Through Laura’s Lens: Plant Societies Have it All!


How do you tie a Hawaii theme to your Flower Show exhibit when you’re the American Ivy Society? Easy—you grow topiary surfer penguins. Topiary surfer penguins???

Picture of American Ivy Society's 2012 Flower Show exhibit with topiary surfer penguins

Who knew penguins could surf?

That’s right, this whimsical exhibit takes its theme from the animated film Surf’s Up, a behind-the-scenes look at the annual Penguin World Surfing Championship, set in Hawaii. It showcases many wonderful varieties of ivy and highlights its versatility in many garden settings, including topiary.

Several plant society exhibitors pack a lot of creativity into small spaces and make a charming Flower Show “neighborhood.” Take time to get to know your ivy, ferns, cacti, rhododendrons, orchids, and rock gardens. You should consider joining up with all these great groups; it’s never too early or late to pick up a new hobby and make friends in the process.

After the jump, learn about each plant society and see what they created for the 2012 Show!

American Ivy Society
Surf’s Up—A white sandy beach and a surfing penguin—what could be more inviting? This recreation of the animated movie has something for everyone, young and old. A tropical paradise, with ivies of every description, shows the diversity of this plant.

American Orchid Society
Sharing in the Spirit of Aloha—A tropical retreat awaits visitors where they can see, touch, and smell the beauty of orchids up close. American Orchid Society members from around the world share their plants, knowledge and expertise to all who wish to learn about these exotic beauties.

American Rhododendron Society, Greater Philadelphia Chapter
Rhododendrons in Paradise—This display is a section of a secluded Philadelphia garden and private patio filled with colorful rhododendrons and companion plants, some with tropical heritage. Vireyas, which are rhododendrons, are epiphytes that can be used in local gardens as long as they are wintered over in indoor conditions or greenhouses.

Delaware Valley Fern and Wildflower Society
Frond Memories—Rather than vacation in Hawaii, the Fern Society visits an estate in the Northeast whose owner is passionate about all things Hawaii, and to prove it, they have collected a wealth of memorabilia and tropical plants, especially ferns.

North American Rock Garden Society, Delaware Valley Chapter
Gardening in Tufa Rock and Troughs—A display of the jewel-like plants grown in the tufa rocks are arranged as they might be on the rocky outcroppings of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Accompanying the naturalistic tufa plantings are examples of hypertufa troughs, planted with different rocks and mulch, demonstrating that exotic materials are not necessary to create beautiful miniature rock gardens.

Philadelphia Cactus & Succulent Society
Aloe Ha!—Are there more cactus species native to Hawaii or to the Delaware Valley? The surprising answer can be found in this exhibit, which will also show a winter-hardy cactus and succulent planter that can be left outside year-round. And no, you don’t need a volcano to heat it!

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