Growing up in a classic Philly rowhouse, we were lucky to have a small patch of lawn in front of the house that we shared with a neighbor and never used as it was my dad’s territory – the lawn had to be perfect. The backyard was the dog’s territory. So no trees, no flowers, no gardens growing up, my only outlet was the Philadelphia Flower Show. When I moved into my home, I thought I would have a chance to have a garden and try my thumbs at beautiful flowers. Sadly, not possessing a green thumb and with the challenges of living on a sloped property with animals, I quickly learned that the garden of my dreams was a bit out of reach. This was clearly demonstrated to me when the deer allowed the plants to grow only to eat them down to the roots or when I had installed cabbage flowers that lasted less than a day when the groundhog or rabbit or other animal in the area ate them. So my garden, if you will, consists of green plants that animals don’t like which doesn’t provide the colorful and fragrant images that i envisioned welcoming guests to my home. I’ve tried to find a landscaper who is up for the challenge of the land and the chess game with the animals but so far, no willing participants.
It’s a Brilliant Theme
With the British theme of “Brilliant”, the Philadelphia Flower Show, I was keenly interested in attending after years of indifference. Working for a British company and visiting London for many years, I was intrigued to see how they would interpret this theme. As you enter the convention center show floor you are greeted by wonderful volunteers in front of the imaginative gates with royal crown and filled with flowers. You can choose to proceed straight down the red carpet lined by trees toward the Big Ben video screens or do as I did and make the classic right turn to start at the first display.
How could I not be lured to the very happy 60’s theme – it just made everyone smile who entered. Peace, Love, Britain!
I then had a short wait in the queue (British for line) for the “Jack” display. The display’s use of light provided the chilling feeling of dread to represent the Jack the Ripper theme.
With a bit of a lighter feeling, the cricket display of the field house was cute. Memories of my one and only cricket match last year came flooding back.
Walking to the next display, you could see the theme of “London Fog” rising from the water and covered by a myriad of umbrellas. The lone red umbrella was to represent Princess Kate. It was an artistic display hampered (at least for photo purposes) by the reminder that you were in a convention center.
Flowers as Art
I continued to wander the floor and then I found my nirvana – what I would call the art section. Various representations of flowers and UK themes brought to life with flowers. There were fascinators (hats), artistic interpretations, window displays and miniature displays to name a few – it was bringing the art gallery inside the Flower Show and I loved it. In addition to lacking a green thumb, my artistic skills are limited to stick figures for an awesome game of Hangman. To see the children’s wall from kindergarten to high school, wow! just wow! I strongly encourage you to allow time to look at this section.
The UK Gardens and Crown Jewels
Now reminded of my lack of artistic skill, I continued to wander the floor – the next stop was one of the most fragrant and colorful with so many different types of flowers. The presenter was from the UK and this represented a garden that most i feel could achieve if the flowers can grow here.
My favorite display was the crown jewels – everything floral – so creative, so gorgeous.
Next to an important lesson for kids of all ages in a presentation by the Philadelphia Water Department called “The Power of Poop” – innovative methods of using wastewater for energy were explained. The abundance of sunflowers drew many to the exhibit.
Stopping for the bonsai trees, always a fascinating favorite of mine, was a reminder of the artistic passion involved in gardening extended to the bonsai tree. There was a live demonstration. My last stop was the Hamilton Horticort – a first year for this display of individual talents showcasing flowers and plants. It was nice to see individual achievements recognized.
Given my lack of garden needs, I skipped the vast array of vendors on-site whereas others were shopping the lanes quite enthusiastically picking up supplies, seeds and other garden related gifts. As I attended after work, I missed the afternoon session and the “make your own fascinator” session (finally a hat that would fit my head!). There were still lectures and demos on the show floor during my visit.
Final Thoughts – The Philadelphia Flower Show
There is so much more to the Philadelphia Flower Show that I think people of all ages and garden interests will find something to delight them. They offer early morning pre-show tours (additional fee) and evening VIP theme nights (additional fee). The show runs through Sunday, March 10th. As the weekends are quite busy, I would suggest splitting the visit up (you can get your hand stamped for re-entry) and break for lunch or dinner in the area – there are a number of excellent options in the area such as El Vez and Zavino with dessert at Capogiro.
Tickets and more information as well as the app can be found here: The Flower Show