The Philadelphia Flower Show
The Philadelphia Flower show is the oldest and largest indoor flower show in the world. This incredible show has happened every year since its start in 1829 when it introduced the poinsettia to the Western market. The Philadelphia Flower Show has a long history of horticultural prowess and is renowned the world around. It is the only major show that has anything of the scale of the Horticourt, where the public is allowed to exhibit and show their personal plants for competition and prizes. Hundreds of people from the area can exhibit their specimen plants and be judged and critiqued by the Horticourt.
Peace Tree Farm’s Involvement
Peace Tree Farm has been forcing plants for the Philadelphia Flower Show since their start in 1983. Along with forcing plants for the show, Lloyd got involved as a Passer, otherwise known as a Horticultural Gatekeeper, tasked with examining the plants entered into the Horticourt. Plants are examined for show quality, correct name, proper class, and for insects or disease prior to the show. Lloyd later became one of the chairs of passing, and now after over 10 years of service is an advisor to the Horticourt.
One year, beloved Peace Tree Dog, Little Bit, was known as “The Dog That Saved The Flower Show”. There had been a huge snowstorm that year and one greenhouse boiler had unknowingly run out of propane. The alarm system was triggered but the volume on Lloyd’s computer was too low to wake him. Enter the savior, Little Bit! Bitty relentlessly nudged Lloyd until he woke and sprang into action to fire up the second boiler saving the contents of the greenhouses on that frigid night. That year Peace Tree had a huge amount of plant material ready to go out the door in prime condition. Little Bit had saved the day and the plants!
Forcing flowers for the show is no easy feat. Clients will come to Peace Tree with a wish list of plants and specs that they want for their show designs. There are so many factors to then be considered. Is the plant material able to be sourced out of season? Does it need vernalization to flower? What day length is needed to force flowers? What type of lights – HID, LED, or regular lighting? What temperatures are needed? What about pot size, soil, fertilizer or pests? Do the plants need support or special stakes or trellises? All of this information is assessed and often comes in at the last minute. Growers and buyers scramble to get the plant material and then everything needs to be timed perfectly to be delivered on a specific day in the dead of winter! The process is simple but its also super technical and requires constant observation. The shortest, coldest time of the year, Peace Tree totally fools Mother Nature and helps to put on the Greatest Flower Show on Earth!
2023 Flower Show
In 2023, Peace Tree is growing show plants for Lower Merion Garden Club, Lakeside School, the Flower Show Central Feature, retail plants for Wedgewood Garden, and plants for Tu Bloom’s Potting Parties! This year’s theme is The Garden Electric, expect to be blown away by bright and vibrant plants and incredible designs. Be sure to visit the Horticourt to view the many incredible specimen plants in all different species and varieties. If you have a faithful pal like the late Little Bit, take them to the show with you on Fido Friday!