At least someone’s numbers are up!


Susan linked to this article in the New York Times to illustrate how garden shows have been suffering and some even shutting down in this economic annus horribilis. But apparently, the Philly show not only did well given the economy, it did better than it did in 2008. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the attendance of 245,000 is actually about 10,000 more than 2008.

Not a spectacular leap in attendance but in any area where things are better, not worse, there is cause for celebration. The show’s organizers suggest that people needed something to lift their spirits. I will be interested to see how Canada Blooms, which I am attending in a few days, fares this year. It is considered one of the big shows on the garden show circuit, and usually features some very forward-thinking display gardens as well as some great floral displays.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. I wonder when the reporter interviewed Duane Kelly. I’m thinking it must have been before this year’s show because otherwise I’m sure Duane would have told the reporter that attendance for NWFG was up 3% this year over last year or 54,443 over 52,692. That’s close to the 4% or so increase for the Philadelphia Flower Show (if I did my math right, that is).

    When I first heard the numbers, I thought maybe the increase was because many had heard it was the show’s last year (even if it’s sold, it’s the last year Duane will lead) and that accounted for the increase in attendance. Or maybe it’s because Duane had done his research, finding out what today’s gardeners, especially younger gardeners, want and adjusted his show accordingly. But given Philly’s increase, maybe there’s another reason and the one given that people want something to lift their spirits is a worthy contender in the game of why. Whatever the reason, I’m heartened to hear of the successes.

  2. New York Times? In the words of Henry Ford: BUNK! I was at the Seattle show with Timber Press and we’ve never been busier. The floor was packed and all the vendors reported the same uptick in business.

  3. I worked a vendor booth the final weekend of the Philly show and we got slammed!! I thought it must have been the cold temps at the beginning of the week followed by the extra warm temps on my weekend. Whatever the reason – a good time was had by all. It was hard to imagine a down economy with the crazy way people were spending.

    I also worked a booth last year and it wasn’t anything like this year.

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