The Hort (The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society) has announced that over 250,000 people toured last week’s 2018 Flower Show.  Why did they all come on the same day I went?  Maybe it was payback for last year when I went on the snow day and counted only nine others in the entryway exhibit.  The annual Flower Show storm was scheduled for Wednesday so I and the other 249,999 people went on Tuesday.  Oh, well, it was worth it.  The entryway exhibit was eye-filling and breathtaking.

It was a huge structure around and over us, the upper part built of bamboo supported on steel pipes made to look like bamboo.  It took me back to our China trip many years ago in which we saw that all construction was created within a scaffolding of bamboo, even ten and twenty story buildings.  The structure was laden with plant material, most in sphagnum moss containers but with isolated specimens in water-filled glass tubes.  The color and texture were magnificent but….but….it was the sound of the tropical rain forest birds and other creatures that brought it home, almost to the extent of my thinking maybe I should keep my cap on.


The imagination in the design of the entryway exhibit continued on into the show.  I thought that the other exhibits were well designed and well executed.  There were even — hold it — a lot of flowers on display.  (I’ve knocked it in the past for paucity of blooms).  The tulips were there from Holland, always a pleasure.


And orchids galore; they were all through the rain garden exhibit as well as here and there in individual exhibits.


But, the art in the exhibits……

This was an arrangement of hanging glass globes with orchids inside of them.


There must have been a sale on the glass globes.  Here was a cascading arrangement that made me think of Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Park.


The show’s theme this year was “Wonders of Water.”  Here was a fine example: a backyard lighted pool enjoying a gentle rainfall.


Another suggestion of water: a series of multicolored pipes hanging from the ceiling suggesting a rain shower.


Finally, a perfect suggestion of water: a rain barrel, catching the runoff from the rain forest.


I loved the show.  I also enjoyed the Hamilton Horticourt which features members’ specimens in competition.  I thought that the lighting was the best I can remember and that the arrangement of categories was pleasant. A knock, as I’ve mentioned before, the Hort has taken over (my guess) about a fourth of the display area to flog their own wares… plants, gardening and show-related items.  It’s nice stuff but I can’t help but think about the ticket price paid, in part, to walk through their store.  That space has, in the past, been useful for garden clubs and landscapers to exhibit their capabilities.



A friend recently noted my absence from this blog; my last post was January 9th.  Well, life gets hectic; acute bronchitis comes along; a recuperation on Sanibel becomes necessary (I know, tough).  My old PC monitor died and a wrestling match ensued with a new 4K resolution monitor; it turns out that legacy apps may not have kept up with the technology and so their menus are tiny on screen.  The only one I’ve found that I coudn’t fix is my last version of Photoshop, CS6, so it’s live with the fine print or surrender to CC, Photoshop in the cloud.


Other obligations become backed up.  Only today did the Christmas train platform come down.

And there’s also always an issue about coming up with new material but I think I’ve got a backlog now.

Please, stay tuned.


  1. Janet Hadley Says:

    Thank you, as always, Ralph, for these beautiful images, colors and creativity. I enjoyed your creative treatment of the colored pipes. You managed to make me feel like I was seeing the flowers in person with your descriptions of the sounds and sights that go along with each image..

  2. Delano Cannon Says:

    Thank you for reminding me of the enjoyment of the Flower Show. Especially after a long winter. Here in Florida, our first hint of the season to come is the early azalea bloom.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Nice to hear from you, Dell. I was in Sanibel again in February and we had some chilly mornings so I know you did as well. Notwithstanding that cold I was impressed with the Bougainvillea blooms.

  3. Bonnie Rovere Says:

    Hi Ralph, You images are lovely, as always, but I have to disagree with your comments about the show. I actually thought there was a lack of color overall. Too much green. I thought the entryway was way to busy, though the flowers were beautiful. I did love the tulips and the glass tubes, but there was way to much commercial space this year which seemed to take over the entire exhibit. It seems like every year there are less and less floral displays and more vendors.

    I certainly hope you are feeling better now. Just for the record, i realized that I forgot to take down one of our Christmas decorations the other day, and I have no excuse!! LOL

    Take care,

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks for the nice comment about the images. As to their content….well, we all see what we all see. I’ve spoken with others who were not as pleased as I was, and I’ve been disappointed, too, off and on over the years. I agree with there being too much commercial space compared to years ago, and I criticized that in my post and in last year’s post. I think that in recent years the Hort has placed too much emphasis on raising funds for their other programs at the expense of the show we’re paying A LOT to see. On the other hand, it’s pricey for exhibitors as well. I knew one who used to go in but told me that it was costing him $50K to do that and felt it wasn’t worth it for him, and that was 10-15 years ago. Still, if you want the public to kick in $27+ you’ve got to give them a FLOWER SHOW and not a retail shop.

  4. eajackson Says:

    I was wondering where you have been. One of these days I might make it to the flower show but for now I feel satisfied seeing your view. I am not one for crowds. Snow day sounds like a good plan. Those glass balls with the orchids inside are so beautiful. I can feel all the vibrant colors popping through your camera.
    Stay warm and healthy. March has not been very nice.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      I remember you saying that people and inside are not high on your list. But, particularly with your artistic bent I think you’d love a lot of what can be seen. Maybe I’ll bug you next year. I do recommend doing it solo so that you concentrate more on what YOU are seeing.

      Thanks for the kind comment. I hope I get in to a meeting and get to see you.

  5. Rich Lewis Says:

    Glad to see you back but sorry to hear you were under the weather. I don’t go to the Flower Show so can’t comment. I do like your representation of it, especially the Lensbaby shot!

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Rich. I haven’t see you for a long time but I see your work, dragging people through derelict houses. A lot of nice photography coming out of that but Flower Shows are prettier.

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