Philly Flower Show

Behind the Scenes at the Philly Flower Show with uBloomer, Tanti Lina

Philly Flower Show

uBloomer Tanti Lina was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Philadelphia International Flower Show this month. The PIFS is the world’s largest indoor exhibition of flowers which is held annually in March and draws many thousands of visitors from around the world each year. Not only did Tanti attend this spectacular floral event, she was also an artistic class adviser for one of it’s design competitions. I recently interviewed Tanti in order to get her inside impressions of her experience at this incredible floral extravaganza. So, if you weren’t able to attend the show, here are some of the best highlights as reported by Tanti…

How many years have you attended the Philadelphia International Flower Show?

I have attended and competed for the last 3 years (since 2007).

What was your initial impression of the show when you first walked in?

Their entrance display has always had the WOW factor. This year the Hot Air Balloon display was the “IT” thing, at least in my opinion.

The theme for this year’s Philly Flower Show was “Passport to the World.” Do you think the show accomplished it’s goal of exploring the different nations of the world by creating displays in flowers depicting the various nations’ cultures?

Yes and No…

Yes – for introducing South Africa, Brazil and India. The displays were simply stunning and particularly the India display. That really hit the nail!

No – for East Asia. There are OTHER EAST ASIAN COUNTRIES BESIDES CHINA.
CHINA does NOT equal to EAST ASIA. So to me, personally, the “Asian” display is the most disappointing.
I think we would need to look into other countries as inspirations, like Indonesia (my home country), the Phillipines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, etc.

In your opinion, how did this year’s show compare with previous ones?

WAAAY MORE EXCITING! Going with International theme is genius! I wish that they would do this more often (use 4-5 countries instead of just focusing on one).

Which flower designs or displays really caught your attention?

Beautiful Bloom’s hanging display and Schaefer’s Polar Fantasy. Those two were like…. HOLY BAZOONGA!

Which display was your favorite?

Schaefer’s Polar Fantasy, nothing beats melted wax on fresh calla lilies!

Which display or design was the most unusual or bizarre?

I would say Moda Botanica. It was a unique concept overall, simply artistic and ultra modern.



Was there a display that made you think, “How did they DO that?”

Schaefer’s Polar Fantasy. It’s not so much about how did they DO that, it’s more about how did they COME UP WITH THAT?!?!

You were asked to be an artistic arrangement competition class adviser at the show, tell us uBloomers a little bit about how you got involved in that.

The first time I attended the show was because I competed in it. I got into it because I was bored one day (when I was still working at corporate America) and thought it would be a good idea to just give it a shot. Got my blue ribbon the 2nd year in the Dress Class, in which I, now, sit in as an adviser (it’s a 2-year position).

The Dress Class is a very fun competition class where PHS collaborate with the fashion design department of an art school (i.e. University of the Arts, Moore Art College and this year’s The Art Institute of Philadelphia). The students design the dresses or costumes based on the given theme and the floral designer would design their floral arrangement inspired by the dress/costume they are assigned to.

With all those incredible designs on display, did you see any styles or techniques that you had never seen before?

Melted Wax on Fresh Calla Lilies! I think I’m going to try that out for one of my upcoming bridal shows. That would be fun!!

Do you feel that it is important for designers to attend shows like the one in Philadelphia?

Absolutely! It’s a learning opportunity. I believe that one must continue to learn to progress. It’s not only a learning opportunity, it is also a great, great place to be inspired!

Last Question…If you could have created a display for this year’s Philly Flower Show, which country would you have chosen to highlight (any country, not just the one’s displayed at the PFS) and describe what your display would have looked like…including the variety of flowers you would have used.

It would definitely be my home country, Indonesia – focusing on the lesser known provinces such as Kalimantan (also known as “Borneo”) or Sulawesi (everybody knows Java and Bali). For example, if I were to go with Kalimantan, then I would use the “Dayak” culture as the main inspiration. Probably would build a replica of one of their traditional houses and create a display of their traditional costumes (including weaponry, jewelry, etc.).

Flower wise – I would use orchids (dendros, oncidium), hibiscus, a lot of tropical leaves, birds of paradise, ginger plants, billy buttons, jasmine, stargazers and bamboos (that I would love to paint in black). PLUS…Will use A LOT OF FEATHERS…


Info on Kalimantan: http://www.indonesiapromo.com/borneo.html