Archive for the ‘Garden Displays’ Category

Exhibit Showcase: It’s All in the Details!

March 7, 2012

Check out the vintage Subaru at the Hunter Hayes exhibit.

With everything to see and do at the Show this year, sometimes the small details get passed by. We spoke with two exhibitors to discuss the finer points of their massive displays.

First up is the exhibit from Hunter Hayes Landscape Design, called A Personal Paradise. Since Hunter Hayes is known for designing and building home gardens, the exhibit is a tropical interpretation of a patio and driveway. It features stonework with lava rock and a plethora of beautiful tropical plants.

Lauren Hilburn of Hunter Hayes says the exhibit is all about pushing limits: “We created these walls that are adorned with plants and strategically lit. It isn’t something that we had done before, but it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be done for someone’s property. Why not, right?”

Lauren goes on to say that the Hunter Hayes exhibit is meant to convey a balanced approach to a tropical garden. She tells us, “I wanted people to realize that this doesn’t have to be a Hawaiian setting; we included some plants that would survive our local climate, such as yuccas and cypress.We try to go a little more realistic, but be a little showy too.”

One of her favorite plants in the exhibit is the Kangaroo Paw. Look out for this quirky plant in the Hunter Hayes exhibit when you come to the Show!

Another perspective on this year’s theme comes from the Camden Children’s Garden exhibit, A Child’s Tropical Adventure.

Michael Devlin, executive director of the CCG, pointed out the emphasis on edible plants in the display, which is due to the CCG’s mission to bring community gardens and fresh food to Camden. This exhibit boasts fig trees, pineapple plants, and more.

The exhibit is interactive and fun for kids, featuring a tunnel made of natural materials, drums for the kids to play, and fun features that everyone will love—kids and adults alike.

Vidal Rivera, a part of the Youth Program at the Camden Children’s Garden, reveals that the over-size ant sculptures are made of recycled car parts, and the technicolor ladybug fashioned out of a hard hat! (Click on the photo for a closer look!)

Be sure to visit the real Camden Children’s Garden this spring!

Through Laura’s Lens: Small Landscapes, Big Impact

March 6, 2012

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.

Flower Show Exhibitors Encourage Relaxation & Creation

March 5, 2012

Each exhibit at the Flower Show offers something distinct, but here are two that focus on fun!

The tranquil lagoon by Burke Brothers lures the viewer in with its inviting lounge and sandy shores. Called an “executive surfer’s retreat,” the designers want you to imagine that a busy executive has taken a moment away from his stressful life to enjoy a relaxing afternoon surfing.

The white sand that blankets this exhibit does more than evoke the beach theme; designer Vivianne Englund-Callahan said, “The sand really makes the color of the plants pop, more so than dark mulch.”

When you’re there, be sure to enter the raffle to win the executive’s surfboard!

On the other side of the PHS Gift Shop you’ll find the interactive MODA botanica display. This incredibly colorful exhibit was inspired by the “crazy patterns of Hawaiian shirts,” says Bailey Hall, who co-designed the exhibit with Armas Koehler.

Constructed of hanging, stacked translucent panels decorated with flowers and greenery, the display invites visitors to turn cranks to move the panels and create their own “lauana,” or flower patterns. Don’t be shy; try it!

“At the center of the display is a fun tablescape, an example of what we can do in party and event planning, from extreme to playful,” said Bailey.

What You Don’t Know About the Show

March 4, 2012

It’s opening day of the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show! Starting at 8 am today an eager group of early-birds have flocked to the Show floor to be the first among their friends to see “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha”!

As you tour the Show, you’ll be overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of all of the incredible displays, but have you ever wondered about an exhibit’s back story–the inspiration, construction details, and history? A chat with a few of the exhibitors yielded some fun factoids.

Robertson’s Flowers of Chestnut Hill has created a beach wedding tableau, complete with floral altar and graceful white arches. According to designer Eric Schellack, those arches may dissuade a superstitious visitor; they’re made from aluminum ladders!

He said that a small army of 20 people worked on the display, assembling more than 1,500 vases and arranging 2,000 stems shipped directly from Hawaii. Let’s hope that the power of the leis on the altar, a traditional symbol of good luck, overcomes the power of the ladders!

Flowers by David has been a favorite at the Show for 16 years. This year’s display was inspired by Hawaiian tribal tattoos, graphically expressed on large panels throughout the exhibit. Robin Heller, half of the husband-and-wife design team, commented that “When you say Hawaii, everyone gets such an instant, firm image, so it’s difficult to set yourself apart. We wanted to stand out, and the tattoos are what we thought of.” Complementing the graphics is a beautiful 15-foot fountain, the base of which hides seven powerful, yet silent, pumps. “We were encouraged to go higher,” says Robin. “Maybe next year.”

The American Institute of Floral Designer’s (AIFD) exhibit celebrates the Merrie Monarch Festival that honors the legacy left by King David Kalākaua. This mighty monarch inspired the perpetuation of Hawaiian traditions, native language, and the arts, including the hula dance.

Individual displays depict every type of hula from dancing for rain, to stop the rain, for fire, wind, water, and healing. AIFD designers from around the country have assembled to create the vignettes. “It’s a very literal interpretation,” says Ron Mulray, head designer, who added that more than 2,000 stems of anthuriums will be sculpted into the backdrop. If Ron is at the exhibit when you stop by, be sure to ask him about the history of the hula dance—he’s an expert!

Hawaii Reps Bring Authenticity to Philly Show

February 29, 2012

Five Hawaii horticultural organizations have joined forces to create an exhibit that features the best of Hawaii’s flowers and foliage.

The Hawaii Tropical Flower Council (HTFC), Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association (HFNA), Hawaii Florists and Shipper’s Association (HFSA), Hawaii Export Nursery Association (HENA), and the Orchid Growers of Hawaii (OGOH) are co-sponsoring a display called, “Hawaii’s Flowers, Tropical Plants and Orchids,” which will feature between 600 to 700 species of anthuriums, cut flowers, foliage, large tropical palms, dracaenas, and stunning orchids shipped directly from the islands to the Show.

“A global stage of this magnitude is a wonderful opportunity to showcase many of the amazing growers, shipping services, unique products, and natural beauty that’s abundant in Hawaii,” says Neill Sams, designer of the exhibit. “I’m so excited to design and manage this unique and influential project.”

In the center of the exhibit are two waterfalls created from naturally hollowed driftwood logs that Sams harvested from the beaches of Kauai. The 15-foot logs were painstakingly cleaned and prepared for the exhibit, then sent 6,000 miles to the Convention Center.

The exhibit promises to be one of the highlights of the Show, as it reflects the collaborative effort of these horticultural experts, combined with Sams’ design vision, into one authentically Hawaiian experience.

J. Downend Co. Preps Pearl Harbor Tribute

February 27, 2012

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As you make your list of can’t-miss exhibits at the 2012 Show, be sure to include the touching tribute to Pearl Harbor prepared by J. Downend Landscaping Co. It’s been a long journey to Show Week, which started with a visit to Hawaii.

Tom Morris of Downend says, “When people talk about Hawaii, you will often hear them speak of the ‘Aloha Spirit.’ My trip to Hawaii gave me the opportunity to experience this first-hand. The people of Hawaii welcomed my family and me with such accommodating graciousness in every aspect of our travels.”

This warmth was especially apparent at the USS Arizona Memorial, where Tom spent two hours chatting with—and learning from—an extraordinary Park Ranger named Alycia.

Tom also went to Florida with members of the PHS staff and other Show exhibitors. There the group toured nurseries that force Flower Show plants and shared stories about the growing/landscaping industry.

Tom says, “It is impossible to put these gardens together without the willingness of our suppliers to go to extreme measures to assure we have the best materials…Our displays are much more than any one individual’s effort but a realization of our company and supporters as a whole.”

If you want to learn more about this moving display, titled “Remembrance,” pay a visit to the J. Downend Facebook page. There you’ll find a photo gallery of plants being used in the 2012 exhibit, photos from Tom’s trip to Hawaii, and updates on setting up at the Convention Center.

Waldor Orchid’s Glorious Greenhouses

February 8, 2012

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Last week a few people on the PHS staff got to visit one of our favorite places, Waldor Orchids in Linwood, New Jersey. As you may have heard, Waldor is supplying the plants for this year’s Central Feature.

Don’t know your Flower Show lingo? That’s OK. Central Feature refers to the primary exhibit that occupies coveted real estate on the Flower Show floor.

Waldor Orchids is a family owned-and-operated business with enviably proximity to the shore. On Fridays and Saturdays, 9 am to 5:50 pm, you can visit the greenhouses and choose from a selection of budded and flowering plants.

You can also make purchases from the Waldor website, but we strongly recommend an in-person visit. Look at the photos above and you’ll understand why.

Michael Petrie Prepares a Garden for the Gods

February 6, 2012

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“Unusual” is a word with many implications, both good and bad. But when we talk about the Flower Show exhibits created by Michael Petrie, unusual is meant as the highest form of praise. Michael has exhibited at the Show for years, first for other nurseries, and more recently for his own landscape design company, Michael Petrie’s HANDMADE GARDENS.

With a background in art and horticulture, Michael has managed to make exhibits that are a cross between a garden and a museum installation. (See the slideshow above.) In the process he’s garnered a cache of “Best-in-Show/Landscape Design” trophies.

This year, however, Michael says he may well be facing his biggest Flower Show design challenge yet: an exhibit inspired by the Garden of the Gods on the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

Garden of the Gods? How difficult could that be, you ask, picturing lush vegetation, fragrant blossoms, and a beach fit for deities? But here’s the thing: there are next-to-no plants in the Garden of the Gods.  In fact, the Garden of the Gods is a high desert area with a strange, lunar-like landscape composed primarily of…rocks.

Who knew?

Legend says ancient gods created Garden of the Gods by dropping boulders from the sky while clearing their gardens. Another story states that two priests (kahuna), one from Lanai and one from Molokai, had a contest to see who could keep a fire burning longest, and the Lanai priest burned up all the vegetation in the area in the process.

So what kind of garden can Michael and HANDMADE GARDENS make out of this fantastic story and stark landscape? You’ll have to come to the Flower Show to find out.

Nominate Your Favorite Green Space!

June 10, 2011

Community green spaces come in many shapes and sizes. Parks, train stations, churches, schoolyards, traffic islands, and so on make a neighborhood welcoming and attractive.

Every summer PHS recognizes these green spaces and the people who care for them through the Community Greening Award. If you contribute to such a garden, park, or planting—nominate it! PHS is accepting nominations through July 15. Individuals can submit nominations as can garden clubs, civic associations, businesses, municipalities, and community groups. For more information, click here.

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Enter the City Gardens Contest!

June 8, 2011


1-2-3-4, we declare a hort war!

The City Gardens Contest is back for its 37th year. And while it is more of a friendly competition than a war, PHS expects hundreds of Philadelphia residents to participate and showcase their imaginative gardening skills.

From tiny tucked-away spaces to larger neighborhood parks and farms, the City Gardens Contest celebrates all types of urban gardens by allowing participants to compete in one of nine categories. To enter your garden, please fill out an online form by June 10.

Judges will visit the gardens and pick their favorites. Photos of the winning gardens will be showcased at the Awards Reception, where the best of the best will receive praise for their wonderful work.

For more details about the contest click here.

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