Nineteenth-century American botanist (and a pioneer in scientific agriculture) Luther Burbank said, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful. They are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” His affinity for all things floral is shared by many—especially the innovative designers behind the world’s most extravagant flower shows, which are making a triumphant return this summer. [Source: AD]
The exhibits, which feature cascades of lilac and dahlias; Roman gazebos draped in roses, peonies, and gladiolus; and antique urns housing Victorian-inspired arrangements, are like living works of art. And after a canceled slew of carefully curated events in 2020, this year’s crop of talented designers—popping up from Philadelphia to Newport—is going all out
Arguably the biggest floral event in the U.S., the famed Philadelphia Flower Show is coming up on two centuries—193 years, to be exact—of artistically arranged blooms. Spread across 15 acres of the city’s FDR Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, codesigner of New York City’s Central Park, the show will run from June 5 to the 13.
Not to mention: For just two days after the show officially opens, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia artistic director and floral designer to the stars Jeff Leatham will unveil his unique and emotionally charged floral installation, “Habitat.” His inspiration behind the ropes of intertwined plumosa ferns and baby’s breath? Quarantine. Wrapped around the Olmsted Pavilion’s Romanesque columns, the floral vines evoke a chaotic and almost desperate energy to break free, a feeling with which we’re all too familiar after a devastating 2020. To drive his point home, Leatham envisioned the fiery array of colors as floral representations of our collective desire to break free and reengage with society.
If Newport, Rhode Island, could be famous for only one element, it would be the city’s collection of extravagant mansions. And one of them, Rosecliff, will play host to the annual flower show this year from June 18 to 20. At first glance, Rosecliff closely resembles Versailles’s French Baroque Grand Trianon, and it’s meant to. Completed in 1902 for sterling silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs, architect Stanford White designed Rosecliff to bring a little piece of the French palace stateside.
Rosecliff’s ballroom, salon, and terrace will feature stunning floral displays from an array of talented designers interpreting the specific theme of the show, called “Back in Bloom: A Ballroom Floral Fantasy.” We can only imagine what kind of Marie Antoinette–inspired blooms will be on display in these sprawling spaces.
A supremely historical venue seemed appropriate for the United Kingdom’s largest flower show, which will return this year just outside London from July 5–11. Hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society at Hampton Court Palace—Henry VIII’s most famous residence—award-winning botanical designers from across the country, including Tom Stuart-Smith, Charles Dowding, and Stephanie Hafferty, will create blooming exhibitions and installations across the 500-year-old castle garden’s 60 acres.
In the language of flowers, hydrangeas mean gratitude, grace, and beauty. Plus, because one cloud-like flower comprises so many tiny petals, the plush blooms also represent abundance. And at this year’s Douglassville, Georgia, Penny McHenry’s Annual Hydrangea Festival, which is named after the American Hydrangea Society’s southern founder, an abundance of sweet-smelling hydrangeas is a given.
If the highly Instagrammed Bellagio lobby, whose ceiling is covered in more than 2,000 hand-blown glass florals by Dale Chihuly, is any indication, the 23-year-old luxury resort on the Las Vegas Strip does not mess around when it comes to decorating. Case in point: the summer floral show in the enormous greenhouse-inspired conservatory.
“I find the earth’s natural beauty captivating, which is what inspired me to design this summer’s display around the four elements of water, land, fire, and air,” Bellagio Conservatory designer Ed Libby explains. [Source: AD]