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.


This may be the shortest post I’ve done.  I didn’t think there was as much to shoot as in past years.  Lots and lots and lots of orchids.  I missed the great spring flowering gardens of other years; the wild azaleas blooming midst pineland scenes (do you remember Judd’s pine barrens scenes complete with decaying shack?); the great swaths of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths; the beds of perky annuals; the streams and fountains and woodsy gardens.   Oh, well.

Orchids or not I thought this setting was pretty.

The show entrance was awesome for its creativity and supposed evocation of Hawaii.  The idea, I guess, was that you were under the sea, surrounded on three sides and above by the moving water and darting fish.  Interesting,  but  it reminded me of that great Peggy Lee song, “Is that all there is?”

Because of the motion involved I tried to capture the effect with video.

Oh, fortunately, there were lots of the usual beautiful specimen plants including some daffodils, some of the few at this “spring” 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.