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.
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.
The competition section features entries from local horticulturists and garden club members.
I was most enthralled by the succulents and the evergreens.
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.
Current prize-winning plants include this Euphorbia Esculenta (above) and Hart’s Tongue Fern (below).
In the floral design section of the competition, themes are expressed in niches the size of department-store windows.
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?
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.