The Philadelphia Flower Show will channel the South of France in February 2020, complete with gardens full of palm and olive trees imported from California; lavender and rosemary bushes that will tickle visitors’ noses; and colorful geraniums and prickly cacti meant to evoke the warm, sunny summers of the Riviera.
The “Riviera Holiday”-themed show runs Feb. 29 to March 8.
This year’s show will also honor the late Princess Grace of Monaco, a Philadelphia native and Flower Show fan. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has partnered with the principality of Monaco and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to honor the legacy of the former Grace Kelly, who loved gardening and pressing flowers. She even judged for the Flower Show in 1976 on a hometown visit.
“The Flower Show is a great institution here in Philadelphia, and Albert has always loved being a Philadelphian at heart,” said John B. Kelly III, who currently oversees the Grace Kelly Home in East Falls, which Prince Albert II of Monaco purchased in 2016. “When we heard the announcement of the Riviera theme, we thought it was a great opportunity to get together with PHS, since they do great work in the environmental area, Albert’s real passion.”
The show will include an environmental summit that brings together gardeners and horticulturists working to address climate change. They’ll discuss tree planning and reducing the use of herbicides and pesticides, Kelly said. There will also be a rose garden in remembrance of his Oscar-winning aunt, who appeared in 13 movies and commuted between New York and Philadelphia before marrying Prince Rainier in 1956.
“Just like any Philadelphian, Grace loved the Flower Show,” he said. “She came many times.”
Besides attending the summit, visitors to the show can enjoy a Saint-Tropez-themed brunch, relive the ’80s during the ever-popular Flowers After Hours event, and purchase plant-themed goodies in the show shop.
The entrance garden will have a plaza modeled after ones in the South of France, according to Sam Lemheney, the chief of shows and events for PHS. It will even have strolling entertainers who interact with visitors.
“The central courtyard will have ancient olive trees and Italian citrus,” he said. “We want it to be visually appealing and beautiful, but with the scents and aromas of the South of France as well. We really want to make sure we transport you to a place that feels like you’re walking along the wonderful, gorgeous Mediterranean.”
Flower Show tickets are on sale through the show’s website. They cost $35 for adults until Jan. 14, $21 for ages 18 to 29, and $17 for children ages 5 to 17. Tickets purchased online cost $42 for adults until Feb. 28, $21 for ages 18 to 29, and $17 for children ages 5 to 17. Show week tickets cost $47 ($48 at the box office) for adults, $25 for ages 18 to 29, and $20 for children ages 5 to 17.