian art in the displays, I found very few VanGogh references. I was surprised…irises, sunflowers, starry night could have all inspired a display.

      Johanne Lamarche


  4. This is simply incredible Johanne! I can’t imagine the hours it took to create, install and maintain this installation! How long did you stay, it looks like it went on and on forever! I LOVE all the crazy painted bicycle fun throughout, and the dramatic presentations of plants and flowers. So fabulous, I really am speechless…thank you for sharing, I’m going back for another look 😊

    • So glad you enjoyed the tour Jenna! As a creative person, you would be blown away by the creativity and talent that goes into planning this show year after year. Next year the theme will be Wonders of Water. It should be good. You’re invited!

      Johanne Lamarche


  5. Each year you post about this I can just smell all that oxygen as I breathe. Flower shows and especially this one obviously make me antsy for Spring. Great photos Johanne. Thanks for sharing this with me.

    • So glad you enjoyed my annual tour of the show. You would have especially loved this Dutch-themed one Teresa! You have a standing invitation to come to Philly for the show in person anytime.

      Johanne Lamarche


  6. Johanne,
    You have taken some fantastic photos of Holland Flowering the World. Made me want to be there to see the show in person and smell the flowers. Many of these would be beautiful enlarged and hanging in your home to continue to enjoy. We went to the Keukenhof last spring, and seeing these pictures have brought back many memories. I planted bulbs we ordered from there and are waiting for them to bloom. Do you make the photo cards like Dona does? This collection of pictures would make an outstanding set to use for all occasions.
    I shared your site with a few of my flower loving friends and they were amazed. My one friend Elaine is also my art teacher at the University of Pittsburgh. She asked how I knew you and if I would ask for your permission to use a couple in class for watercolor painting. We often paint from personal photos or from images on the internet.
    Thank you for sharing the show with others.

    • Hi Marlene! So glad you enjoyed the show through my eyes! I don’t make photo cards like Dona but sure enjoy hers. I have been the lucky recipient of some of your creations on occasion and always admire your work. I would be honored to have your class use some of my photos for your class. I just returned from Minneapolis where I took a 3 day class in cold wax/oil painting. A whole new medium to explore! Wasn’t Keukenhof just breathtaking? I was there a few years ago and it was totally amazing. So. Ice to hear from you Marlene. Regards to John.

      Sent from my iPhone


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