How did Philadelphia Flower Show designer Sam Lemheney celebrate the closing of the successful 2009 Show? He didn’t; there wasn’t time. Less than a week later Sam was on a plane to Florida searching for the perfect plants to use in his new project: designing the Macy’s Flower Show in Center City Philadelphia (which ran from April 5 – 19). I met with Sam and asked him about his experience.
How did you become involved with the Macy’s Flower Show?
For years Macy’s has hosted flower shows in New York and other iconic locations, such as San Francisco and Miami. When it looked as though they would be coming to Philadelphia, I think both parties saw how a Macy’s/PHS partnership could be beneficial.
What was your role specifically? How did it all come together?
I designed the Show and Kevin Burke of Burke Brothers (a stalwart Philadelphia Flower Show exhibitor) helped with procuring the plants and installation. Working in a new space provided some interesting challenges. Unlike the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where we can set-up around the clock, at Macy’s we had to work in the evening after the store was closed to customers.
What were some highlights of the Macy’s show?
The Grand Court is eight stories tall, so that provides an instant “wow” factor. To fill the space we brought in 18-foot cherry trees in full bloom. Of course what really caught the attention of visitors were the four flamingo topiaries; each was filled with moss and adorned with 1,500 pink carnations.
Was there a theme to the Show?
The Show was called “Dream in Color.” To bring it to life we focused on a wide variety of plants that all fit within the same color palette of pink, blue, and yellow. Some of the species featured include bougainvillea, African daises, hyacinth, hydrangea, orchids, impatiens, bromeliads, blue salvia-I could go on for a while!
What was the public’s response to the Show?
I’ve heard nothing but amazing feedback. It was wonderful to see how the shoppers enjoyed the fun, floral atmosphere we created. As a child my grandmother would take me to the Christmas light display at Macy’s, so it was really gratifying to come back as an adult and design what I hope will become a spring tradition.
Any chance you can give us a sneak preview of the 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show?
The theme is “Passport to the World”, and we’re enthusiastic about a global, multicultural perspective on horticulture. The six showcase gardens represent very different cultures in very different regions of the world, so the plant list this time around will be quite lengthy! The 2010 Show may seem like a long way off to most people, but believe me, we’re already hard at work and very excited.