Anticipation for Flower Show at FDR Park

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society President Matt Rader delivers remarks at a news conference announcing details of the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show, which will be held at FDR Park June 5-13. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

In just a few months, and in much warmer temperatures, South Philly will host one of the city’s biggest events.

FDR Park on Pattison Avenue will welcome thousands of horticultural enthusiasts during the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece, which will be held outside for the first time in its nearly 200-year existence.

Produced by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show first took place in 1829 and has been held annually, most recently at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The pandemic caused a shift to outdoors, and FDR Park was the happy recipient of the popular event that draws tourists from all over the world.

“I know it’s hard to believe since we are sitting here today, absolutely freezing,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “But in just a few months we are going to be out here enjoying this amazing park, and the best flower show in the world is going to be right here in South Philadelphia in FDR Park.”

The Philadelphia Flower Show will take place June 5-13, and tickets are on sale now at Organizers said tickets are limited in order to cooperate with social distancing guidelines. Tickets will be in timed intervals to assure the event isn’t overcrowded.

The show has been re-imagined to allow guests a more curated experience by creating three distinct districts, with beautiful horticulture, shopping, food and beverage, music and interactive experiences combined in each district, which are labeled Plant, Garden and Design. 

The new Gardener’s Green and Family Frolic Day are programs added to this year’s event. The show will use about 15 of FDR Park’s sprawling 348 acres carved out of the tidal marshes in South Philadelphia.

A display promoting the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show, which will be held at FDR Park June 5-13. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

The Park includes a sequence of picturesque lakes with adjacent lawns that are connected by carriages and foot paths.

“This is a park that helped me become a young man who I am today,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, whose district represents parts of South Philadelphia. “Most of us know it as FDR Park. We called it ‘The Lakes’ when I was growing up. We would come from Point Breeze down here to go swimming. We’d ride our bikes down here to have a good time, so this park is very special. This flower show is going to be fantastic and most importantly, they’re going to continue taking FDR Park to the next level.”

FDR Park, which is a popular recreational spot for local residents, will see many additional visitors during the nine-day event. Officials said regular park goers will still be able to access the park, which includes a playground, baseball/softball diamonds, a renowned skate park, a network of lakes, the Swedish American Museum and 126 acres of woodland.

“There’s going to be a show here but the park will be open,” Ott Lovell said.” You will be able to use the park. We’re going to make that happen. After the show is over, the park users will be able to enjoy the impact of the show throughout the year because PHS is making investments above and beyond the show in legacy projects that they are going to do here at the park to make it more beautiful. This is the very beginning of amazing things to come for this park.”

The show attracts about 250,000 people annually and contributes millions in economic impact.

Mayor Jim Kenney speaks at a news conference announcing details of the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show, which will be held at FDR Park June 5-13. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

“The Philadelphia Flower show is a beloved event that has taken place for almost 200 years and is an annual highlight that many people look forward to,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “This event also contributes greatly to our local economy, bringing tourism and locals to celebrate the spring season in Philadelphia.”

Although usually held in late February/early March, the show still plans on drawing excitement for a new venture outdoors in South Philly.

“This is going to have a great impact on the surrounding community,” Johnson said. “That’s what it’s all about — bringing something great to this part of South Philadelphia.”