The Philadelphia Flower Show was scheduled a week later this year, maybe to beat the seemingly annual Flower Show snow storm.  So, the storm also waited another week.  I had planned the week to include a visit on Tuesday.  Then, Stella moved in.  The powerful nor’easter gathered over the weekend and headed for the north-Atlantic coastal states with predictions of 12″ to 18″ and gusts to 50 mph.  So, a snow day?  Not so said Tuesday morning.  Once again we dodged a bullet.  Much of the storm had stayed to the west and it looked as though I could make it.  Indeed, there was very little traffic on the main highways and, PATCO, the high speed train to the city, was operating every twenty minutes.  There was room on the train for the three of us that boarded.

There’s a flower show this morning? Really?


Here was the payoff; the display that greets one upon entering the exhibit hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  I and the other nine people seen here were privileged to be overwhelmed by the scene in relative solitude.  Never, never, never in my 60+ years of this show (no, not every year) have I ever felt so privileged.  Tough for PHS (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society) and the vendors but such a wonderful, uncrowded experience for us visitors.  When could you ever just walk around, looking up and not worrying about bumping in to someone?  Even when we used to attend the Friday night black tie, preview dinner party there were far more attendees than on this “storm” day.

No jostling necessary.


As the morning evolved more brave people showed up.  It never became crowded but the tranquility was disturbed from time to time by the show music.  The scene below was the backdrop of the welcoming display.  This was taken an hour after I arrived so you can see it never became congested.

The show’s theme this year was Holland, a wonderful place that Barbara and I have enjoyed on a few occasions.  And, what can be wrong with blooming bulbs all over the place?  Before you play the video below, however, I’d tone down your speakers as the music is not Faure’s Pavanne.  The psychedelic scene, however, with dancing colors and a beat was captivating.



Speaking of Holland and bulbs and Barbara, here’s a shot from one of those trips.  No, it wasn’t taken at the Flower Show; it was taken in Amsterdam thirteen years ago.  My photo journal; my choice of images.


The lack of a crowd at the show made it a pleasure for a photographer.  No waiting to get a front row view; no apologizing for my tripod; and time to reflect on a scene.  It was fun.  Here are some of the show highlights.

There were hundreds of these (roses in lavender balls) hung from the ceiling.  Who ever had to do these and get them all together has gone home gibbering to Holland.


Here is a more traditional flower show scene.  Fountains and pools always work.  Just add some tulips for this year.

Another traditional kind of water scene featuring falls for fountains.  Some token tulips in the corner.


This scene screamed Amsterdam as well as many other European cities where bicycles are a big part of life.  I remember hundreds of them parked in front of the train stations.


 I look forward to next year’s snow day at the Flower Show.



This afternoon a gentle snowfall began.  What better time to post about the beautiful Longwood Gardens?  A colleague and I visited there the day after the late January snow/ice storm.  Appropriate to the weather there weren’t many people there.  Because of that Longwood was generous with their tripod usage policy, permitting us to shoot from our tripods after the usual noon cutoff.

The post-holiday theme is orchids and they dominated the scene.  Here’s a simple stalk laden with blooms in harmony with a single fountain jet.

But, there were all sorts of other blossoms such as beds filled with masses of these Rieger begonias.


Longwood veterans will remember the warm, humid orchid room down one of the hallways from the main conservatory.  Even with the overall theme of orchids this room is still a camera stopper.  For this image there was so much light coming from the overhead glass that I found it useful to use a 3G graduated density neutral filter to darken the upper part of the stem.  I’ve gotton away from such filters and tended towards HDR but it can be problematic.  It was fun to use the “grad” here and have good results, even handheld in front if the lens.

Here’s a near-perfect yellow hibiscus.  I saw another last week  in a hedge of hibiscus during my week in Florida, growing well without need of a conservatory.

A restful scene of falling water and delicate orchids.


Finally, a reminder that winter awaited us outside of these lovely gardens.