Make Pele’s Garden YOUR Garden

March 15, 2012 by

People tend to leave the Flower Show inspired to get started on their home gardens and add life to their homes. When your green-thumb starts to itch, stop by the Meadowbrook Farm Post Flower Show Plant Sale on March 17 from 10 am – 5 pm.

Select plants from the Flower Show (including Pele’s Garden) will be available for purchase beginning at 10 am for card-carrying PHS members. The majority of these plants will be houseplants and suitable for moving outdoors once the warmer temperatures return. All sales are final and quantities are limited. No advance orders. Again, these plants are available exclusively to PHS members, so don’t forget to bring your membership card.

The first 100 members to arrive (and present their membership card) will be entered into a raffle to win a $100 gift certificate to Meadowbrook Farm. One raffle ticket per membership.

Meadowbrook Farm will also have a variety of early spring plants (pansies and bulbs) available, both for members and the general public. Members enjoy an additional discount on perennials!

You can also order herb and veggie starts from Meadowbrook, in person or online. There are over 350 heirloom vegetables and herbs to choose from. We think that the themed plant combos are particularly cool, from the Pizza Mix to the Lettuce Lovers combinations, there is something for any gardening goal.

It is never too late to become a PHS member! Members enjoy discounts year round at Meadowbrook Farm, the Flower Show, and beyond, and can feel good about supporting an organization dedicated to the environment and local communities. Click here or call 215-988-8800.

Show Sponsors’ Exhibits Anchor the Show

March 14, 2012 by

While we’re still basking in the Flower Show afterglow, we want to take a moment to thank our sponsors, some of which had exhibits at this year’s Show. Each one was a crowd-pleaser, and we look forward to what they bring next year.

Tourism Ireland first graced the exhibit floor in 2007 when the Show’s theme was “Legends of Ireland,” and they’ve been a much-loved exhibitor ever since. This year, they won the award for “Best Achievement in Creating a Natural Landscape (non-Hawaiian).”

The plant list featured a warm palette of bright red salvia, yellow primrose, and coral azalea, all set against a background of lush boxwood. The rich heritage of the Emerald Isle was reflected in some the iconic symbols scattered throughout the landscape, which was titled “Classic Ireland with a Twist.”

Vastly different but equally enjoyable was the EP Henry exhibit, which celebrated family vacations by building a tropical Hawaiian retreat. Surrounded by soaring palms and tropical gardens, a cabana served as the party hub with its built-in grill and bar made from a surfboard.

Environmentally friendly Eco Pavers formed a patio for lounging, and the plunge pool was the perfect spot for taking a dip. The tableau was completed with a wading pool, secluded outdoor shower, and an al fresco dining area. Now that you’ve seen what EP Henry can do inside the Convention Center, imagine the possibilities for your own property.

Across a walkway from EP Henry, Subaru created “The Surf Shack,” a fun getaway where you can rent a board, ride the waves, and soak up the sun! The display invited viewers to imagine being transported to a little piece of paradise in a Subaru Outback. With a jaunty thatched-roof hut and plenty of tropical fruits for snacking, this little slice of the islands was all about fun.

There were at least five Subarus throughout the Show; some were fun, vintage varieties, others were impressive new models. Subaru loves gardeners and gardeners love Subaru, so the Flower Show partnership for the past 11 years has been a perfect match!

Thank you to all the Flower Show sponsors who made 2012 such a spectacular year!

Charitybuzz Auction Ends Today at 2 pm

March 13, 2012 by

Today is the final day of the PHS auction at Earlier we highlighted the celebrity meet-and-greets and VIP sports experiences you could bid on, and those were just some of the 17 items up for grabs. If you want to win something incredible—all while supporting the future of PHS—head over to charitybuzz now. Hurry, the auction closes at 2 pm today!

Now that you've been to "Hawaii: Islands of Aloha," maybe it's time you see the real deal!

Exhibitor Spotlight: First Time’s the Charm

March 13, 2012 by

The 2012 Flower Show was the first time exhibiting for Petals Lane…and they knocked it out of the park! A designer for Petal’s Lane said that the Show experience was “overwhelming, but lots of fun.”

For their debut display the group wanted to take the traditional luau and turn it up a notch. So, they did their research on Hawaiian culture, and came up with a brilliant idea!

The exhibit is called Pineapple Pa’ina, and celebrates the fleeting nature of the night before a wedding, when the lucky couple and their two families and closest friends gather together to feast and celebrate. The display is striking with it’s extravagantly adored table and larger-than-life pineapples, which we learned are made of 800 carnations!

Like all of our exhibitors, each night they refreshed the exhibit, which is an intense process, but all that hard work is worth it when you make such a strong first impression. Come back again next year!

Through Laura’s Lens: Drawing the Plant Kingdom

March 12, 2012 by

The Flower Show is (sadly) now over, but the memory of “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha” lives on. One way to keep the momentum going is to take up a new horticultural hobby. If you’ve had bad luck with plants in the past, here’s an alternative that might speak to you: botanical illustration!

Perhaps you saw examples of the art form at the Flower Show, where the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Botanical Illustrators had an exhibit titled The Flora of Hawaii: Indigenous, Endemic, Invasive.

If you missed it, here’s what you should know. Botanical illustrators work in watercolor to depict the structure, growth habit, and, in some cases, the life cycle of a plant—all with scientific accuracy. As a rule, these masterpieces are on white backgrounds and lack any “props”—so no vases, no garden scenes, no floral bouquets in crystal bowls.

These beautiful, original watercolors at the Flower Show depicted the colorful and varied plants and flowers found on the islands of Hawaii. The photo below most emphatically does not do them justice.

If you’d like to give botanical illustration a try, sign up for a beginners’ class. Some actually take place at PHS. And who knows, someday your work of art may go on display at the Flower Show!

Exhibitor Spotlight: Perennial Favorites

March 11, 2012 by

Today is closing day of the Flower Show, and we can’t help but get a little misty-eyed. As always the exhibitors have done an outstanding job creating memorable displays with compelling stories.

Take, for instance, perennial favorite Stoney Bank Nurseries. It is easy to get caught up in the story Jack Blandy and company tell with their display! Picture this: you are driving down the highway in Maui, looking out the window at the tropical scenery. Taro crops appear in flooded fields as the road ahead lazily snakes into the distance. Just another afternoon. But wait! You’re not in Maui, you’re in Philly! How do they do it?

The depth in the Stoney Bank Nurseries exhibit is an optical illusion created by clever backdrops, props, and plant positioning. Exhibitors have a limited space and over-sized ideas, so they have to get creative!

The Men’s Garden Club of Philadelphia also succeed in storytelling. And considering it’s their twenty-third year exhibiting, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Their interpretation of this year’s theme is especially fun; they depicted a coffee plantation in the midst of celebrating a victory at a coffee festival! 

John Young, the vice president of the Men’s Garden Club of Philadelphia, pointed out the beautiful triangle palm tree in the corner of the exhibit, a rare specimen with a distinctly triangular trunk, which is how this beautiful palm gets its name.

What stories will these exhibitors cook up for 2013? Who know, but we’re sure they will be brilliant!

Through Laura’s Lens: When Looking is Learning

March 11, 2012 by

Please join the Flower Show in welcoming two new exhibitors who showcase ways to build healthy soil, strong plants, and vibrant communities.

Picture of America in Bloom  exhibit

America in Bloom shows how tropicals can pack a visual wallop in a small space, adding zing to the urban landscape.

America in Bloom
Planting Pride: Growing Great Communities

Even in an island paradise like Hawaii, great communities don’t just happen. It takes a great deal of thought and tender loving care to create a sense of place. There’s no better way to communicate life and vitality than through beautiful plantings.

That’s why more landscape architects are creating the “wow” factor by placing bold tropical foliage in urban settings, even in northern climates. Colorful annuals communicate color at eye level in hanging baskets and planters. The backdrop may be green and serene or gray concrete, but color commands attention. America in Bloom brings communities to life by demonstrating the social and economic benefits of plants.

Picture of compost ingredients

Put compost on the menu for healthy plants---F2 will show you how to make tasty compost tea (tasty if you're a plant, that is!)

F2 Environmental Design
Science of Organic Land Care for the 21st Century
There is an underground revolution spreading in how we maintain our landscapes. It is occurring in the soil and it involves bacteria, fungi, microbes, and roots, which are now encouraged by compost and liquid biological amendments, rather than vast amounts of high-nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides. F2 Environmental Design’s landscape design and management techniques focus on encouraging the natural nutrient cycling systems and growth patterns of the plant environment.

Through Laura’s Lens: Tail End of a Breeze

March 11, 2012 by

Hey, Flower Show fans. How about a quick poetry break?

“I always love to come to this place; to rest, to dream…
It is when I open my eyes, and see it is gone,
I remember it only exists
on the tail end of a breeze.”

–Emily M. Cook

Nice, right? It certainly sets the tone for the tropical retreat created by Mark Cook Landscape Design (and it was written by his wife). Approaching this exhibit feels like stepping from the water, onto the sand, and into an intimate setting. Surrounded by many plant varieties, you can retreat down a boardwalk to a hidden pergola buried in the tropical forest.

This pergola has elicited oohs and aahs from Flower Show visitors and proves that Mark is equally handy with saws and hammers as he is clippers and shovels. If you attended the 2011 Show, you may remember the charming yellow shed he built to support the Parisian theme, or the year before when he made a rustic clubhouse with all sorts of off-kilter angles.

Catch the tail end of the breeze and enjoy the exquisite details of Mark Cook’s exhibit. Catch the tail end of the Flower Show today, 8 am – 6 pm.

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Ikebana International is at it Again!

March 10, 2012 by

This year at the Flower Show, Ikebana International Philadelphia Chapter 71 celebrates Japanese arts and culture through their breathtaking floral designs. The organization, founded in 1956, boasts 10,000 members in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Locally, the Philadelphia chapter has created a display that features carefully crafted arrangements representing each of the four schools of design. From the traditional styles of the Ikenobo School to the seasonally-inspired landscape designs of the Ohara School, each of the schools of Ikebana is steeped in its own style, history, philosophy, and technique.

The arrangements displayed at this year’s Show interpret the Hawaii theme, using tropical flowers like calla lilies and pin cushion protea as featured elements in the striking designs.

The Philadelphia Chapter holds monthly meetings from October through May. After the Flower Show, you can see arrangements created by members of Ikebana International at the Japanese House in Fairmount Park. Click here or email to learn more.

Jacques Amand, the Bulb Specialist, is Back

March 10, 2012 by

Flowering bulbs grace lush hillsides in the display by British grower, Jacques Amand, who has exhibited at the Show for 18 years. According to staffer Elaine Wiggers, the display was built by an ever-growing staff of volunteers from this side of the pond. “Everybody has such a good time. We rely on our volunteers; two people showed up this year who we’ve never met before. It’s fun!”

Among the blooms are metal sculptures that are part of a series called “Growing Tips,” created by world-class artist Lisa Fedon. Each sculpture represents the part of a bulb that pushes forth into the unknown, and adds a bit of whimsy to the scene. With the logistics of importing more than 17,000 bulbs from the U.K, Amand quipped, “I think we do brilliantly with what we get here!”

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