MCCC Foundation Provides $10,000 in Direct Support to MCCCs Horticulture Program to Ensure Participation in 2023 Philadelphia Flower Show



West Windsor, N.J. – With seven medals over eight years at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) horticulture program students — with additional financial support this year from the MCCC Foundation — have the momentum to keep that winning streak going this March at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The oldest and largest indoor flower show in the world, the Philadelphia Flower Show is an iconic annual event that boasts fabulous large-scale gardens and beautiful landscape displays. Attracting over 250,000 people annually, the show is a mesmerizing floral experience that features stunning creations by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers.

In addition to acres of gardens, the show hosts esteemed competitions in horticulture and artistic floral arranging, gardening presentations and demonstrations over an eight-day period. 

“MCCC horticulture students begin preparing for the spring show during the fall semester, and it is an amazing learning experience,” said Horticulture and Plant Science Professor Amy Ricco. “It is literally the pinnacle of the year,” she said.

Mercer County Community College has been participating in the Philadelphia Flower Show for over nine years. The event helps students put their horticultural planning, forcing, planting, building and organizational skills to use against a tight deadline. 

“The experience is similar to working for a very tough client,” Ricco explained.

Last year’s class took home a number of awards including a silver medal, the Chicago Horticultural Society Flower Show medal and an Herb Society of America Award for its display “Releaf.”  In 2020, students won a gold medal and an Herb Society of America Award for their Mediterranean display "Verdant Veranda.” Leading up to 2020, MCCC’s medal count was one bronze, three silvers and one gold.

“These awards are the feathers in the caps of our graduates who go on to transfer or work in the industry,” said Ricco. “Preparing for the show and making it all come together is an important resume-building experience that employers look for,” she said.

Several short months ago, it looked as though the quality of MCCC’s display would be compromised due to a technical snafu.

The show, which has traditionally been held indoors at the Philadelphia Center in March, moved to the city’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park during the pandemic. The change from indoors to outdoors required a much warmer clime, so the flower show was moved to June.

“This year the show is indoors and in March,” said Ricco. “We were all jubilant until I realized we had already used a portion of this year’s budget to pay the expenses for last June’s outdoor show, so we were scrambling for funds,” she said.

Funds flowed in from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society and Mercer County Community College.

“Then the MCCC Foundation stepped in and granted us $10,000, which we desperately needed,” said Ricco. “The students and I are so very grateful to all the Foundation donors, Mercer County Community College and the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society who all together made it possible for us to compete.”

This year’s Philadelphia Flower Show theme is “The Garden Electric,” and will showcase over 30 displays. And MCCC will be competing once again for medals in the “Education” category with the theme “Majestical," focusing on the color purple.

“It is tough to center on just one color, but we are working hard to make it happen,” said Ricco. “I am just so thrilled that now we can focus on getting our work done and creating an amazing display rather than worrying about funding. It’s going to be a wonderful show this year.”

The Philadelphia Flower Show will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from March 4-12, 2023. Tickets can be purchased at

The MCCC Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) corporation that assists the college and the advancement of public higher education by broadening the base of community and financial support. For more information about the MCCC Foundation visit

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Established in 1966, Mercer County Community College is a publicly supported comprehensive institution that provides opportunities for higher education through an open-door admission policy. The scenic 292-acre West Windsor Campus was opened in 1972 to serve the needs of Mercer County residents. MCCC’s James Kerney Campus, located in downtown Trenton, serves as an educational and cultural hub for city residents that meets the changing needs of thousands of students and community members seeking educational fulfillment and personal and career growth.

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Horticulture Alyssa Smith

Mercer County Community College (MCCC) has been a participant in the Philadelphia Flower Show for nearly a decade. The event helps students put their horticultural skills to use against a tight deadline. MCCC will be competing in the “Education” category with the theme “Majestical.” (Pictured above: Horticulture student Alyssa Smith examining plants that will be used in the Philadelphia Flower show display. Smith, originally from Franklin, Tennessee, transferred from Rowan University to MCCC to pursue a degree in  horticulture.) 


Horticulture Vicky VEGA

Horticulture student Vicky Vega tending to Ajuga Black Scallop for the Mercer County Community College exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Vega will be graduating this year with an A.A.S. in Horticulture from MCCC.



Landscape Design and Landscape Construction Instructor David DeFrange (left), has been involved in every Mercer County Community College trophy win. Here he works with a student to prepare purple stepping stones as part the MCCC display at the Philadelphia Flower Show which will take place March 4-12, 2023 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.