A Stroll Through the Philadelphia Flower Show

Started in 1829 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Philadelphia Flower Show is the largest horticultural event in the U.S. Each year, the show “introduces the newest plant varieties, garden and design concepts, and organic and sustainable practices.”

Explore America entry
The entryway to the Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit hall. Photo by Emily Lapayowker/NWF

The 2016 show celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service with the theme “Explore America.” Displays inspired by iconic parks like Acadia, Valley Forge, Yellowstone, and Yosemite take visitors on a journey across our nation’s stunning parklands — and naturally, since it is hosted in Philadelphia, no exploration would be complete without a floral Liberty Bell.

This year, the National Wildlife Federation teamed up with our long-time partner, Bank of America, and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society designer Michael Petrie to create a garden that represents the essential elements of wildlife habitat: food, water, cover, and places for wildlife to raise their young.

The floral Liberty Bell
The floral Liberty Bell. Photo by Emily Lapayowker/NWF

Our garden, “Certified Wild: America’s Backyard” represents a place where you can connect with the natural world: imagine the fluttering of butterfly wings, the sound of songbirds, and making a healthier planet.

In case you don’t make it to the show before it ends on Sunday, take a quick stroll through our exhibit.

PFS garden image
A peek through the garden. Photo by Emily Lapayowker/NWF


Everyone needs to eat! Planting native forbs,  shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive. You can also incorporate supplemental feeders and food sources.

Food This Way sign
This way for food! Photo by Emily Lapayowker/NWF


Wildlife need clean water sources for many purposes, including drinking, bathing and reproduction. Water sources may include natural features such as ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, oceans and wetlands, or human-made features such as bird baths, puddling areas for butterflies, installed ponds or rain gardens.

Swimming hole at PFS
A swimming hole, or a place for wildlife to grab a drink. Photo by Jessie Yuhaniak/NWF


Wildlife require places to hide in order to feel safe from people, predators and inclement weather. To provide cover in your garden, use things like native vegetation, shrubs, thickets and brush piles or even dead trees.

Hide Here sign at PFS
Leading the way to cover. Photo by Emily Lapayowker/NWF

Places to Raise Young

Wildlife need a sheltered place to raise their offspring. Many places can double as locations for cover and where wildlife can raise young. Examples include wildflower meadows and bushes where many butterflies and moths lay their eggs, and caves where bats roost and form colonies.

Nest at PFS
A place to nest (and homes for bees). Photo by Emily Lapayowker/NWF

Want to make your garden more wildlife friendly? Visit our Garden for Wildlife page for more information on how to attract wildlife to your space.

Join Now
| ,
Published: March 10, 2016