I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Wednesday because of the snow storm forecast for Thursday. So did everyone else. I experienced crowds that I hadn’t seen there for a few years. My daughter, Sigrid, went on Thursday, and texted me a picture showing the floor almost empty. Oh well, had I gone I’m not sure I would have enjoyed the road struggle getting home from the high speed line.  Also, I got to enjoy (?) today’s snow storm and the contrast between the two days!

Here’s the opening scene that greeted show arrivals and it was pretty punchy.  A nice welcome to the show, it made me think of a flower-bedecked Rose Bowl Parade float.  The show theme was movies with an emphasis on the work of Disney and Pixar Studios, and I think that it was well executed and well carried throughout the show.  Full disclosure:  I’m a movie enthusiast, particularly with the work one sees on Turner Classic Movies.  Nevertheless I was impressed with the creativity shown in the exhibits.

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Conversely, here’s an opening scene for Thursday’s snow storm.  Yes, there’s a difference.


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Here was a large screen on which snippets of famous movies played from time to time with an imaginative sculpture of film and camera in front of it.  This scene:  Bogart saying goodbye to Bergman in the closing scenes of Casablanca.  “Here’s looking at you, kid.”  Made in 1942 I wonder how many who saw this could relate.  Not enough flash-bang to appeal to modern audiences.

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The movies theme was repeated in exhibits throughout the show floor.  I don’t know if these chandeliers were intentional but they certainly made me think of 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Not a pleasant thought as I always thought it was veeerry dumb from a science fiction point of view.  Richard Dreyfus shoveling dirt into his house, subconsciously trying to recreate Devils Tower?  Anyway, a space ship arrives there eventually and it was shaped something like this:

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Back to reality the next day, this was the kind of color (?) and drama that we had to deal with.  As I walked along here I kept stepping into troughs of slush,  the residue of yesterday’s temperatures in the 40’s and rain.

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One of the flower show exhibits could only be viewed through eye holes in the walls around the exhibit.  Inside were mystical sculptures illuminated with black light.  Pretty and interesting.

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The next day we also had sculptures, stark, cold, and not nearly as attractive but, perhaps, more dramatic.

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 Back on the show floor, Hollywood, the home of the stars was evoked with this handsome star on one of the commercial booths.  A booth for horticultural wares?  No, sorry, we’re selling being a middleman on your electric bills.  Anyhow, the star was striking and pretty.

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Well, were there any flowers at the flower show?  Of course there were.  Here’s a collection from the entrance exhibit which will also wind up in my place mat series.

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Not to be outdone, our snow day also included some flowers.

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Rhododendron Blossom Head

This is a soft, beautiful time of year with the trees leafing out, still feathery, and the abundance of spring blooms.  This rhody was condemned to death by one of my landscapers years ago as suffering from a borer.  I refused to carry out the sentence and the rhody recovered and for many, many years it has been magnificent.  Here is a closeup of one of the flowers.


Here’s one of my peonies.  So beautiful and gently fragrant.  I lost every bud last year to an unknown cause.  Only a few buds this year but welcomed back.




The clematis over Marty Lou’s arbor seems to struggle every year but it persists.

Clematis on Marty's Arbor

This morning I had a real treat.  I was invited to tour and photograph the gardens of Kathy, a fellow photographer.  I was overwhelmed with this Longwood Gardens annex.


It was view after view after view of iris in all colors and all manner of blooms from stately bearded German to delicate Japanese.  In between, several varieties of clematis on attractive garden trellises, and  rosebushes beyond count.

And the first peony, just unfolded.


 And, an honor: while we stood and chatted by Kathy’s hummingbird feeder not eighteen inches away from me, up came a hummingbird who hovered, looked at us, and then proceeded to have a sip.  I felt honored.