Archive for September, 2011

Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Where History & Nature Meet

September 28, 2011

Since its establishment in 1963, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has risen to become Hawaii’s top attractions. I’m told that more than 33 million visitors have been introduced to PCC’s mission to preserve and carry on the ideals of the Polynesian people’s arts and customs. Diversity is key at PCC, where many South Pacific nations are recreated in small villages, exhibits, and authentic activities ranging from typical island crafts to critical food preparation skills and battle techniques.

Tahiti is terrific and Fiji is fantastic, but I was there to soak up all that I could about Hawaii. It is important to me that the Flower Show captures the culture and history of these amazing islands. As such, the Show is going to have a Hawaiian Village where visitors can purchase authentic, hand-made Hawaiian wares. In many cases you’ll also be able to see these artists and artisans at work.

Before I get sidetracked, I do have to take a moment to gush about the tremendous plant life on display at the PCC. I most vividly remember a large lagoon complete with waterfalls and well-maintained, lush tropical flowers. In short, the PCC enables visitors to participate in centuries of Polynesian culture and celebrate the beauty and excitement of Hawaii’s natural surroundings. If and when you visit Hawaii, pay a visit to the amazing place!

Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Coral Reefs & Inner Peace

September 21, 2011

One thing I love about Philadelphia is the number of excellent parks, including the crowning jewel, Fairmount Park. Each Philly park is different, but they’re all above sea level! Not so for Hanauma Bay, one of Oahu’s most popular areas; it was declared a protected marine life area and underwater park in 1967.

Hanauma, meaning “Curved Bay,” is actually the crater of an ancient volcano, which flooded when the volcano’s exterior walls caved in. The bay features a large coral reef and attracts many snorkelers and scuba divers. The expansive sandy beach is also popular among sunbathers and picnickers and the many walking trails along the shore provide beautiful views.

As you can imagine, water features will be incorporated into the 2012 Flower Show in a major way. I don’t want to reveal all my secrets just yet, but I can tell you two things about the entrance exhibit: One, it’s focused on water. Two, it will blow you away!

Next I went to the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. This site is the final resting place of thousands of Buddhist, Shinto, Protestant, and Catholic Hawaiians. The park’s vast, rolling green hills and natural amphitheatres of mountains overlook the ocean, providing an indescribable sense of peace and serenity.

The park is best known for the concrete replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-In Buddhist Temple of Equality, erected in 1968 to recognize the centennial anniversary of the immigration of the first Japanese to Hawaii. The Temple is seen several times in ABC’s popular television show, Lost. Surely you remember Sun and Jin’s wedding, right?

Act Fast for Fall Floral Presentation

September 16, 2011

You know how concert tickets sometimes sell out within an hour? That’s the sort of feverish response PHS received to its floral design series in October. We invited renowned designer Jouni Seppanen to lead a week of presentations, and three of the four have long since sold out.

In other words, act fast if you want to hear Jouni in person. Tickets are still available for the evening demonstration on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.

Hailing from Finland, Seppänen is a modern artist who demonstrates innovative floristry through marvelous technical execution and inventive use of mono-botanical plant material.

The demonstration and floral lecture on October 19 will inspire individuals at all skill levels. Running from 6:30 through 8:30 pm, the presentation is your chance to meet a trend-setting superstar of the floral world and sharpen your eye for design. An optional dinner precedes the lecture; all events will be held at Longwood Gardens, which is co-presenting the series.

Registration includes all-day admission to Longwood Gardens. An exclusive boutique of elite and imported items preferred by professionals will be available for your shopping convenience.

Click here to register, or contact Flossie Narducci at 215-988-8897.

Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Orchid Overload

September 14, 2011

Of all my stops in Oahu, I was most eager to visit H&R Orchids, a nursery known worldwide for its innovation in creating orchid hybrids. H&R also features an overwhelming variety of rare and unusual orchid species, many of which I had never seen before.

I was like a kid in a candy store walking around the H&R nursery. Luckily for me, however, I don’t need to go all the way to Hawaii when I need an orchid fix. Many of you are likely familiar with Waldor Orchids in Linwood, NJ (not far from Atlantic City). For years and years Waldor has contributed outstanding exhibits to the Flower Show and, frankly, I can’t imagine having a Show without them.

Now that I’m tasked with bringing Hawaii to Philadelphia, I’m counting on Walter Off and the entire Waldor team to populate the central feature with hundreds of orchids of all shapes and colors. We’ve met a few times to brainstorm and create tentative plant lists. The details will be ironed out in the months ahead, but I can say this much: if you like orchids, you’re going to love the 2012 Flower Show.

I took so many photos at H&R, I put them in a slideshow. Good luck picking a favorite!

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Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Making Waves

September 7, 2011

Surfs up, Flower Show fans! The next leg of my Hawaiian adventure brought me to the North Shore, known as the surfing mecca of the world.  The beaches of the North Shore stretch for nearly seven miles, and many world-class surfing competitions are held there every year. During the winter months, the waves are known to reach heights of more than 30 feet, making the North Shore the perfect place for thrill-seekers.

Don’t be put off by the giant waves if surfing’s not your thing though. During the summer months the waves become calm, making the beach a picturesque spot for swimming and sunbathing. Many television shows and movies have been shot at the North Shore, including Baywatch, Blue Crush, and Lost.

Surfing and Hawaii go hand-in-hand, and the Flower Show will certainly depict this ever-popular sport. In fact, I know Burke Brothers Landscape Contractors (a reliable crowd pleaser if there ever was one) are preparing a surf scene for its exhibit. Imagine business people exchanging their briefcases for board shorts and you get the general concept!

I’d love to hear your suggestions as to how to depict surf culture at the Flower Show; let me hear it in the comments section!

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