I just got back from the world's largest indoor flower show, the Philadelphia Flower Show, produced by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. I've been curious about the show for several years and having been to a couple home and garden shows around here, I wanted to get an idea of what the best of the best would be like.
The show was divided into three main sections: the professional displays, the individual and club displays, and the vendors. The place was a madhouse - jam-packed with people. If you go next year, I would recommend not going into the vendor section. It was kind of like wading into a riptide and fearing you would never get out.
This year's theme was "Bella Italia", with several of the main displays portraying garden scenes of various parts of the country (Rome, Venice, etc.). It was sort of like if you took the Italian section of Busch Gardens and condensed into a large auditorium. There were a lot of beautiful plants but it was a bit on the kitschy side. And there wasn't much that a typical gardener could take back and apply to their own garden (of course that's not exactly the point).
There were also some contemporary displays to liven things up. What do you think?
Individual and Club displays
I was more attracted to the individual and group displays. These beautiful and varied plants had a lot more to say about people's appreciation and love of plants. In addition to the expected tulips and daffodils, there were all sorts of obscure judging categories like non-flowering mammillaria, pubescent cactus, and matched pairs 6" and under. There were also categories for things like niches, arbors, and pressed flower pictures - just about anything you could think of.
The cacti were great - very sculptural in their cute little pots (some of my pictures are a bit blurry - sorry!). If I had more light in my yard, I'd love to try some.
The orchids were beautiful, although you see them so much nowadays, even in grocery stores, that they don't seem quite as special anymore. These, however, were very nice specimens with huge root masses and loads of stems.
If you have some time to kill, you can see all of my flower show shots here. I wish I had thought to take my video camera - it would have made for a great video blog. Maybe next year. You're coming with me Cosmo!