Archive for the ‘Beyond the Show Floor’ Category

Burke Brothers Landscapes the Macy’s Flower Show

April 4, 2012

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There are only a few days left to visit the Macy’s Flower Show, “Brasil: Gardens in Paradise,” which is running through April 7 during store hours at the City Center location. Celebrated at Macy’s in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, the show features a variety of activities for the entire family, including organ concerts; floral, tabletop, and cooking demonstrations; guided tours; and more.

Philadelphia International Flower Show major exhibitor Burke Brothers Landscaping was responsible for the installation and creation of the flower gardens in the Grand Court at the old Wanamaker building, shown in pictures here by Laura Blanchard. Fresh from PHS’s Hawaiian-themed show, Burke Brothers was able to use some of the tropical plants from the Convention Center for the Macy’s installation. Once that show is over, the plants will be auctioned off at Burke’s annual fundraiser for the Sara’s Smiles Foundation at Burke’s Cheltenham Avenue location May 4-6.

Hurry—there are only a few days left to bask in the warmth of Brasil (without leaving Philadelphia). Thanks to Burke Brothers and Macy’s for extending Flower Show fever into April!

The Art of Flowers: PHS Teams Up with Museum

March 26, 2012

In a joint promotion with the 2012 Flower Show, the Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrated its current exhibit,”Van Gogh Up Close,” with “Eight Days of Van Gogh’s Flowers.”

From zinnias to roses to almond blossoms, the botanical paintings by post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh were featured on the Art Museum’s Facebook page, with a description of each plant and a brief history of each painting provided by Janet Evans, PHS librarian.

Looking at van Gogh’s Butterflies and Poppies (pictured above), Janet revealed that poppies were exhibited at a PHS meeting as early as 1834. In July 1889, almost one year before this work is thought to have been painted, van Gogh wrote to his sister Wilhelmina, “If you want to do as artists do, gaze upon the white and red poppies with the bluish leaves, with those buds raising themselves up on stems with gracious curves. The hours of trouble and battle will assuredly come and find us without our going to look for them.” Janet also suggested that if we want to grow our own poppies, they should be planted in well-drained soil that receives full sun.

Art and flowers: A truly inspirational combination! The “Van Gogh Up Close” exhibit is available for your enjoyment until May 6. Before you go, click here to read all “Eight Days of van Gogh’s Flowers.”

Liquid Luau Voters Pick a Favorite!

March 22, 2012

With almost 300 discerning participants sipping tropical libations around town during the Flower Show, a tally of the responses found that the winner—by a healthy margin—was the Toloache (Hawaiian for “enchanting wild flower”) from Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti!

The Nani (meaning “beautiful”) from Bridget Foy’s came in second.

In partnership with Center City District, the Liquid Luau gave everyone a chance to experience a taste of Hawaii at some of the area’s best bars and restaurants. A heartfelt “mahalo” to all of the venues and voters who participated, and to Center City District for making this special event possible.

Click here to see the list of recipes.

Who’s Cooking at the Flower Show March 9-11?

March 8, 2012

Things have been heating up at the free culinary demonstrations that are not only educational, but also entertaining! Show favorite, the great Chef Joseph Shilling and students from JNA Institute of Culinary Arts host and assist, respectively.

Click here to see the schedule and presentation titles. The impressive bios of our speakers are below.

Eugenia Bone is a journalist and food writer, as well as co-president of the New York Mycological Society. She has written four books, including the critically acclaimed, Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird and Wonderful World of Mushrooms. She is a frequent contributor to culinary magazines such as Saveur, Fine Cooking, The New York Times Magazine and Food & Wine.

One of the most recognized personalities in Philadelphia dining, Aimee Olexy truly understands what hospitality means. She managed several restaurants in Colorado and attended L’Universite du Vin in France before settling back in Philadelphia in 1999, where she embarked on a variety of ventures with the Starr Restaurant Organization. She is currently the owner of Talula’s Table, which was dubbed by as “The Toughest Table in America” because reservations must be made a year in advance. The New York Times praised the “handsome, deceptively complex and masterfully executed” food, likening the experience to a “spiritual retreat.” Talula’s Garden, which Olexy opened in partnership with Starr in April 2011, aims to capture identical sentiments. “I work a lot and I love it,” says Olexy. “My work is who I am—and that is the only way I know to live.”

Master Chef Joseph Poon is known for his Asian fusion cuisine. He prepares fresh meals with simple elegance—and a dash of adventure. From his quirky venue in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, he hosts private events, conducts “Wok ‘N Walk” tours of Philadelphia Chinatown, and teaches cooking classes. He also leads trips to China and participates in dozens of philanthropic events each year. He recently published an autobiographical cookbook, Life is Short…Cooking is Fun. His warmth and exuberance have earned him appearances on The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Food Network’s The Best of… He is regularly featured on The 10 Show and on many television and radio shows. He has also been featured in Nation’s Restaurant News and many consumer magazines, as well as in newspapers from Philadelphia to New Orleans.

A third-generation restaurateur with more than 40 years of culinary experience, Chef Walter Staib began his career in Europe in some of the finest hotels and restaurants before coming to the United States. Chef Staib is currently the driving force behind one of the nation’s most unique dining establishments: Philadelphia’s City Tavern, a faithful recreation of an original eighteenth century tavern. His passion for culinary excellence has earned him many awards, including the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole de la République Française in recognition of his dedication to the advancement of the restaurant industry and the image of France world-wide. In 1986, he was appointed Commandeur by the Association Internationale des Maîtres Conseils en Gastronomie Française and in 1987 was awarded the Silver Plate, the hospitality and restaurant industry’s highest honor. In 1995, he was honored as the first inductee into the Caribbean Culinary Hall of Fame in recognition of his pioneering work founding the Caribbean Culinary Federation. Mr. Staib serves as Ambassador to the Culinary Institute of America and in 1996, was also appointed the First Culinary Ambassador to the city of Philadelphia.

Mike Stollenwerk, chef and restaurateur, has rapidly become a respected key player in Philadelphia’s restaurant scene thanks to his innate culinary understanding, drive for innovation, and steadfast work ethic. After learning the intricacies of the Philly dining scene in the respected kitchens of Davio’s and Avenue B, he purchased Bella Vista’s Little Fish in 2007, and opened Fish in Rittenhouse Square in 2009, boasting a contemporary dining and bar space, an impressive wine list and, and an expertly crafted menu. Stollenwerk’s Fish has garnered recognition from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Food & Wine, and others. Philadelphia magazine named Fish “Best New Restaurant of 2010,” as well as naming Stollenwerk’s dish—Japanese Sea Bass—one of the “230 Best Dishes to Eat in Philly.”

Masterful in the kitchen, Guillermo Tellez has an impeccable 20-year restaurant résumé–from the Trotter empire in Chicago and Los Cabos, Mexico, to Philadelphia’s own celebrated Starr Restaurant Organization, where he was director of menu development for the brand and executive chef at Striped Bass. At his current restaurant, Square 1682, Tellez introduced a “new American” menu that thoughtfully jets from Asia to Mexico, then to India, and circles back home. Each dish is handcrafted using sustainable and organic ingredients, from local seasonal produce to free-range meats and ocean-friendly seafood.

Townsend Wentz is one of the true great culinary talents of Philadelphia. He’s equally comfortable crafting house-made charcuterie, expertly butchering animals, and is well versed in French technique, Spanish influences, and Italian specialties. An alum of The Fountain at the Four Seasons and Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, and executive chef at Twenty21, Wentz has also worked with London-based Chef Yvonnick Lalle in New York City and Connecticut. He currently brings his expertise to McCrossen’s Tavern.

Big thanks to Organic Gardening magazine for sponsoring the culinary room.

A Marketplace of Wonders

March 8, 2012

It’s a shopper’s paradise! On a recent stroll through the Flower Show Marketplace, we saw everything from high-tech ratchet pruners, botanical body scrubs, armloads of curly willow, and every type of garden furniture imaginable. Here are a few favorites.

A Show vendor for 12 years, Stems Vases from Anacortes, Washington, celebrates “the art of simple.” Their slim, elegant containers lend themselves to a variety of designs, from layers of colorful citrus slices to a single orchid stem. The glass outer layer is framed in brushed metal and covers an acrylic liner that resists algae growth. While we visited, several show-goers were singing the praises of these containers, saying they use them year-round. In fact, shoppers at the Show were so excited by the concept that the company had its best sales day ever last Sunday!

Mary DeMarco’s La Contessa jewelry captures the spirit of this year’s Show theme with nature-inspired statement pieces. Mary has been designing jewelry for 30 years; we loved the variety of her cast pewter pieces from a soaring bird to a gangly octopus. The pewter is complemented with semiprecious stones such as carnelian, desert jasper,  Mojave green turquoise, and Austrian crystals, and each ring, bracelet, and necklace is more magnificent than the last.

Imagine a school of bright golden koi swimming through a bed of blue ageratum, or a blue trout swimming upstream through the ivy. Maine artist Tyson M. Weiss has created Fish in the Gardens, a line of stainless steel and stoneware fish that add movement and fluid beauty to any landscape. These weather-resistant swimmers are hand crafted and signed by the artist, some featuring true-to-life details, while others are painted as one-of-a-kind species. In addition to the stoneware varieties, the artist creates stainless-steel fish that will not rust and can be hand-shaped to swim around the trunk of a tree—so cute!

Dave and Jill Wallace from Bittersweet Herb Farm have brought their extensive line of seasonings to the Show. Varieties include wild blueberry and limoncello jam, chai tea marmalade, and Show-favorite wasabi ginger finishing sauce. This family-run business from Massachusetts has brought gourmet products to the Show for 24 years, delighting buyers with not only the food, but the warmth with which it is presented. “We try to have fun!” said Jill.

Through Laura’s Lens: A Hot Romance

March 5, 2012
Picture of Bill Schaffer and Kriss Kratt in front of "Pele" exhibit

A hot romance! Bill Schaffer and Kris Kratt, floral designers, will be married on the Flower Show Floor on Wedding Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

It’s going to be a Show for the photo albums for Bill Schaffer and Kris Kratt. In addition to taking the Best of Show – Display Garden, Floral award for their exhibit, “Pele: Goddess of Fire,” the couple will be married on the main stage of the Show floor this Wednesday, March 7, at 7:30 pm.

Wondering how this came to be—and how Bill talked Kris into it? I caught up with them a few days ago. The idea came out of a meeting of the Designer’s Studio team. While talking about Wedding Wednesday (a special event you can attend), the idea of actually having a wedding on the Show floor surfaced.

Former Flower Show chair Melinda Moritz remembered that Bill was engaged, so she “proposed” the idea to him. Bill called Kris, who was working at an event in Atlanta, and Kris said yes!

(Kris is used to public displays of affection from Bill — watch his onstage proposal at the American Institute of Floral Designers meeting on YouTube.)

So come on out to see Bill and Kris tie the knot on Wednesday. Their reception will include a cake from TLC’s Cake Boss (who will be filming at the Show that night), and the wedding flowers are sure to be terrific. (The bride and groom are designing their own bouquet and boutonniere; friends are doing the others.)

Watch Bill talk about Schaffer Designs’ award-winning exhibit, “Pele: Goddess of Fire” and the incredible international team of designers who came in to make it possible.

Fabulous Free Gardening Events at the Show!

March 4, 2012

Pumped up about orchids, improving your garden, or visiting Hawaii?

Did you know that there are FREE gardening lectures and presentations at the Flower Show, with topics ranging from flower arranging, container gardening, landscaping, gardening on your deck, pest control, Ikebana, growing orchids, and more. Much, much more.

No matter what your level of experience or special interest, there is something for you to learn and love!

The Flower Show is very proud to offer presentations from celebrated speakers including Phillip Watson, Melinda Myers, Rebecca Cole, Charlie Nardozzi, and Art Wolk.

You can plan your visit by checking out the schedule.

Also, we encourage you to get the Flower Show app so you can have the Show schedule in the palm of your hand! This is a brand new feature that is sure to help you make the most of your visit!

What a fun chance to take home some inspiration!

Attend the Preview Party (In Person or From Your Couch)!

March 1, 2012

We hope you’re as excited as we are about the Flower Show Preview Party on Saturday, March 3!! Mingle with the glitterati of Philadelphia as you stroll among towering waterfalls, marvel at volcanic rock formations, ogle at incredible orchids, and experience the wonder of the Hawaiian islands!

Whether you attend the cocktail party, the dinner in the Grand Ballroom, the dance-filled After Party—or all three—the preview night promises to be an unforgettable kick off to the Show.

Advance registration for the cocktail party and/or dinner is required; tickets for the After Party can be purchased in advance or at the door. (Preview Party guests need not buy a ticket for the After Party).

All proceeds support PHS and its acclaimed urban greening programs. Click here to purchase tickets for the Party. For additional information, please call 215-418-2422 or email

Can’t attend? Then be sure to mix up a fruity drink in your blender, put on your best Hawaiian shirt, and tune in to a Preview Party Special hosted by 6-ABC Action News’ Cecily Tynan, Adam Joseph, and the AccuWeather team. Channel 6-ABC WPVI TV has been the official media sponsor of the Flower Show for many years, and we love that they’re a part of the family!

Tropical Treasures: More Fan Photos!

January 11, 2012

Flower Show fan Brian G. went to Hawaii and brought back  these truly breathtaking photos. They make me wish I was there right now!

Do you have photos of Hawaii to share? Help get everyone excited for Islands of Aloha by sending images and memories to

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PHS Community Brunch Welcomes Urban Farming Phenom

March 5, 2011

Want to meet with a rockstar of the urban agriculture world? You can at the PHS Community Brunch, held on the last day of the Philadelphia International Flower Show, March 13. Hear from Malik K. Yakini and learn what he’s doing to transform Detroit. Below is his bio; click here to reserve a seat!

Malik K. Yakini is the chairman and Interim Executive Director of DBCFSN. He has worked in urban organic agriculture for ten years. He is Executive Director of Nsoroma Institute, one of Detroit’s leading African-centered schools. In that capacity he was instrumental in the development of the school’s food security curriculum and student organic garden. He has done presentations on “Food Security and Food Justice in the African-American Community” at numerous conferences throughout the United States. He is a member of the Michigan Food Policy Council and Chairman of the Detroit Food Policy Council.

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