Snowed in spring

a daunting task at the Philly flower showWhen I made my winter vacation request for last week I asked the universe for extra warm weather so that I could get a jump on spring.  It snowed instead.  But it really didn’t matter because I was lucky enough to be snowed in at the Philadelphia Flower show.  An Italian spring was in full mid-summer bloom there.  Now, I have to admit to you that, in general, I am not the biggest fan of these spring flower shows.  There’s something that doesn’t hit me quite right when I see delphiniums and daffodils blooming together – my family likened it to my aversion to bent spoons.  They think I’m weird.  (I know I am.)  But I have to say that the sheer florabundance of the show was truly overwhelming and like every one else I was drop jawed at the “Milan” display of horti-couture.  Shoes made from plants?  It’s as perfect a combination as chocolate and peanut butter.  And I would totally wear the twig dress!

Shoes!Orange shoes!Butterfly dressgreen leafy dresstwiggy

My other favorite part of the show was the Horticourt where people – mostly ordinary every day people as opposed to professional growers – had entered their prized specimen plants in hopes of winning … well, a prize.  I can’t imagine being a judge for any of the classes and categories in the Horticourt – all of the plants were beautiful, healthy, perfectly groomed and eminently covet-able.  So of course I stopped through the Marketplace on the way out to … purchase plants (as if I need any more).  Maybe one day I’ll shoot for a blue ribbon at a flower show too.

The HorticourtTaking care of even the tiniest entries2 of the largest entries - both as big as kitchen tables

The really interesting thing is that the Philadelphia Flower Show is produced by the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society and is a fundraiser for an amazing program called Philadelphia Green. According to their website, Philadelphia Green was started in 1974 and is  “the nation’s most comprehensive urban greening program”.  Jane Pepper, president of PHS, showed the group I was with some really inspiring slides of vacant land reclamation and beautification (the befores and afters were truly stunning), thriving community gardens, and their growing (pun intended) partnership with the Philadelphia Prison System – inmates sow seeds for community gardens in their greenhouses and a lot of their produce is distributed to local food pantries.  Coming into town on the train, I happened to notice what had to have been one of the Green’s community gardens in a neighborhood that looked like it might be on the wrong side of the tracks.  I’ll have to go back to get a glimpse of it under cultivation.  And I definitely want to go back.  I’d never been to Philadelphia or the flower show and they’re both high on my list now for do overs.

Did you make it to the show and what did you love about it?  – Or were you snowed in?

5 thoughts on “Snowed in spring

  1. I love the smell and the artistry of a flower show and those shoes….over the moon! Do they come in my size? Made it to the RI Flower Show and went to PA many years ago. Every few years is enough don’t you think? How many trips with that watering can were necessary to thoroughly water that first container?

    Layanee, they wouldn’t let me try on the shoes and can you believe they didn’t give that man a hose?! -kris

  2. I missed our local flower show…the thing I don’t like is all the merchandise…Except for plant material. When I go to a lawn and garden show I really don’t need to see Cham-moos or brooms for sale! Gail

    Gail, there were a lot of chotchkies for sale in Philadelphia but definitely more tools and plants than at the RI show. -kris

  3. I just love the Philadelphia Show – it is one of the best in the world – did you manage to cover everything in just one day?

    Marion, I’m not more of a cruiser than a lingerer – except at the for-sale plants booth… -kris

  4. I love the shoes and dresses… certainly leaves one longing for spring! I attended the Vermont Flower Show last weekend. It made for a nice afternoon. Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd spoke about their new book, which certainly made it worthwhile. Otherwise, I felt that they really needed more plants, believe it or not. There were some lovelies, but no treasures to be found. I am glad you enjoyed yourself. Thank you for sharing the pictures!

    Liisa, That book is on my list to read… I’ll bet it’s extra tough to force plants in chilly Vermont! -kris

  5. looks like the same places appealed to us. I need to post my photos of the sunflower hat and the lavender shoes at Flickr

    Wayne, I have a shot of that hat too – but I don’t remember the lavender shoes. Did you get any shots of the shoes over in the floral arrangements display section that were made completely of plant material? My camera battery had died by the time I got over there… -kris

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