Archive for October, 2011

“Lei” It On Us: Submit Your Hawaii Photos!

October 26, 2011

For the past few weeks we’ve followed Sam Lemheney on his travels through Hawaii, specifically the enchanting island of Oahu. (You’ll read about Maui and the Big Island in the weeks ahead.)

Now it’s your turn to share your own memories of Hawaii! We want to see your best vacation photos of tropical flowers, inspiring sunsets, smiling people, and so much more.

If you have stories to share, authentic recipes to recommend, or videos of you strumming the ukelele, we want that too!

The best will be featured here on our blog. You can email them to

2011 Flower Show a Hit at Awards Ceremony

October 19, 2011

Flower Show designer Sam Lemheney and Flower Show merchandising manager Pat Musolf (sporting the winning apron)

PHS is oh-so proud to report that the Philadelphia International Flower Show—specifically this year’s “Springtime in Paris”—received five awards from the International Festivals & Events Association.

The Flower Show was honored in a variety of programming and promotional categories, which included a Gold Award for the design of the gardening apron produced exclusively for the Flower Show—you may have bought one at the Flower Show Shop! The Show also received a Silver Award for its support of Plant One Million, a multi-state campaign to restore the region’s tree population.

Elegible entries came from around the world and were as diverse as the Indianapolis 500 Festival; Pasadena Tournament of Roses; World Gourmet Summit, Singapore; Dublin Irish Festival; Ham Pyeong Butterfly Festival, South Korea; and Rotterdam Festivals, The Netherlands.

The winners were announced at the IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Ceremony held during the association’s 56th annual convention and expo. Sam Lemheney and other PHS staff were on hand in Fort Worth, Texas to receive the honors.

The Flower Show was recognized in the following categories:






“Strange Beauties” at the McLean Library

October 12, 2011

Crassula pellucida

Sigh. Do you miss the good old days, when men were men, women were women, and horticultural societies hosted exclusive get-togethers at which charmingly eccentric Victorian plant collectors and enthusiasts would display their most exotic specimens before an equally eccentric audience of their monocle-wearing, mustachioed peers?

Of course you do. Who doesn’t? That’s why PHS is hosting “Strange Beauties,” its first plant exhibit at the McLean Library (20th and Arch Streets). Harkening to PHS’s history of mounting small exhibits—such as orchid, bulb, and rose shows during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the focus of the show will be the strange beauty of succulents—cacti, sedums, and sempervivums alike.

The exhibit will showcase exotic succulents from around the world, from Mexico to Madagascar, many of which are currently being grown by the horticulture experts at Meadowbrook Farm. Visitors will learn how to grow and care for their own succulents, and will be able to see examples of typical “green roof” plants in outdoor containers by the entrance.

The first in a series of similar plant exhibits to come, the show will start on October 31 (Halloween!) and run through December 1. For more information, call 215-988-8872 or send an email here.

Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Sacred Space

October 5, 2011

For the past few weeks Flower Show designer Sam Lemheney has shared stories from his recent trip to the Hawaiian islands. Click here for past installments. Below he describes his final stop in Oahu, the Waimea Valley.

Waimea, meaning “The Valley of the Priests,” is a highlight of my time in Oahu. It is one of the last partially intact ahupua’a (native Hawaiian land-use systems) on the island. The valley encompasses 1,875 acres and has been regarded as a sacred place by native Hawaiians for more than 700 years.

David Orr showed me the extensive and exceptional botanical collection at Waimea Valley, which includes more than 5,000 documented types of tropical and subtropical plants. I didn’t count them all, but based on my visit I have no trouble believing that number. I can’t emphasize how rare—and endangered—some of these plants are. I had never seen most of them in person before!

My stroll through the dozens of distinct gardens at Waimea revealed a rich collection of native heirloom varieties of kalo, sweet potato, and banana. It also boasts one of the state’s most extensive collections of loulu palms (including Calamagrostis hillebrandii and Pritchardia remota).

One garden is devoted to the state flower, the Hawaiian hibiscus, and all three of its endangered subspecies. Look for the hibiscus to appear on much of the special Flower Show merchandise we cook up—and you’ll see it here on the blog first!

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