Sunday, March 12, 2017

Flowers Indoors

I mentioned in the my previous post that it was cold on Saturday. A day to be spent indoors. So we did. After we drove into Philadelphia, parked, and walked a few blocks in the cold.

We went to the Philadelphia Flower Show. The world's oldest flower show, which has been held every year since 1829. The week long event attracts 260,000 visitors. A pair of facts I learned only yesterday. Very educational this show is.

This year's theme was "Holland, Flowering the World".  As members of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society we were able to beat the crowds at the members preview Saturday morning. Still, with over 20,000 members, it pays to get there early. And there were already several hundred people in line when we arrived at 7:45 Saturday morning (doors opened at eight). Behind us in line were four women from Tennessee here just for the show.

Now, when I think Holland I think tulips. And when I think tulips I think color. And as you can see from the entrance exhibit, a bridge, so did the show organizers. There was plenty of color.

The colored lights cycled through the rainbow. With techno music loudly playing as we entered. We did not recognize the song. A hit in the Netherlands perhaps?

One was not permitted to cross the bridge. Disappointing as that would have provided a unique perspective of the show floor. One I would have enjoyed.

Windmills and bicycles were common themes throughout the exhibits. I wonder if this is coordinated by the show producers or an expected coincidence.

And quite a few tulips.

Thirty thousand in the entrance exhibit alone.

Having been to the show before, our visiting strategy, mapped out mainly by Patty, was to visit the art exhibits first, as long lines quickly develop, and then circle back for the larger displays. So after enjoying the techno music at the bridge we set out for the miniature set pieces.

Along the way one exhibit caught my eye, and I learned something.  I was not aware that Gin was invented by the Dutch. Told you, very educational this flower show.

Here's a better look at the still. It did not appear to be operational. There was a area set aside for tasting wines and spirits. More on that later ...

And an amazing thing about the image above is the lack of people. There are some, you'll find them if you look closely. The benefit of getting there early on member preview day.


Each year there are miniature set pieces that tie the overall theme of the show with creative use of plants and flowers. Here are two that resonated with me.

The first is a based on the Dutch artist MC Escher's famous work, "Relativity".

The second, an imagining of the workshop of Hans Lippershey, inventor of the telescope (you can see a small scope in front of the ship in the window).

I've long been a fan of Escher's work. And as an avid amateur astronomer I own and use several descendants of Lippershey's invention.

Next were the 'paintings' where instead of paint plant material was used.

Windmills ...

... and bicycles were well represented.

Both at the same time in this homage to Mondrian.

And there were several like this.

Made entirely with cut up plant material. Incredible. And requiring way more patience then I have for sure.


After seeing these art pieces, and successfully avoiding the long lines, we wandered about the show floor.

This was part of a large exhibit. One gentlemen thought is was a representation of a windmill, hanging from the ceiling. But try as we might, we couldn't see it.

Is Holland noted for it's cows?

Bridges and bicycles for sure.

We didn't buy anything in the vendor area, but did find this sign curious.

What could it be? A genetically modified fern? Flowers grafted onto a fern? A fern fraud? Alas, there were none in bloom, just bulbs.

In the individual plant area we did find this non-flowering fern, which makes its own hanging basket.

And I wasn't quite sure to make of this:

Seems the orchid society is branching (pun!) out these days.

My plant geek friends will be happy to see it's not just flowers.


But in the end it was a flower show.

And we enjoyed them all.

With Patty getting plenty of ideas for our yard and gardens.


I had mentioned earlier the wind and spirits tasting area.

Alas, it wasn't yet set up and thus not open. Very disappointing. I was thirsty!

So we made our way to a local eating establishment, a longtime favorite of Patty's, South Street Souvlaki for gyros and for me a tasty beer.

A very nice way to spend a very cold day.

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