February 24th, 2015
Garden-show-touring can be tiring, taxing and sometimes a tad bewildering – especially in the case of cavernous, cattle-herd shows such as the 10-acre Philadelphia Flower Show.
Five gardening and landscape-related shows happen late this month into next within day-trip range of Harrisburg (see the list below).
If you’re going to any/all, I thought you might make use of some tips on how to maximize your time and energy. Here are 10:
1.) Pick your spots. Weekend days are typically the busiest, especially Saturdays. Weekdays are generally a little less crowded, and crowds start to thin around 4 p.m. At a big show like Philly, you may be able to see and do as much between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. as in twice that time during midday hours.
2.) Watch for discounts. Most shows offer discounts for tickets bought in advance. Some have special pricing deals, such as the Pennsylvania Garden Expo’s Senior Day $5-off discount or the Pennsylvania Garden Show of York’s $15 package price for all three show days. The Philadelphia Flower Show gives free admission to members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show’s sponsor.
3.) Check the schedule. The speaker, demo and event lineups change daily, so pick your day and time to be there for any of particular interest to you. All shows post their schedules on their websites in advance. The Philadelphia Flower Show has an app that’s handy both for planning and for navigating the show floor.
4.) Footwear for the occasion. I never wear heels to start with, but it puzzles me when I see women show up at garden shows in them. The floors are hard and concrete – and sometimes uneven over mulch or landscape pavers. You’ll be on your feet for hours. Be kind to them. Wear comfortable and safe footwear.
5.) Outerwear strategy. It’s usually cold outside during show time, so you’ll probably need a coat to get there. Once inside, shows are usually cool. Wearing or carrying a heavy coat all show is a burden you can ease by checking your coat (either free or a couple of dollars at most). A sweater or light jacket is all you’ll need for maneuvering inside.