I truly hate crowds.

I finish my holiday gift shopping early not because I’m organized but because I can’t stand the stores when the masses arrive. You couldn’t tie me up and drag me to a parade. Go to a party? Is it a small one?

I make one truly significant exception to battling the throngs—flower shows! If you haven’t attended a flower show before, do yourself a favor and make plans. It’s a true visual feast where you can get ideas and learn quite a lot in a short amount of time.

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I just booked my hotel arrangements for the upcoming Philadelphia Flower Show. If you haven’t already made arrangements to attend the show near you, you should do so now. Rooms are going fast in Philly. In fact, I found that I could only get the hotel I wanted by booking through the show’s website. All other sources showed the property was unavailable.

The Philadelphia show’s early morning two-hour tours are also filling up. You have to email your request to the show organizers for registration information. Groups are small—8 to 12 people—and are held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. before the show opens. The cost is $105 per person.

If you’re planning a flower show trip and haven’t been before, here are some quick tips on getting them most from your flower show experience.

1.  Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket. The showplaces are often cooled for the benefit of preserving the plants, which makes it a bit chilly for the rest of us. Layer for comfort.

2.  Carry a notebook and pen. You can make notes, job down flower and vendor names or even sketch a particularly striking flower layout.

3. Leave the handbag at home. I use a very small shoulder bag with a long strap that I can wear bandolier style. It’s just large enough to hold cash, credit cards, keys, a phone, small notebook and pen. It doesn’t add uncomfortable weight on my shoulder and allows me to keep my hands free.

4. Check out the show’s photography policy in advance. Most shows allow amateur photography without previous permission. All shows prohibit the use of tripods or other equipment that can get in the way of heavy foot traffic.

5. Check show schedules in advance for special demonstration and lecture times. Many shows have a first-come-first-serve seating policy, so arrive early.

6. Plan your meals in advance. Food at these shows is usually hard to find, bad for you and disgusting. Eat a hearty breakfast and carry a bag of nuts. Or make a small, healthy sandwich that you can eat in the snack area while the rest of the folks are eating hot dogs and chips.

7. If you’re going with a friend, carry cell phones so you can find each other when you decide to go separate ways or accidentally lose site of each other. Bring money and a big car, truck or van. Most shows have areas for shopping. Unless you’re particularly disciplined, you’ll go home with an armload.

Have fun and post pictures! I can’t go to all the shows. Someday my dream is to go to the Chelsea Flower Show. It’s on my bucket list!

Upcoming Flower Shows

March 2 – 8 – Philadelphia Flower Show. The lecture and demonstration schedule is here.

March 8 – 16 – New England Spring Flower Show, Boston

February 20 – 24 – Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Seattle

March 8 – 16 – Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show, Rosemont, IL

March 12 – 16 – San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

March 14 – 24 – Hong Kong Flower Show

May 20 – 24 – RHS Chelsea Flower Show

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8 Comments

  • annbb says:

    Found your site through Country Girl and I’m glad I did! Love your blog!

    I just got done going to the National Auto Show in D. C. That was a LOT of fun, but, honestly, if I never see another concept car it will be just fine with me!

    I had the thrill of going to the big food show at the NYC Jacob Javits Center. What a show! I have NEVER walked further, tasted more things and had more fun!

    I’ve always wanted to go to a flower show. The people I know who have been to flower shows say they’re just incredible. I can hardly wait! Thanks for the list of shows – maybe next year I’ll get to one.

    abb

  • Diana says:

    Wow – great post! Thanks for sharing the list of shows. Nothing down here in Texas, but you’ve made me want to find one nearby. Have a great time and post lots of pictures so we can enjoy it vicariously.

  • Kate says:

    A friend has asked me to attend with her. I guess I should take her up on it. Maybe I’ll run into you there!

    Excellent advice you’ve given about what to bring. I’d definitely want to bring my camera, but only would have room for one lens.

    I’d better call my friend!

  • jodi says:

    Excellent advice! I went to Canada Blooms in Toronto about four years ago–a completely overrated show, in my opinion, just because I didn’t appreciate some of the designs by some of the avant-garde landscape designers, but I did like some of it very much. A large show, though, and hard to see everything in just one day, of course.

  • Hi Abb – I think a food show would be second best to a flower show–and I would LOVE to go to one. Food and gardening go hand-in-hand. Perhaps a combined show–cook’s garden or something?

    Diana – No flower shows in Texas?!? All the more reason to travel!

    Kate – Yes, go! You’re not that far away from Philly! Let me know if you’re going!

    Hi Jodi – You’ve hit on a good point. The big shows really deserve more than a day. I’m arriving mid-day on Thursday and will be there through Saturday. That just MIGHT be enough time…

    Robin at Bumblebee

  • Robin says:

    I’ve been several times to the Indiana Flower and Patio Show and I plan to attend again this year. It’s like leaving winter for the day and taking a lovely spring vacation.

    Robin – Yes, indeed! It’ll feel like spring came early. At least for a couple of days.

    –Robin at Bumblebee

  • Veronica says:

    The Reading Terminal is right there for you to eat – wonderful Philly food, Amish food, fresh produce. So don’t even bother grabbing food inside the flower show. I live in Philadelphia and work downtown and I go to the show every year – it gives me hope that Spring really is coming.

    Hi Veronica – Yes! I love Reading Terminal! The challenge is to force myself to stop long enough to eat.

    Robin at Bumblebee

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