I wasn’t going to go this year.  Last year’s Hawaiian theme was not very interesting or attractive for me so I wasn’t going to go back.  Then I saw channel six’s preview and I thought that the show looked pretty exciting.  (Plus, my artist friend, Marilyn F., gave me an extra ticket.)  So, off to the Philadelphia Flower Show.   The theme was the “majestic beauty and creative genius of Great Britain,” and it was carried off brilliantly. 

The central theme display was a great creation involving Big Ben as its centerpiece.  What caught my eye, however, was the reflection of Big Ben in surrounding pools which also featured great lily pads.

Image 02

I spent a lot of time here shooting the reflections and discussing them with another photographer who had a couple of interns in tow.  Since the lily pads were reflecting a lot of light I showed the interns how to moderate that with a grad filter (graduated neutral density.)

In fact I had several pleasant conversations at the show with people who came up to me to discuss “taking pictures”  and the Flower Show.  The tripod effect?  One of them closed by telling me she would pray for me.  Not bad.

That central theme begged for many more shots.  Here’s another scene, part of the theme display, which incorporated the glass block with water flowing over it which I photographed at yet another show a few years ago.  I thought the glowing pots were nice.

Image 01

Speaking of other shows, I realized that I had been going to them for sixty years, beginning with walking from my fraternity house at Drexel to the old Civic Center in 1953.  Remember the breathtaking scene which unfolded before you as you rode the escalator down to the display floor?  Sixty years of bringing home pussy willows, gloxinia tubers, and the annual gardenia plant to feed the mealybugs!  I should get a PHS Merit Award.


Another of the many striking displays was this one of classical Greek statuary and fountains.  The arresting feature?  The statue show here was alive.  As the gentle background music played and the fountains rose and fell she would periodically assume a new classical statue position.   Just beautiful and lovely.

Image 03

The light level was so low, boys and girls, that this had to be a six second exposure at f/14  (ISO 400.)   Notice: she didn’t move although you can see signs of others moving behind her.    Fun!


Last year I complained about the lack of flowers at the show.  All those that were missing last year finally arrived this year.  Lots and lots of flowers.  The competitive specimen displays were all under a suggestion of canopy which improved the lighting and made one feel more as though one were in someone’s conservatory.  Among the other flowers to be seen were these English roses.

Image 04


Another interesting display area included several themed chambers elevated off of the floor and with circular openings so that one could almost put one’s head inside them.  Music was playing inside each chamber.  One, yellow and elongated, was playing “We All Live In A Yellow Submarine.”  Beatles, English, clever.  Here’s one of those chambers.

Image 05


All in all a very nice experience.  I spent four hours on the floor and I haven’t done that in years.  I had to carry my feet home in a bag. 

Please click here to see these and a few more images from the show.



  1. Kathleen Says:

    Very nice Ralph, I especially like the reflection of Big Ben!!!

  2. denisebushphoto Says:

    Two thumbs up for the reflection of Big Ben!

  3. Ann-Marie Says:

    Thanks Ralph for your photos & your insights!

  4. Linda Kamholz Says:

    What a nice way to spend a cold winter’s day!

  5. Nancy Deal Says:

    Especially loved Big Ben! Nancy Deal

  6. eajackson Says:

    The Yellow Submarine idea music etc. very clever and beautiful. I think Big Ben was neat but on a day like today, the Sunflowers are my favs. Thank you.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Beth. They were handing out packets of sunflower seeds at that booth. I took one and hope to replace the weeds outside my living room windows this summer.

  7. MikeP Says:

    Flower show and spring right around the corner… never had luck with straight on flower pics…I try to hide my flaws in close up and abstract comps 🙂

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