Philly is in full bloom with local decorating contest

Terrace Street

Spring has sprung and the city has blossomed, but now the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s annual Bloom Philly! decorating contest is back, with a few new changes for 2021. The regional competition will be sticking to its normal programming, inviting businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area to join in on celebrating the upcoming Philadelphia Flower Show, set for June. An assortment of different businesses—both directly in the city and the suburbs—join every year, but this go-around will also feature new elements surrounding the theme of the PFS this year, “Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece.”

Frosted Fox

The local Philadelphia Flower Show has gained recognition around the country and the world in years past and is now officially known as the nation’s largest and the world’s longest-running horticultural event, and 2021 will be historic in terms of venue as well. In response to the ongoing pandemic, the move outdoors will allow the Philadelphia Horticultural Society to present the show safely. Philadelphians who purchase tickets for their preferred date between June 5 to 13 will be able to check out the showcase at the historic Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR Park) in South Philadelphia.

However, the Bloom! Philly contest will kick off at the end of this month from April 26 through May 24.

According to a release, the contest will be serving two direct purposes: To raise awareness and attention for the Philadelphia Flower Show and to spread joy and cheer throughout the region by creating beautiful, floral-inspired décor and menu items that pay homage to the Flower Show’s legacy. Bloom Philly! has expanded its contest with new categories and participation from food and beverage businesses to enter their own Flower Show-inspired menu items, streetery décor, virtual events, and short-term pop-ups. Collaborations with professional florists and event designers will also compete in their own unique category.

“This year, more than ever, our businesses will spread the excitement, joy and wonder of the annual event,” said Sam Lemheney, Chief of Shows and Events for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in a statement.”We can’t wait to see the ingenuity, creativity, and bold style that our businesses imagine for the contest. We expect that our new categories will present far more opportunities to engage businesses than we have ever seen.”


The new categories span a wide variety of subjects including Best Outdoor Container & Window Garden Display (using living house plants), Best Cut Flower Installation, Best Business/Neighborhood District, Best Collaboration with a Professional Floral Designer, Best Indoors Display, Best Streetery, Best New Food Item and Best New Beverage. The contest will still include its old categories as well: Best Illustration of the 2021 Flower Show theme “Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece:” Best Illustration of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Mission & Values; Best Overall Design Aesthetic & Craftsmanship / Grand Prize Winner and People’s Choice.

Rittenhouse Square hotspot Rouge will be one of the new participants competing in the “Streetery” category. The release states that the venue will showcase a new garden-inspired tent with a ceiling made of wisteria and decorated with garden gnomes on top of crafting a new list of curated botanical- inspired cocktails. Buddha Babe – West Mount Airy’s new baby boutique and design studio will compete in the “Professional Collaboration” category with Fête Urbane, while the “Food and Beverage” category has entries from Rally Coffee, The Artisan Marshmallow Co., Vibrant Coffee Roasters, and 12th Street Catering.

Also, new this year is the addition of cash prizes in the form of $500 for winners in key categories (which the PHS was said made possible by Clark & Cohen.) Clarke & Cohen is based in Bala Cynwyd and works around the region to restore hope when property losses occur due to fires, floods, or other catastrophes.


To learn more information about the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Bloom Philly! contest, visit

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