2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show Goes Hawaiian

Recently I was extremely fortunate to be invited to work at a good friends vendor booth in the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show. In the off-season of nursery and landscape design work, this was a fabulous bit of good fortune! My friend Barbara Sanderson, owner and artist at Glass Gardens NW sells her glass garden art all over the country and this show was a HUGE opportunity to show off her glass to another sector of the market. So, I took this fortuitous moment to blog about the show for those of you around the country who might not be able to go to such a remarkable event. This will be the first of a few different posts covering the show.

The largest indoor flower show in the world blooms in Philadelphia every March at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The country’s premier landscape designers and florists are featured and turn 10 acres of exhibit space into a floral fantasy world with exotic plants and eclectic designs.

The economic impact of the Philadelphia International Flower Show extends much longer than the eight-day event and far beyond the walls of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

  • $61 million economic impact
  • The equivalent of 637 full-time jobs
  • $8 million in city, state and federal tax revenue
  • 25,000 hotel room nights

The Philadelphia International Flower Show has been a Philadelphia tradition since 1829. The Show has evolved from a gathering of professional growers showcasing their prized plants to the largest and oldest indoor flower show in the nation. Revenues generated by the Philadelphia Flower Show help support the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s outreach program Philadelphia Green. The program provides technical support and encouragement to thousands of residents, community groups, and public and private agencies who work together to transform Philadelphia’s communities and public landscapes into vibrant green spaces.

More than 150 vendors, from across the United States and as far away as the country of Wales, sell plants, flowers, orchids, sheds (even a small barn!), floral-inspired furniture from the romantic to the practical, artwork, unique food and garden-related crafts and supplies.

Growers and horticulturists from around the world showcase their prized plants and compete for prestigious honors.  More than 580 artistic and horticultural classes are exhibited with more than 2,000 entries in classes ranging from miniature settings to pressed plants.

There is no way I could possibly do justice to the show in one post, so I made this fun video. It’s my first time making a video like this- I had a blast! I hope you get a wee little taste of what some of the show was like. I have huge quantities of pics still to share over the coming weeks.

Since it’s unseasonably warm in many parts of the country, you may already have Spring, for those of us in the cold areas like Seattle, this is a bit of a tropical respite from our rain, hail, snow, rain, hail snow scenario!  Let’s all raise a glass to toast to the beginning of Spring. Cheers!

Super-Models of Flowers

When you think of photographing a stunningly beautiful woman, these days, Victoria’s Secret or Vogue magazine are most likely to corner the market on the cream of the crop of what’s now referred to as the “Super-Model”. The model who sets the standard and defines the woman who can make a camera and a photographer look like a genius simply because they were in the room.

This was what occurred to me when I went to the Volunteer Park Conservatory recently. I needed to find some heat and some lovely growing things in this El Nino winter we’re having of gray, rain, and more rain and gray.

Smack! Right as you enter the Conservatory, there was an amazing display of Orchids. Now, one can look at lovely orchids on sale in a greenhouse, or at a flower show, but I have never seen them in a naturalistic, garden setting before. Bravo to the Volunteer Park Conservatory for this fantastic display!


This Super-Model forgot her waxing appointment. 🙂

Locked away behind cage fronts, these beauties were not easy to photograph, and I am certainly no pro photographer either. But, these ladies, stood up tall and proud and showed me their BEST side, as easy as if they were born doing it. Orchids ARE the super-models of flowers. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.

Roses are lovely and gracious, but Orchids, seem to actually be performing as soon as you pick up the camera and begin to focus. Here are some of my favorite pics from that day. Enjoy!

Seattles Conservatory- A Delight for the Senses In Winter

Finding a way to get your gardening urges met in the Northwest anytime before February is an act of pure dedication. It’s usually just too wet and cold. With cold being purely relative to what those experience in other parts of the country, our version of cold does have its opportune moments. But, the bottom line is, that until the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, we find our “needs” fulfilled through seed catalogs, and rushing out during the odd break in the weather to go do some winter pruning or quick clean up chores.

This New Years week however, I was determined to get a dose of warmth, greenery and inspiration long before February, bulbs, seeds and the first of the winter blooming plants. I decided that a pilgrimage to the  http://www.volunteerparkconservatory.org/was deeply in order. And, WOW was I happy I did it. This 100 year old glass conservatory is a precious gem in the Emerald City. The photographs I came away with from this trip are enough to satisfy my urges for quite some time!

Upon entering the elegant, antique glass house, the temperature hits you like a brick. There is a small entry area, where it seems, most people start to strip down immediately to enjoy life without 5 layers for a while.

Then the first thing you see are the Orchids. Utterly spectacular displays behind wire cages, safe from sticky fingers who might try to make off with souvenirs.

The house that shows off the tallest plants is green and lush with a dense jungle feeling. Then you can go left or right to venture into the other sections of this giant glass house. It was a bit odd though, I always felt like someone was watching me. 😉

To the right is the Seasonal House, changing out seasonally to showcase the latest and greatest. The Holiday displays were still up this week, showing off the lovely poinsettia and foliage combos.

Beyond the Seasonal House is the Arid or Desert House with the spectacular cacti, succulents and sedum that may be ubiquitous in many parts of the country, but here, they are a rare treat.

Sinningia Leuchatricha

Heading back the other direction, you feel like you should be hearing tropical birds and monkeys swinging about as you enter the Tropical House. The pictures in the grid at the top of this post gives you a small taste of what the colors were like. Such a unique thing to see on a cold gray day!

Beyond the tropicals were the Cycad House. A very architectural group of plants fill this lush house with foliage colors and textures.

After I got my fill of the heat and humidity of the Conservatory, I came outside to a fairly sunny day. DOUBLE bonus! Here are some shots I took on my way to the car and a few I pulled over to take on my way home.

I hope you enjoyed my day at the Volunteer Park Conservatory. I certainly got my fix- for a little while. 🙂

An IMPORTANT update on this post from January 2012:

End of the road for Volunteer Park Conservatory?

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