Archive for January, 2012

Through Laura’s Lens: Terrific Tropicals

January 31, 2012

Hospitable Hawaii opens its arms to thousands of tropical and semi-tropical plant species in its many public and private gardens. To get you ready for Hawaii: Islands of Aloha, here are some photos of tropical beauties from the 2010 and 2011 Shows.

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Terrific tropicals are also good plant companions in colder climates—in greenhouses and in flower arrangements, on windowsills, in containers, and in the landscape. Grow some as annuals, winter others indoors. You’ll find hundreds of tropical inspirations at Hawaii: Islands of Aloha, March 4-11, 2012. For more information or to order tickets online, visit

Help Us Make the Perfect Playlist

January 27, 2012

This year’s exhibit from Celebrations Design Group will illustrate how music awakens the creative energies in all of us. As such, floral creations will pay tribute to some of the great pop artists of today and yesterday.

But Tom Covello and his team need your help in assembling the ultimate party playlist. Tell us which of the artists below is your personal favorite, or nominate someone else.

Cuckoo for Kukui!

January 26, 2012

Here’s some insider knowledge for those who can’t wait for the Flower Show!

When you come to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, take a look at the leis worn by PHS staff.

Don’t expect pastel colors because these leis aren’t made from flowers. Instead you’ll be looking at the kukui nut.

Here is a photo of Aleurites moluccana in nature. Its native range is impossible to establish precisely because of early spread by humans, and the tree is now distributed throughout the New and Old World tropics.

It grows to a height of 49–82 ft, with wide-spreading or pendulous branches. The nut is round, 1.6–2.4 inches in diameter; the seed inside has a very hard seed coat and a high oil content, which can be used in candle-making.

Because the oil can burn for hours, the nut carries a spiritual meaning of light, hope, and renewal.

According to some sources we uncovered, the oil of the kukui nut has also been used medicinally by Hawaiians to help treat asthma, stomach aches, and swelling. It can also serve as tattoo dye.

A tiny nut sure can do a lot! Look for kukui necklaces when you come to the Flower Show.

Forcing for the Flower Show and Other Meadowbrook Events

January 25, 2012

By now I sincerely hope you’ve blocked out time to attend the world famous Flower Show. But if you’re too excited to wait for March, you’ll be happy to learn Meadowbrook Farm is hosting three events to get you in the right frame of mind for Hawaii: Islands of Aloha. 

The Secrets of Forcing Plants for the Flower Show
Wednesday, February 1, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Since 1982 John Story has been the brains behind the art and science of convincing plants of all kinds to bloom in harmony for the Philadelphia International Flower Show–in conditions and at a time of the year when they would all rather be asleep. John’s talk will be sprinkled throughout with war stories from thirty years of Shows. The presentation will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. Click here to register. Contact Carol Dutill for more information.

Tropical Plant Sale
Saturday, February 4, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tropical plants make great houseplants and blooms and foliage alike are sure to brighten up any room in your home. Shop Meadowbrook Farm on Saturday, February 4 to enjoy 20 percent off amazing orchids, beautiful begonias, unusual cacti and succulents, carnivorous plants and more! PHS Members save 30 percent!

Meadowbrook experts will be on hand all day to answer your questions and help you choose the right plants for your home. You can also pick out pots—distressed clay pots, vintage verdigris containers, glazed ceramics—and get help pairing them with pots. Also check out Meadowbrook’s selection of fertilizers for every variety of plant as well as special soil blends for orchids, begonias, ferns, and more.

While you’re there, make sure to warm up by sampling some of Christina Maser’s soups like shiitake mushroom, white bean chicken chili and warming chicken barley. Soups, jams, and spreads will be sampled throughout the day, starting at 10 am.

Flower Show Behind the Scenes:
Tour the Meadowbrook Greenhouses
Wednesday, February 22, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon

How do all those out-of-season plants bloom just in time for the Philadelphia International Flower Show? The magic happens at Meadowbrook Farm. Join John Story and staff as they lead a tour through the greenhouses, highlighting the unusual plants being grown for displays at the 2012 Show, Hawaii: Islands of Aloha. You will see them first at Meadowbrook and learn the fascinating, intricate details that are part of this amazing horticultural balancing act. Light refreshments will be served after the tour. Click here to register. Contact Carol Dutill for more information.

photo: Laura Blanchard

Tropical Treasures: A Big Ole Beauty!

January 24, 2012

Thanks to Mark K. we have a great photo of a big banyan tree on the Big Island. And we mean big!

At PHS we have a plan to Plant One Million trees, but I don’t think we’d ever meet this goal if we were working with these behemoths!

Will any of this year’s exhibits incorporate the banyan? Find out yourself at the Flower Show, March 4 – 11 , 2012.

Fun Stuff in Philly for 2012

January 19, 2012

The ever-clever people at GPTMC created this fantastic video that highlights the many great things happening in Philadelphia in 2012. You’ll see the Flower Show pop up about 45 seconds in, but that’s just one of the many featured celebrations, exhibits, and experiences.

Have fun planning the next eleven-and-half months. Remember to consult when organizing your outings, even if you’re a local!

Flower Show Gets Shout-Out on Saturday Night Live!

January 18, 2012

Ricky Gervais at the Flower Show? It’s doubtful, but it would certainly prove interesting!

In case you missed it, the Flower Show received a shout-out on Saturday Night Live during a skit about the outrageous, envelope-pushing comedian/host Ricky Gervais. See “Ricky” (played by Jason Sudeikis) ridicule an unsuspecting plant here.

Please note this video contains content that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Beach Bums Welcome at Hunter Hayes Exhibit

January 17, 2012

Lauren Hilburn of Hunter Hayes Landscape Design wrote to us about the exhibit she and the team are prepping for the 2012 Hawaii-themed Show. Find out how an old car, orange bike, and pineapple plants will come together to create a laidback landscape!

“Our exhibit is called: “A Personal Paradise.”  As always, we like to ‘keep it real’ with our exhibits as to appeal to the potential client! We are creating a courtyard setting this year, complete with a 1974 vintage Subaru wagon parked in an entrance driveway! Subaru is graciously lending us this car, which I love! It is a funky looking teal-green wagon that is sure to set the mood.

From the driveway entrance we will have raised gardens retained in lava rock, stepping up through a courtyard style entrance of freestanding walls on either side. The walls will be ‘living walls’ (plants on the outside surface) and will also include a lit feature using a glass block insert—so exciting! (more…)

Tropical Treasures: More Fan Photos!

January 11, 2012

Flower Show fan Brian G. went to Hawaii and brought back  these truly breathtaking photos. They make me wish I was there right now!

Do you have photos of Hawaii to share? Help get everyone excited for Islands of Aloha by sending images and memories to

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Tropical Treasures: Photos from Hawaii

January 4, 2012

Flower Show fan Lynn K. went to Hawaii in April 2010 and took these beautiful photos. Some are from the Big Island, some are from Kauai, but they’re all gorgeous!

Do you have photos of Hawaii to share? Help get everyone excited for Islands of Aloha by sending images and memories to

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