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The Philadelphia Flower Show and Our Youth Gardeners

The Philadelphia International Flower Show is “the nation’s largest and longest running horticultural event.” Even after a tumultuous year like we have just had, The Flower Show has found a way to make it happen and will for the first time be spread across both outdoor and indoor areas “that will incorporate the beautiful landscape of FDR Park in Philadelphia.”

This year's Pressed Flower Pieces

2021, theme "Ant Farm"

(Top, left to right) Maggie, James

(Bottom, left to right) Chloe, Kimmi

While the gorgeous large scale arrangements dominate both the scene and your senses, we have always been pulled to a smaller section of the show, The Youth Gardeners Pressed Flowers. Set in small 8x10 inch frames, these intricate pieces show the creativity, devotion, and incredible attention to detail that these talented students are able to capture and render by only using pressed flowers.

Each year the flower show is given a theme, that theme is boiled down into a singular category in which all the pressed flower pieces must be centered around. The Flower Show theme for this year is Habitat which was translated to "Ant Farm, Ants are Industrious Farmers and Pollinators, Show them at Work" for the Youth Gardeners to create within. Most years, students are given a few months to bring their flower visions to life, this year, they were only given 1 month!

2017, theme "Holland"

(Left to right) Kendall, Lyndsey, Anthony

2018, theme "Water You Doing?"

(Left to right) Lily, Tyson, Kendall, Robin, Mairi

What does the process look like from the student's perspective?

It all begins with an idea, just as any artwork would. The students trace out the allotted size in their sketchbook and get to work dreaming up an idea. That is about where the similarities with classical mediums stop, from here, things completely change!

Drawing out the idea is one thing, thinking about how to manipulate, cut, and lay down fragile flower petals and leaves is another. Students continue the process by looking at flower colors and determine their color palette. Some years the color palette is easier than others, in years such as this, with the focus on Ants, students got creative with the colors because no dyed flowers are allowed.

So, the idea is set, the flowers are picked, now the real work begins. Using tools such as; an E-Acto pen, toothpicks, small cutting board, and incredibly tiny dots of glue, they get to work! Each piece placed down matters, no glue is allowed to show which makes the tiniest pieces even more impressive. The intricacy and the detail they are able to create is mind blowing, especially when you again consider the fragility of the medium they are creating within.

What does the show look like?

Each and every year, the students of The Art Studio show their dedication to their practice and put forward ideas that think and push outside the box. That is evident throughout the creative process, in the work that is on display, and on the ribbons students continue to be awarded each year.

Check out the pictures below to see what the show has looked like in past years.

2019, theme "Pow! Inspired by Pop Art"

(Top, left to right) Lily, Danny

(Middle, left to right) Abby, Anthony

(Bottom, left to right) Mairi, Emilia, Maya

As a further testament to the work students created this year, all 4 student entries were accepted during the juried entrance for the Youth Gardeners Pressed Flowers. This means that students entered into the competition with the understanding that their hard work may not make the initial cut. Each student's perseverance and attention to detail so rightfully secured them a place within the show.

In a year where limitations have been placed on nearly everything we do, these incredibly talented students proved those limitations were nothing more than a pebble in their path.

2016, theme "National Parks"

(Top, left to right) Lyndsey, Madeline, Anthony, Chloe, Mairi

(Bottom, left to right) Lillian, Georgia, Erika, Kendall, Tricialyn

Time to head into Philadelphia: How to see the student work

To view Chloe, Maggie, James, and Kimmi’s Pressed Flower pieces in person, you can purchase your tickets by clicking on this link;

Once in the show, you can use the map below or click on it to open a link which will guide you around the Flower Show.

Have you ever been to the Philadelphia International Flower Show? If so, what is your favorite part?

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