PHILADELPHIA — For the first time, the Philadelphia Flower Show will host the FTD World Cup competition.

The FTDWorld Cup is the world’s most prestigious event for the floral industry and is a design competition that engages the most talented floral designers from around the world. It is held approximately every four to six years in a different location each time. It hasn’t been held in the U.S. since 1985.

“FTD selected the Philadelphia Flower Show as the host of the design competition for its amazing reputation as a stellar floral event in the United States,” said Emily Bucholz, a spokesperson for Florists’ Transworld Delivery (FTD).

Also, they chose the Philadelphia Flower Show for “the excitement and appreciation by the PHS team to bring this level of international talent to the Flower Show and the convenient East Coast location,” she said.

Sam Lemheney, PHS chief of shows and events, said, “PHS is honored to have the FTD World Cup and this group of inspiring, talented designers at the Philadelphia Flower Show. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the universal language of flowers conveyed in such imaginative ways.”

Floral designers from 23 countries, including Japan, China, the United Kingdom and Australia, will vie for the title of Interflora World Cup champion. Guests will have the opportunity to watch the World Cup competitors at work during the opening days of the show, and their floral creations will be on view throughout the Flower Show.

Katharina Stuart will compete for the U.S., after taking first place in the FTD America’s Cup in Washington, D.C., in 2018. Now a resident of El Cerrito, Calif., Stuart grew up in Switzerland and is a third-generation avid gardener. Her love of plants led her to pursue a career in floral design.

“I am both really excited and honored to be representing the United States,” said Stuart. “I am also looking forward to visiting the Philadelphia Flower Show, which I have heard so many wonderful things about.

“I don't really have favorites; I just love everything flower- and plant-related,” she said. “What I do get excited about are new varieties or when seasonal blooms appear on the market after I haven't seen them for a while. To me, it is not necessarily about the individual flower but more about how you use a flower and how you combine it with other materials.”

Asked whether some flowers are easier to work with than others, Stuart said, “Yes, but I also think that it really depends on how you can make a flower shine and that you find the right one for your project. It's like planting a sun-loving plant in a shady spot; it's a struggle, and it usually doesn't turn out so well.”

Asked whether she starts her creations with a sketch, she said, “The creative process usually starts with searching for inspiration in books, on the internet or just by keeping my eyes open when I'm walking around. Once I have something that I want to explore further, I start sketching it out. Next step would be figuring out what materials to use to achieve the effect I am looking for. If it is a larger piece like what I am working on for World Cup, I might make a model and actual drawings.

“I find inspiration in nature, architecture, art and materials,” she added. “It might happen that I see a really cool branch and I am inspired to create a floral art piece incorporating it.”

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