Like so much of the devastating news right now, the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show will be all about water — but in this case, the life-giving and life-affirming nature of it.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society president Matt Rader announced Wednesday morning at a news conference at Independence Seaport Museum that next year's show, the "Wonders of Water," will feature dozens of illuminated fountains, garden ponds, statuary designed to capture and conserve water — and even a display of flowers encased in ice.
"Guests will be greeted in the entrance room with a 28-foot waterfall," Sam Lemheney, PHS chief of shows and events, said in an interview. Show dates are March 3 to 11 at the Convention Center.
The Flower Show, which annually attracts more than a quarter-million visitors, will also feature a walk-through rain forest illuminated by what PHS describes as an "ever-shifting rain curtain" that will take guests over a rope bridge.
"You'll also see flower designs submerged in water, and ice sculptures with flowers in them," Lemheney said. New events will include the Flowers After Hours disco dance.
Along with the razzle-dazzle, "we also want to communicate an important message about water conservation," he said. PHS has received a major grant from the William Penn Foundation to develop exhibits about how plant systems cleanse and sustain the Delaware River watershed.
Various exhibits and demonstrations, he said, will "have you thinking about things you can do in your neighborhood, in your homes and your gardens to protect the watershed."
A "water summit" will be held during the show, featuring talks and demonstrations by environmental scientists and industry experts about the watershed's role in the proper functioning of "industry, farming, suburban life, and urban life from its source in the mountains down to the [Delaware] Bay and ocean," Lemheney said.
First held in 1829, the Flower Show has become one of the city's biggest annual events. PHS announced last week that the 2017 Holland-themed show won the prize for best event of the year from the International Festivals and Events Association.
"It has a huge effect on the city," said Lemheney. "Its economic impact alone is upward of $65 million each year."
March 3-11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St.
Advance tickets (until March 2): $29.95; $20 ages 17-24; $17 ages 2-16. Adult-ticket prices during show week: $32-$40.