Pictures-Philadelphia Flower Show 2011

corunum z6 CT(6)March 10, 2011

If you're interested in seeing some pictures, I was at the show March 8th. These pictures are the best I could do with the camera which was frequently raised above my head and out of eye view to snap a shot. Not having been to this show before, I have no comparison. However, this show is decidedly a floral design show versus say, a gardening show, and its theme is "Springtime in Paris", hence the mock-up of the base of the Eiffel Tower and a mini Arc de Triomphe. Very sophisticated floral designs and perfect timing all around for about the best maximum flower opening. Amazing feat by the growers. The show is partitioned into 3 separate areas covering about 32 acres: Section A houses all the floral work, Section B houses seating for lessons, Smith and Hawkins, large Lee Valley tools display, et al., and, Section C houses hundreds of vendors carrying most of the typical flower show 'things-for-sale'. The Seed Exchange got my money as did our several trips through the Reading Terminal Market which is directly across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Would you believe 1.25lbs of French string beans for $.99? Yup! It was a fun two day adventure -views of New York City through the clouds - from Amtrak rails.


Click this link and when you're there, if you want Slideshow, click where it says Slideshow above the 1st picture on the left.

Here is a link that might be useful: Philadelphia Flower Show pictures

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

So that's what spring looks like! I'd almost forgotten about green leaves and flowers.... I think I need a greenhouse full of orchids, and an ostrich, and some Hippeastrum Rose Cybister, not to mention a hero/sub like the ones across the street, and a lot of other stuff. And all of it comes with a nice train ride.

Thanks for a mini micro vacation!


    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 4:27PM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

I'm going on Saturday. I'm really excited! Thanks for giving me a sneak peek!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:17PM
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Thanks, those were great. I agree that it's more of a floral design show - something about all that massed color that doesn't quite appeal as much as the little garden vignettes. Love the Reading Terminal Market, too - sorry I missed it this year, so it was nice to have a chance to see your photos.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Nice shots ! You should be working for the Flower Show's promotion
department. . .having seen this year's presentation, I must say that you
certainly captured the spirit of the show ! C'mon down, folks, you've
still got a few days. . .


    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Thanks so much for posting, Jane. 32 acres?! Simply amazing!!

For others who have been before, is the emphasis on floral design typical or just in keeping with this year's theme?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 7:30AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Nice! When I saw those hyacinths, I was wishing I could smell them too!

Technically, I can say I have been to this show before. However, since I was about 10 years old and much more interested in seeing the Liberty Bell from the bus as we passed by, I can't really comment on the experience. Too bad I didn't appreciate it at the time!

Thanks, Jane, for sharing these. Seeing those blooms is wonderful on this dreary day!

(Have fun Deb!)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:25AM
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I've only been once, last year. It was definitely more focused on floral arrangements - including bedding plants - than the Boston or Providence shows.

In the summer, that kind of overly brilliant display usually leaves me cold, but in March, all the color is welcome.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 10:22PM
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"Is the emphasis on floral design typical or just in keeping with this
year�s theme?"

Interesting question, Babs, and one we have been asking ourselves
a lot these last few years. . .it turns out there are a lot of complicated
and overlapping reasons.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), which produces the show,
celebrated it's 175th anniversary with the show in 2004. . .but it also
marked the retirement of Ed Lindemann, the show's brilliant designer/
director for 25 incredible years. In an organization as large as PHS, a
staff change at that level can have all kinds of ripple effects; just five
years later, another tecotnic shift when the longtime president of PHS,
Jane Pepper, stepped down. So, with fresh blood and new ideas at the
highest levels, plus the show's dramatic new visibility in it's new home in central Philadelphia since 1996, AND the study this season which showed
that the Flower Show has a 61 million dollar economic impact on the city. . .
well, the landscape has changed. In order to keep the show growing and
earning dollars - it IS a fundraiser, after all, and the primary means by which
PHS supports all it's other remarkable programs like Philadelphia Green -
there is the understandable inclination to try to make the show more
accessible to the general (non-gardening) public, i.e. popularizing it.
Stunning floral displays - as in the Rose Bowl Parade - are a logical way
to go, albeit not to the taste of many gardeners. Don't get me wrong: even
as a diehard gardener, I have to admit that some of these displays are awesome. . .just look at some of Jane's pictures again!

Along with this trend toward "popularization", consider the economics:
being an exhibitor in a show of this magnitude is crushingly expensive,
which partially explains the recent attrition rate - two years ago, we lost
one of the biggest and best exhibitors in recent memory, J. Franklin
Styer Nurseries, who would win Best-In-Show medals year after year.
These were the kind of garden displays we would make a beeline for every
year: "What did Styer come up with this year?" Why the swan song? Styer
was bought out by Urban Oufitters in 2009, and has been transformed
into an upscale place called "Trend", a sort of Smith & Hawkin-on-steroids.
I'll pause momentarily while we all shudder. . .

This year, we lost another major exhibitor, J. Cugliotta Landscape/Nursery which was already in it's third generation at the show. . .still haven't heard
the scoop on this retirement, but I can't help wondering if it didn't have
something to do with the demise of their #1 competitor over the years,
J. Franklin Styer. We also lost Lindekin Water Gardens, where you could
always expect to find fascinating ponds, pools, streams, waterfalls and all
things water related. . .gone.

For many of these landscapers/nurseries, it must be hard to justify the
daunting expense (many thousands of dollars) of a major display, unless it
is generating compensatory new business. And the additional labor costs
of installing a garden display are far greater than for a floral design display -
and as much as I hate to say it (because I'm generally pro-union) the labor
unions at these big convention halls are making a killing . . .thank heaven for
the thousands of volunteers donating endless hours of time throughout the shows' entire run. It literally could not go on without them. . .

In all honesty, I think the days of those overwhelming, jaw-dropping garden displays we all salivated over, are basically done. . .I'm just grateful to have
had a ring-side seat all these years. I cut my teeth on The Boston Flower
Show (at the old Horticultural Hall across from Symphony Hall) when I was
just a little tyke; and then I discovered my first Philadelphia Flower Show
back in the 1960's, and I haven't missed too many since then. There are
glimmers of hope: Michael Petrie, the brilliant designer for all the Styer
exhibits since 2001, now has his own outfit, called Handmade Gardens,
and they had TWO displays this year, both of them exceptional. The huge
Horticourt, which displays all the competitive classes (it's a whole show
unto itself!) is very much alive and thriving. As always, PHS insists that
all the 130+ vendors in the Marketplace be "garden related" - no fear of
being hustled to purchase life insurance or the latest kitchen gadget! There are two major corporate sponsors now (this kind of thing has been evolving over the last decade): PNC Bank (which hired Handmade Gardens to create one the very best gardens in the show) and Subaru. . .while I'm not wild about a car sitting on the show floor, at least it is parked on cobbles next to a garden! Pet Peeve: this Subaru garden is always quite lovely, BUT THE PLANTS ARE NEVER LABELED, and of course the "car" people staffing the exhibit are clueless as to anything around them in the garden. . .actually, my friend and I had fun with them this year, teaching them the names of all "their" plants !

Heaven forfend! I seem to have rattled on here ad nauseum. . .my apologies,
but flower shows are one my passions. Anyone want to join me at the show
out in Cincinatti this year?


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:27AM
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Thanks for all the info, Carl. I really prefer the landscapes, both for the botany and the design. Even at this time of year that type of floral display doesn't really float my boat, so if there are more of the flowery displays, I think I'll give it a miss unless I am going to couple it with a trip to Philadelphia for another reason. Boston still devotes more space to landscapes than just flowers.

What is the Cincinatti show like? Do you travel there just for the show? I'll be in the Cleveland area then, but don't think I will have the time to go since I'm helping my mom with moving prep & it's about a 5 hour trip if I am remembering correctly after many years of not living in Ohio.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 3:23PM
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I have to say that at least last year, the displays at the Philly show that were outright floral arrangements did knock my socks off - they were actual Art, and interesting to boot. Much more sophisticated than their counterparts at Boston, as I recall, although to be fair I usually didn't pay much attention to that department at the old New England shows.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 6:28PM
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