Months before the event is set to occur, Brendan Malm, a junior marketing major, has already decided he’s taking his grandmother to the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Along with Malm, senior biology major Nick Vallerio, junior management information systems major Muhammad Alkurdi, senior biology major Duy Quan, senior entrepreneurship major Suliman Aljarbooa and junior entrepreneurship major Nick Canonica are all students in professor Jean Wilcox’s Entrepreneurial Marketing class. The class requires groups of students to pair up with a charity or nonprofit organization.
Malm and his classmates were among 150 volunteers who planted nearly 20,000 flower bulbs on Oct. 20 to celebrate the announcement of the 2017 show’s theme: “Holland: Flowering the World.”
With help from Philadelphia volunteers, members of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society planted the bulbs to begin preparations for the show, planned for March, according to the press release.
“The planting of the bulbs along the parkway this year was in correspondence with announcing our theme for the flower show,” said Sam Lemheney, the chief of shows and events for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. “It will also carry on our tradition of beautifying the city and is something that will help carry the theme of the flower show beyond the ten days it runs.”
The bulbs were donated by Breck’s, a company that exports Dutch bulbs to America.
“Holland is definitely known for providing flowers to the world, tulips and bulbs, and other flowers through their flower auction,” Lemheney said. “The thing we really want to stress in all of this is so much more than bulbs. [Holland is] really innovative with green and sustainable designs and we want to make sure we showcase that.”
The bulbs were planted at the Swann Memorial Fountain in Logan Square, the Rodin Museum gardens, the Azalea Garden in Fairmount Park, JFK Boulevard west of 20th Street, the PHS Headquarters and Gas Station Garden at 20th and Arch streets.
“We did a survey in the beginning of the year to gauge our interest in different things and we all agreed that art was something we prioritized higher up than the other students,” Malm said.
The students said their classmates chose organizations like Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society and Cradles to Crayons, but the PHS piqued their interest.
“We just talked with each other and decided that PHS sounded like a good organization to work with,” Malm said.
Alkurdi said the group dug at least 200 holes for bulbs.
Even though the bulb planting is complete, their work isn’t over.
“I think really we go up until the end of the semester to try to raise as much money or volunteer as many hours as possible,” Vallerio said. “Then we do a final presentation [to show] what we achieved and accomplished to help this organization.”
The group will also have a table set up in Alter Hall on Wednesday to raise awareness for the PHS.
For some of the students, this volunteer experience may lead to their first time going to the flower show.
“It is next year, so I don’t know if we would all go together, but it is pretty popular. All my family members go,” Vallerio said. “I’ve personally never been to one so who knows, maybe I will.”
Kimberly Burton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.