This year’s Philadelphia Flower Show is getting competitive with the Interflora World Cup, the biggest contest in floral design. Top designers from 23 countries will duke it out over several rounds of Chopped-style competition, tackling surprise challenges and creating over-the-top floral arrangements.
Flower Show attendees can watch as designers go head to head in challenges like creating a hand-tied bouquet or setting a table for two. California-based florist Katharina Stuart will represent the United States in the Interflora World Cup, which has been held every four to six years since 1972. This will be its first time back in the U.S. since 1985.
All of the World Cup floral creations will be on display through the duration of the Flower Show, March 2 to 10 at the Convention Center. Tickets, which are on sale online, are priced the same as last year.
Preliminary rounds of competition will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society members will get to see the competition on Friday during member preview day, while Saturday’s competition is open to the public. Ten semi-finalists will be announced at a Saturday evening reception, where they’ll be pitted against each other in surprise challenges. Five finalists will continue on to Sunday, March 3. After another round of on-the-fly arranging, the Interflora World Cup champion will be crowned.
In addition to hosting the feel-good competition, this year’s show will be anchored by the theme of “Flower Power.”
“Without saying a word, a flower can spark a smile or let someone know that you’re thinking of them,” said Sam Lemheney, chief of shows and events for PHS.
To pay tribute to the impact that flowers have on our lives, garden designers will explore flowers' ability to convey themes like community, peace, and hope. The entrance garden will feature a meadow suspended from above and floral sculptures inspired by the artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. There will also be vine sculptures decorated with 600 preserved flowers and mesh butterflies.
In line with the Flower Power theme, the show will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Beatles tribute band the Beat Tells will play at Flowers After Hours on March 2. Visitors can also partake in early morning tours and Butterflies Live, an exhibit with thousands of butterflies.
“The Flower Show is really a civilizing, lovely event,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at a news conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Wednesday. “People come in from all around the area and the country. ... We’re very proud to have it.”