Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring Arrives Saturday

2002 entry gateway filled with cymbidiums

For 20 days there has been snow on the ground. Recently we have had a major storm pour several inches of rain trying to dislodge the two prior snowfalls. Yet, the snow remains in banks, drifts and patches throughout in spite of all the fury the rain-showers. Today another storm has been announced for another foot or more of snow. Spring is just 24 days away and who knows what kind of weather we will have before then. One thing is bound to change all that: The Philadelphia International Flower Show.

Club Display
Fabulous Alocasia Specimen
Typically, the Flower show has been an adventure in horticultural wonders displaying wondrous plants and arrangements of same for all to see. In the first show in 1829 the Poinsettia was introduced to the United States. In the early years there were be two shows one in spring for flowers and one in fall for fruit as there were hundred of varieties of apples, pears, and the like. Over the years focus shifted and Landscape and Floral Displays took center stage.

2002 Club winning Class inspired on the Majorelle Garden in Morocco

Today the Flower Show has its feet firmly planted in three major fields: Specimen plants, Floral Displays and Landscape displays. The show has many sub-categories that accommodate the interest of leaders of the professions, the membership, and the public at large. It strives to educate and maintain focus on a variety of factors that are critical to the world and gardeners alike.

Pinelands Garden Landscape

I am judging again a category that was created last year. Then, I chaired the panel of judges in a new way of interpreting the Flower Show competitors. Titled, Showcase, the category tries to bring together a hybrid of styles that best exemplify a combination of all things floral interpreted with more of a landscape sensibility. A very difficult category to judge, I can assure you. I will arrive at 7AM on Saturday and spend the morning looking at the exhibits then our judging team will huddle and review all our notations and each of us will have to agree on every point awarded - no averaging! By 3PM I will be exhausted from the process and all the walking in the acres that make up the show.

Central feature

In years past I judged Horticultural Club entries (residential gardener) and after years of that I moved into the major Landscape Displays typically put on by professional Landscapers. Here, I was always excited about seeing what the top Landscapers in the field would come up for entries and sometimes disappointed that they used tried and true methods of getting the public excited rather than going out on a proverbial limb and making an astounding statement.

Floral Extravaganza
To my eyes few exhibitors really go out on a limb, most are above the norm and certainly above much of what we see in the real landscape around us. The Flower Show has always tried to take a topic and run with it, but like in all races there are world records, Olympic records, and personal best. To have participated in this great event is more important than who wins which prize. I know it sounds corny, but all are winners, the public and the exhibitors alike. As far as I am concerned we need this event to re-freshen our soul and give us a boost for the spring and growing season to come. Enjoy some entries I have photographed in the past and if you are in the area come visit and rejoice that spring is here on Saturday!

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