This Is How Many Hours Go Into Making the Grand Entrance at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Plus, here’s how many flowers are used.


The grand entrance in the works. | Image via Valley Forge Flowers.

The Philadelphia Flower Show, presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is just around the corner, and designers are putting the final touches on every display. We caught up with Barb King of Valley Forge Flowers, who has designed the grand entrance to the show for the last ten years. (No pressure.) Find out just how many hours, flowers, and sets of hands go into making the fabulous entryway to the Philadelphia Flower Show—and be sure to grab your tickets to the show here. Want to see the show first? Grab a black tie preview party ticket here.

What’s this year’s theme for the Philadelphia Flower Show?
“Explore America,” celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.

How many designers work on the display?
Eight Valley Forge Flowers employees and five loyal Philadelphia Horticultural Society volunteers. Hands-on prep began in mid-January and has continued every day since.

How many hours go into the display, from concept to execution?
At least 500 man hours for the hands-on floral assembly and preparation; plus, many more hours with actual set design, hardwoods and technical setup. 

How many flowers are used for the grand entrance?
15,000+ flower heads.

What’s the hardest thing about getting the grand entrance ready?
Set-up logistics with the thousands of flowers and working in the air on ladders for the elevated arrangements. It was particularly challenging to find a tough glue that would bond to dried flowers and could withstand water dripping.

How do you keep the flowers looking fresh?
Luckily, the Flower Show floor itself is cool each day until opening hours. Exhibits are watered early in the morning and again after the show closes. A complete refresh of all flowers is done after 10:00 pm in the middle of the week. Our team works until the wee hours to have it all prepped for the following day’s guests.

Can you give us any hints as to what the show looks like?
The display will attract viewers from three separate angles. Once inside, there are huge video screens that will showcase various National Parks. Our display serves as an introductory point for the show.

Aren’t there complications with temperature?
A portion of the display is done using preserved materials in areas that cannot be reached with water. Thankfully, temperature is not a huge issue.

When did you begin designing the grand entrance?
Planning was underway even before last year’s show! 

The Details: Saturday, March 5 to Sunday, March 13 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 1101 Arch Street, Market East, 1800-428-9000.