Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring in Paris in Philadelphia in Winter

The tradition of The Philadelphia Flower Show begun in 1829 by The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The Show was held in a small building called Masonic Hall where Twenty-five people showed off their horticultural treasures to each other.

The show has moved locations a few times since then and is currently in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, a 33 acre space, with the exhibit taking up 10 of those. It's the largest indoor Flower Show in the world, entertaining crowds over 250,000 people annually.

They have themes each year and this year the theme was 'Paris in Spring'. This included many overweight Americans wearing berets, hot dog stands being called Boulangerie, lots of misspelling, and a replica of the lower third of the Eiffle Tower with swaths of tulips and roses on each side. Paris never looked so good!

How to describe it: shock and awe, surreal, extravagant, artificial, beautiful, and completely unsustainable. The flowers in the tulip display had to be changed out three times during the ten days the exhibit was open. All the bulbs, perennials, and huge trees, are forced into bloom in giant greenhouses,
whole houses and small forests temporarily constructed, and all this big production is made so we can just feast our eyes on the fluorescent beauty of nature months in advance. Green walls, packed tight with tropical ferns and orchids, were already starting to fade on this last weekend, and I can only imagine the plants fate after the show comes down.

The best part of the show are the rare specimens entered into the contests. Here you can see the real horticultural skill of obsessed people. They have nurtured some of these plants into the fantastic form they're now in for perhaps the last twenty years. I mean how often do you have to mist a fern to get it to thrive like this?!

This is a creation of both nature and man and this is the real stunning part of the show.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, my dear. At least the competitive entries were returned to their obsessed owners to continue life (we hope). Lola