Through Laura’s Lens: Small Landscapes, Big Impact

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Tucked behind the big showcase exhibits are jewel-like small landscape displays that are packed with great ideas on ways to approach your own backyards and landscapes. Here are three; all very different, but all with something to offer the non-tropical gardener.

Picture of 2012 Kepich Display

For color, Hawaiian tropicals have nothing on the azaleas and rhododendrons seen in the Kepich & Associates display

For years, Kepich & Associates has presented a vision of springtime in the Delaware Valley with knockout displays of azaleas and rhododendrons at the Flower Show. (One year Dan Kepich even dug up two mammoth rhododendrons from a neighbor’s yard and forced them in his greenhouse!) Dan passed away shortly before the 2011 Flower Show, but his son Chris carries on the tradition with this year’s exhibit.

Dan’s long-time friend and fellow landscaper Pete Romano also pays tribute to Dan by re-using one of Dan’s props from an earlier show—a bar and snack shop—in his own display.

Picture of snack bar in Romano display

Dan Kepich's bar makes another Flower Show appearance in the Romano's Landscaping display, "Tropical Chill."

Is it Hawaii? Or is it New Jersey? Actually, it's a bit of both.

Pete Romano loves to present his beloved New Jersey Pine Barrens in his exhibits, and there are several sly “Jerseyisms” in the Romano’s Landscaping display. The surfboards all belong to friends, and the red and green lanterns over the bar are from the tugboat Active. “Tropical Chill” presents the getaway aspects of New Jersey.

Picture of Irwin Landscaping's 2012 Flower Show Display

This tropical patio started life as an old silo in Irwin Landscaping's display.

Irwin Landscaping takes inspiration from the old silos that dot the Pennsylvania landscape and the lush tropicals that flourish in Hawaii to design a backyard patio that works in the Delaware Valley. All the plants in the ground are suited to our temperate climate; all the tropicals are in containers. The tropicals can winter over in the house or a greenhouse, or the rhizomes and corms can be stored in a cool (but not freezing) place such as a basement. It’s the best of both worlds!

These are just three of the landscape displays that can inspire you to create your own backyard paradise. Visit the Philadelphia International Flower Show, Hawaii: Islands of Aloha, now through March 11.

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