A Visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show

1 Frames

The theme of this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show, which runs through Sunday, is ARTiculture. Art museums, including the Guggenheim, the Getty, and the Smithsonian, have teamed up to produce spectacular exhibits.

2 Pool

The show is crowded, commercial, expensive ($32 per ticket + parking) and wonderful. There’s snow on the ground in Philadelphia, but landscape and floral designers have brought spring—and all seasons—inside in a series of showy displays. Above, the “ARTiculture Garden” at the show entrance.

3 Competition

The competition section features entries from local horticulturists and garden club members.

4 Chamaecyparis

I was most enthralled by the succulents and the evergreens.

5 MrsAnderson

One of the most touching displays is the collection of blue ribbons won by Mrs. Samuel M. V. Hamilton, described as “one of the most prolific and passionate participants in the Flower Show’s horticulture classes… a fierce competitor who eagerly sought new challenges.” Mrs. Hamilton retired from competition this year, but “generously offered to display some of her favorite specimens,” including her topiaries, flowering trees, orchids, and clivias, which surround her awards.

6 EuphorbiaEsculenta

Current prize-winning plants include this Euphorbia Esculenta (above) and Hart’s Tongue Fern (below).

7 CurlyFern

8 Niche

In the floral design section of the competition, themes are expressed in niches the size of department-store windows.

9 Shopping

And (after watching a few live demonstrations and taking a breath) there is, of course, shopping. The Marketplace consists of twelve aisles of vendors selling fresh plants and flowers, garden furniture, decor, seeds, pottery, jewelry, antiques, vases. Judging by what people are carrying around, a bunch of pussy willows at $3.95 is one of the most popular purchases.

I couldn’t go home without a few wonderful things to plant, and after some deliberation, chose three ferns from Wedgewood Gardens in Glen Mills, PA. A future prize winner in the making?

10 WedgewoodGardens

Then, dinner at Vedge Restaurant on Locust Street. On Saturday, Chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby will be demonstrating their unique vegan recipes in the show’s “Garden to Kitchen” studio.

About writedesigner

Graphic designer, writer, and gardener Ellen Shapiro is based in Irvington, New York. A frequent contributor to design blogs and magazines including Print, Imprint, Salon.com, Communication Arts, and Etapes, she writes about trends, issues and personalities in design, illustration, photography, and visual culture around the world.
This entry was posted in Flower and Plant Shows, Horticulture, Nurseries and Garden Centers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show

  1. Pru Montgomery says:

    Dear Ellen,
    What a treat. We used regularly to attend this show when we had family living in the city. Your photos have caught the excitement and the verve and the amazing excellence of it all… including the shopping! Thanks for the blast from the past!
    All best, Pru

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