Philadelphia Flower Show 2012

Blue Waters

Oceany blue waters with lights cast above on white orchids, awwh, very beautiful. Perfect scene for a wedding. Special event, etc.

Philly Show is served up Hawaiian Style

Aloha!  I am back from the Philadelphia Flower Show, themed Hawaiian style this year.  My feet are sore, my eyes are tired, and my joints slightly achey from all the walking, looking around, and carrying of garden goodies and books from our two day visit of this yearly event.  But yet, I would do it all again.  And I think my husband, Steve, would too.  Especially because they had a “Man Cave” at the show this year…more on that later.

Rather than blab on and on about how spectacular a show of this size is, (it is the world’s largest indoor flower show), and its impact on inspirational gardening juices, I’d like to share some of the iPhone snapshots I took  of certain features which especially captured my attention, and why.  I’ll save the babbling for when I see you in person.  Because there is so much more to say than this quick post today.

Phalaenopsis Orchids in Blue Waters

Phalaenopsis orchids, known as Moth Orchids, are a favorite for many orchid and houseplant lovers because they are well suited for homes and easy to grow. I’m no orchid specialist, but they had every type of orchid you could image at this show.  There were walls of them, many embedded in tropical gardens, masses dangling from tall overhead structures and situated near a massive waterfall on its rock edges, and of course, lots showcased as floral art design elements, worn as fresh Hawaiian Leis and as jewelry.  If you are an orchid lover, this year’s show was for you.  Orchids are beautiful, eye-catching, plus they smell nice.  But of all the orchids we saw at this show, especially beautifulwas a mass of Phalaenopsis orchids in a very large square area on the show floor, literally located at feet to knee level, housed in water dyed a vivid ocean blue color in clear glass vases designed by Robertson’s Flowers.  Lights below the vases cast brilliance onto the white of the orchids and I thought to myself, this is way prettier than white orchids dyed blue.  I literally crouched onto the floor to get some photos.  The space was calming and the white of the orchid was intensely clean and fresh, as fresh as a bride’s wedding gown.  Plus this feeling repeated a design composition seen earlier in the show, at the show’s main entrance hall, where a huge overhead projection screen was flushed in similar blue colors with white orchid flower images floating on imaginary waves.  The structure was above your heads and created a dramatic entrance before leading you down the path through tropical gardens where the floor of the moth orchids were showcased further along your journey.  A different style unveiled and would be perfect for a wedding scene.

Jungle nook, Outdoor Shower? I don't know but it feels like a little private space with reusing materials left behind.

Dole Barrel in an Abandoned Space

When we visited the Big Island two years ago, there were many hideaway places, and a certain part of a display at the show included old barrel stamped DOLE surrounded by lush foliage.  Tall bamboo in the background with elephant ears, ferns, and other lush foliage made the space feel private or discovered accidentally. This scene felt like a real yet different part of Hawaii’s nature offerings.  Maybe not one every tourist would see, but one definitely fitting to the way tropicals can grow to create a jungle, especially in an abandoned space or perhaps a private hideaway place.  And suddenly, if you are adventuring in that jungle world, you may come across an old artifact or gone by tool of a grower, or in this case, perhaps a place where pineapples were once grown on the island but no longer in production.  I read later, this barrel may have been intended to be an outdoor shower, but I didn’t think that when I first saw it.  It reminded me of some of the abandoned places or rustic looking items you can find on island adventures.   Left behind for the foliage to claim or an adventurous soul to discover and reused in a new way.  If it was meant to be an outdoor shower, I missed that part – because the show is so crowded sometimes you get to see only pieces or sections at a time, and this Dole barrel section was a quick snapshot of a moment.  It made me remember places I visited in prior visits to the real Hawaii.  An informal side.

Art Pieces Perfect for Container Gardens

Beautiful for containers too.

There were many more art pieces this year at the flower show that can easily be used in container gardens, which I was pleased to see.  From glass blown garden pieces to well made garden lighting accents, and pots fashioned with fountain components included.  This is all good for the world of container crazy people, like moi.  When I approached the lighting display by Stone Manor Lighting,, my first question was, “Were these featured in Garden Design magazine?”  The two gentlemen manning their booth jumped up and replied with, “Yes!”  I remember admiring the copper and brass stemmed flower lighting pieces in garden photos only two days ago when browsing the mag, and voila, here they were at the show.  It took seconds for me to order up a set of the buttercup yellow trio.  I can’t wait to put them in a large container with some complementary flower color schemes.  Also, displayed for sale at the show were beautiful blown glass art pieces by Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens NW. Visit to see the plate size glass fountains on stems in unique shapes and vivid colors.  Some made me think of fern frond shapes.  Her fountains include matching glass balls which float gently in the waters from the circulation.  Her art pieces are perfect elements to step up container gardens and flower pots – a way to combine nature with art and capture light and water.  And perhaps, her fountians help reduce the need for watering?

Perfect for container gardens and waters too!

Globe Sized Glass Bowl Terrariums

Globe Size Terrariums in Competition Areas

In the horticulture display area, where featured plants are staged as individuals of glorious growth or amazing bloom, in perfect condition, many for competitions, was also a display of several large globe bowls filled with tropicals, pitcher plants, moss, and earthy elements creating mini woodland gardens scenes –  a larger sized terrariums.  Terrariums are hot this year. I am seeing them everywhere and I like them, but I also perfer big pots, so when I saw these shiny large clear glass globes that were large versus the typical tiny terrariums, I had to take a few photos.  Yes, I definitely want to create some of these this year.  I’m going to track down the bowls and maybe offer a session on making theses.  These big bowls feel like outdoor decor and in the right setting can be serve a modern look.  The lights at the show made the bowls sparkle and brought a certain spotlight to the garden housed within.

Vertical Wall of Lettuce

Pass the dressing

I remember saying in a group meeting with some horticulture type people that vertical gardening was becoming popular (believe it was at least one year ago), and then quickly getting offended when one woman laughed at my comment.  Guess she was thinking I was referring to those bags you hang from flower hooks to grow upside down vegetables.  Those are useful for some too, but that was “not” was I was talking about.  Well, at this year’s Philly show, there was a forty foot long wall of lettuce – a vertical garden of fresh foliage for the eating.  Watching a gal poke behind the lettuce bunches to figure out how they stayed there, I had to chuckle – Now this is what I meant by vertical gardening!  What a perfect concept for restaurants with outdoor seating areas.  I have to say, the display of this colorful mix of lettuce on a tall long wall, which I believe was by City Harvest Garden, Meadowbrook Farm Store, and PHS members, was definitely all about the gardeners that love to grow what they eat.  An area of vegetable gardens, an enclosed area with a garden table enclosing plants down the center, latterns hanging above made from galvanized pots, and nooks with old wooden walls as backdrops, all with the look of community gardens filled with vegetable plants.  Pass me the salad dressing, I was ready to eat.  Later, at the Reading Terminal Market next door to the convention center, I spotted fresh lettuce bagged up – but in inflated clear bags, and you know, that looked appetizing as well.  Both scenes makes us appreciate home grown and fresh, and how wonderful that experience can be, whether gardening vertically or horizontally.

Lush green packaging of lettuce

Cutesy and Fun

Peeking FunA cute and fun display of garden animals on surf boards, peering out a tiki hut, and sitting in a stew pot for dinner.  It was simple and I am sure kids came up to see it.  This display by the American Ivy Society captured a day on the beach, catching the waves, being at play, and felt like a comical notation and nothing like anything else in the show.  It was unique. You could almost hear the childrens’ giggles as you imagined this scene in motion.  I had to stop to take a few photos of this too.

Surfs Up

Well, that is all I can fit on my quick blog today, as I have to get busy.  All this inspiration has got me more excited to design and create.  Hope to post more information tomorrow, sorry about any typo’s!

Cathy T

For more about the show, visit:

P.S.  Great staying at the downtown Marriott, their package includes breakfast and show tickets, and a connecting walkway to the convention center is very convenient.  Especially when you need to escape the crowds at times.  Only quite hour was 8:00-9:00 am for us on Saturday morning.

3 thoughts on “Philadelphia Flower Show 2012

  1. Pingback: Have you been to the Chicago Flower Show? | Container Crazy Cathy T

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