How the Philadelphia Flower Show practically ushered in the Spring


The Philadelphia International Flower Show went well last week.  Over 250,000 visitors packed the PA Convention Center’s floral oasis, looking for a taste of spring and exotic plants from around the globe.  Looking back, I’m amazed to see that the show seemed to mark the transition from deep winter snow to pre-spring balminess.

Thursday, my second day of Flower Show setup, started extra wet and frigid. And the snow increased through the day.
By the end of the day this was my car at the Malvern train station. It was hazardous getting home but a fairly mild storm compared to the previous few.
Bags and bags of flowers waited at the ready while pungent piles of fertilized soil were plopped in place by construction equipment.
The Indian Wedding displayed by Jamie Rothstein included a life-sized elephant topiary complete with pink nail polish.
These carnation flamingos in the Burke Bros. Brazilian display, were one of the many exotic animals created by natural plant materials.
Over at the New Zealand display, the Blandys of Stony Bank Nursery pulled off a 3 part garden that incorporated indigenous plants and cultural symbols, with British gardens.
The Camden Children’s Garden created an edible garden display sponsored by Campbell’s Soup. It had all the makings of a salad like lettuce, tomatoes, even broccoli.
Meadowbrook Farm is a popular vendor and grower of many of the plants in the show.
Almost every hour there was a performance on the showcase stage. The night of the Preview Party was full of great performances.
The Brazilian musical group Minas serenaded us with samba tunes and this dancer made me think of carnival or the West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn.
This giraffe made of wires, glass, and orchids loomed over the South African display.
This is my mom at the Preview Gala. The mannequins in the background were completely clothed in plant materials. The South African Display, from AIFD, received a People’s Choice award.
Schaffer Designs used simple shapes and stark white to mimic the cold natural world of the North Pole.
I took the R5 regional rail into Philadelphia most days and this train attendant really knew how to celebrate. Read about it on the Flower Show blog, which I also contribute to.
MODA Botanica used old shipping crates to build an innovative modern display. This was a personal favorite because I love graffiti.
I brought my Grandma to the show towards the end of the week. She liked the clever displays like AIFD’s but I think she really enjoyed the more traditional gardens.
In addition to the amazing professional displays there were amateur class competitions with gorgeous entries.
These odd-looking plants, known as corpse flowers or voodoo lilies, are known to have an impressive smell when they open. By impressive I mean, nasty (they call it corpse flower for a reason). I’m kind of glad it didn’t open completely during the show.
This was a floral birthday party and although the frame is a bit pretentious, the off-center view makes a neat picture.
This Indian wedding display was so romantic one couple used it as the site of their engagement. Read about it here.
This last view is of the entrance from the Horticultural Society’s offices on the third floor. As you can see the show was jam-packed from the first to the final day.

By the last day of the show the weather had warmed up so much that much of the snow in the area had melted. And in the beginning of the following week the earliest flowers started popping up.  Of course I know not to get my hopes too high when it comes to the weather. The lions and lambs of March are fickle around here.  But it’s encouraging to see the grass again and know that the cold doesn’t last forever.

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