March 5th, 2014
Being fairly clueless when it comes to art, I wasn’t sure if I was going to “get” anything at this year’s art-meets-plants Philadelphia International Flower Show.
You know what, though? I liked it.
People who like art and know the pieces and places and artists behind the inspirations for the two dozen major display garden really will appreciate the 2014 show, which runs through Sunday, March 9, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
It has the feel of an art gallery to me. You can zip through the gardens and enjoy the surface-level benefit of color and fragrance, or you can stand and study the deeper connections the garden designs have to their paired art works.
I’m more in the first camp, but hey, I’m OK with that.
The displays were, as always, very impressive and creative. And after this never-ending, frigid winter, I’ll take whatever blooms I can get however anyone wants to deliver them.
That said, here are eight of the coolest things that caught my eye at this year’s show:
1.) The main-entry gardens. The show always shoots for something “wow” right inside the door. This year didn’t disappoint.
The concept is a series of three increasingly large, upright, flower-adorned picture frames that have floral geometric shapes that seems to be flying out of them.
Beds of massed begonias, kalanchoe, tulips, hyacinths and marigolds fill the surrounding beds, and live topiary evergreens and columnar weeping Alaska-cedars flank the frames.
If that’s not enough, the lights dim and change colors to add to the fairyland feel, and dancers do ballet-like routines to music six times a day over the gardens while suspended from the ceiling.
2.) The Hudson Valley Seed Library. This little small-town (Accord, N.Y.) public library came up with the idea to “loan” seeds to patrons a dozen years ago, encouraging them to “return” fresh seeds after the season’s harvest.
The novel program turned into a small seed-producing farm, then to a seed company specializing in regional open-pollinated heirlooms and now into its very first seed catalog.
What grabbed my eye at the show was the artwork on the seed packets – done by artists commissioned to develop art that conveyed the story of the seeds inside. Very interesting… and beautifully done.