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.


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.



I was asked to provide a picture for a forthcoming auction party that benefits the Medford Leas Arboretum, and flowers were suggested.  I reviewed my file of flower pictures and came up with a few candidates.  This one seemed right to me for spring color.


Image271Tulips in Amsterdam 800


I’ve always been fond of it because of the bunching together of all those colors.  And, it has a history.  On a 2004 waterways cruise of Holland and its bulbs and bulb places we wound up in Amsterdam for a couple of days.  We lunched one day at an outdoor cafe right across the street from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s principal art museum, which was our post-luncheon destination.

Image265.5 The Rijksmuseum 640


That bowl of tulips was on a table at our cafe, and its picture came home with me.  Since then I’ve sold a few copies of it and it graces my own walls in (where else) my garden room.  So, now, what to do with it.  I’m still feeling the effects of Karen Messick’s presentation at the Photo Bash a week ago (see the previous post below).  Her subject was impressionism.  I’ve ventured there a few times but it is now to be a more frequent destination.  So, I brought the tulips into Photoshop and fired up Topaz’s filter program, Impression.  After some work and experimenting here is the result which I printed on canvas to enhance the effect:


Image271Tulips in Amsterdam I Impression 800


With a white frame and a royal blue mat the canvas is beautiful.

Sigh…in love again.  I might have to bid on it myself.