Lights, Camera, Action! Philadelphia Flower Show, Part 2

Japanese miniature garden
Japanese miniature garden

Mini Landscapes

My favorite part of the Philadelphia Flower Show is always the mini landscapes and settings. There is something about the attention to detail and scale that has always attracted me.

Top prize for mini landscapes went to the outstanding Japanese garden above which really inspired me to create one just like it, as I already have a Japanese dollhouse from when I was little. They would go perfect together!

Mini garden with colorful Begonias
Mini garden with colorful Begonias
Mini garden with gazebo
Mini garden with gazebo
Log cabin in the woods mini garden
Log cabin in the woods mini garden
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This musical mini landscape was planted in a guitar!

 

My favorite mini garden from last year
My favorite mini garden from last year

Closeup of the easel and painting

 

People young and old enjoy these miniature landscapes, and I had a full house when I did my “Tinkerbelle and Beyond” demo of miniature gardens with a very happy helper.

 

My helper created a complete fairy setting  and took it home to enjoy
My helper created a complete fairy setting and took it home to enjoy
Doing my demo at the Gardeners Studio on miniature gardens
Doing my demo at the Gardeners Studio on miniature gardens

Miniature Settings

Waiting in a long line to view the miniature settings, I could see people bend down to get a better view in front of the viewing window and exclaim with delight. The line moved slowly because of the amount of detail to absorb and the pictures to take.

Winning exhibit for drama
Winning exhibit for drama
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The setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ was the blue ribbon winner in the drama category

 

For a great blog on the techniques used to set these up, go to Flower Show Miniature Settings. The people who put these together go to a lot of work in ageing their  objects so that they don’t appear brand spanking new, with scratching, color washes, and even eye shadow! The Alfred Hitchcock setting was put together with sheets of cut polystyrene.

People who take on the job of creating these work on them for months, literally starting as soon as the current flower show is over.

Enchanted April setting
Enchanted April setting
Little shop of Horrors
Little shop of Horrors

With only two classes, drama and fantasy, and five exhibits in each, these settings drew a lot of viewers to see the interpretations of the movies along with of course-Plants!! A variety of plants were used – succulents, cactus, tiny house plants and even seedlings. I read on the blog, Flower Show Miniature Settings, that people have learned to use fast growing seeds, like cat grass, chia, or turf grass to add instant greenery.

E.T. miniature setting
E.T. miniature setting

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Gone With the Wind
Gone With the Wind
Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty

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Hollywood Goes to the Dogs
Hollywood Goes to the Dogs

 The Philadelphia Flower Show ends on Sunday, March 7, so you still have time to go see it. Go to The Flower Show for more information about tickets and times.

Lights Camera Bloom! Philadelphia Flower Show-Part 1

"The Movies" was the theme this year for the Philadelphia Flower Show
“The Movies” was the theme this year for the Philadelphia Flower Show

As you enter the Philadelphia Flower Show, you feel that you are visiting an old time movie theater that has a marquee, bright lights, and excitement, and you even smell the buttery scent of popcorn. And yes, they actually were selling hot buttery popcorn freshly popped, like hotcakes!

Cars themed Rt 66 executed by Burke Brothers Landscapes
Cars themed Rt 66 executed by Burke Brothers Landscapes

The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is an annual event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in March. The oldest and largest indoor show, the spectacle features elaborate landscapes, and over-the-top floral creations.

Over the top floral creations
Over the top floral creations

Not only a flower show, visitors experience live shows and entertainment, culinary demonstrations, DIY workshops and lectures. I did a demo on Fairy gardens meets the movies called “Tinkerbell and Beyond” and showed everyone how to arrange a miniature landscape.  Tinkerbell, The Hobbit, and Fern Gully gardens complete with animals and fairies were put together on the demo stage and I had a great helper who was eager to play in the dirt. I had an assistant to help me with my demo on miniature gardens

I had an assistant to help me with my demo on miniature gardens.

My assistant made a great fairy garden with a little coaching
My assistant made a great fairy garden with a little coaching
Tinkerbells' miniature garden
Tinkerbells’ miniature garden

The aisles were thronged with people trying to get a good view of the very inventive interpretations of movies.

'Nightmare Before Christmas' was a big hit
‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ was a big hit

Four season containers were on display to demonstrate that you can have containers planted all year long.

Four season containers
Four season containers

But the movie exhibits were so interesting that I kept going back to them to check them out.

Chicken coop made out of an old car for 'Cars" movie

Chicken coop made out of an old car for “Cars” movie!

Ratatouille was so cute!
Ratatouille was so cute!
Ratatouille popped up everywhere
Ratatouille popped up everywhere
I loved these air plants that were upside down in dried sea urchins to mimic jelly fish-In Finding Nemo
I loved these air plants that were upside down in dried sea urchins to mimic jelly fish-In ‘Finding Nemo’
Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatters Tea Party
Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatters Tea Party
I loved this storefront of underwear made of flowers!
I loved this storefront of underwear made of flowers

The miniatures were wonderful as usual and I am doing another post on just the miniature gardens and scenes. Stay tuned for part 2.

My haul of plants from the show
My haul of plants from the show

 

ARTiculture-Philadelphia Flower Show 2014

Entrance Exhibit
Entrance Exhibit

The PHS (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society)Philadelphia Flower show is the nation’s largest flower show, clocking in at 10 acres of the Philadelphia Convention Center, and features the areas premier landscape designers and florists, with cutting edge designs and horticulture. The entrance garden of “ARTiculture”, inspired by the paintings and sculptures of Alexander Calder, the artist that most of us know from his inventive mobiles, is a stunner.

Entrance garden
Entrance garden

Show by Numbers

  • 20 truckloads of mulch used for exhibits
  • 1,000 Butterflies in the Butterfly Experience room
  • 3,500 volunteers
  • 1,500 calories burned walking through the show
  • 5,000 plant entries in horticulture
  • 500,000 pounds of hardscape used
  • 42,000 Hors d’oeuvres served at the Preview Party ( I wished I could have made this!)
  • 86 pounds of chocolate eaten at the Preview Party
  • 1,368 bottles of wine served at the Preview Party
  • 25,000 hotel rooms occupied in the region during the Flower Show
  • 1 Million raised each year by the Flower Show to benefit programs by the PHS

“ARTiculture”, the fusion of art and horticulture, was one of the best shows that I have experienced by the Philadelphia Horticulture Society. It seems to me that art and flowers go hand in hand, so this pairing was a natural. Floral design is an art form, which involves all the principles used in creating art, and a perfect theme for the show. The area’s leading art museums – the Penn Museum, Woodmere Art Museum, Grounds for Sculpture, the Brandywine River Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Barnes Foundation, The Getty, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, all influenced and partnered with the PHS flower show in celebrating great horticultural design as an art form. The gravitas of these respected organizations that helped out with the staging of the show, brought it up a notch in my estimation.

Lots of the horticulture displays were improved such as this wall of cactus
Lots of the horticulture displays were improved such as this wall of cactus

Horticulture

The horticulture exhibits were as usual outstanding, and I often wonder if the exhibitors have access to greenhouses as well as personal gardeners!

I always appreciate it when something bizarre and odd-looking gets a blue ribbon. This time, it was an Ariocarpus fissuratus, a rare slow-growing cactus. Weird!

Ariocarpus fissuratus got a blue ribbon
Ariocarpus fissuratus got a blue ribbon

The miniature gardens were well represented and I particularly liked the one with the artist’s palette. The exhibitor interpreted the show theme perfectly.

Miniature garden
Miniature garden

I always enjoy the Bonsai displayed against a backdrop of a Japanese house, another improvement from last year. I go here to escape from the crowds and to enjoy the simple stark miniature trees.

Bonsai at the Philly Show is a peaceful respite from the crowds
Bonsai at the Philly Show is a peaceful respite from the crowds

Miniatures

Usually the miniatures are so crowded, that you have to wait in a long line to view them. This time around, I got in early because I was judging the show and only exhibitors who were making last-minute adjustments were on the floor.

Some miniatures which are about 3 inches in diameter
Some miniatures which are about 3 inches in diameter

Floral Designs

Spider web design
Spider web design

The designs as usual were fabulous and I particularly liked the store windows this year which I judged. I really liked the one in the lower right hand corner that was designed as a store front of an art store. Very appropriate for the show! It did not win the blue ribbon because the flowers did not match the craziness of the cutouts. The flowers used were too small and not unusual enough to fit in with the wild cutouts. The winner for this class was the store front with the red shoes. Very cutting edge!

Store windows
Store windows

Theme for 2015 Preview

The rumor for the 2015 theme is the movies! Here are a few from this years show that may be the precursors of next year.

Philadelphia flower show 2014 071 Philadelphia flower show 2014 073

More floral designs:

Make and Take

The “Make and Take” rooms as usual were a hit with lots of terrariums and “fascinator” hats being made.

Make and Take room for creating your own masterpiece
Make and Take room for creating your own masterpiece

And talking about hats, a repeat of the hat exhibit from last year was on display and looks like it will be here to stay. I really enjoyed these.

Hats out of flowers
Hats out of flowers

Vertical Gardens

Keeping up with the popularity of vertical gardening, a new category was added to showcase new ways of gardening on a wall.

Vertical gardening
Vertical gardening

More:

Brilliant! The Philadelphia Flower Show

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Foxgloves ruled at the Philadelphia Flower Show– shown here with annual Blue Salvia

Attention Plant Geeks! You still have time to visit the greatest flower show on earth!

I just came back from doing my demo of fairy gardens at the Philadelphia Flower Show and took lots of pictures and video.  If you can’t make it this year to the show, you are missing a blooming  ‘Brilliant’ show! English gardens were front and center with lots of English cottage style borders full of overflowing flowers.

Beautiful Foxgloves!
Beautiful Foxgloves!

The flower that I noticed over and over were Foxgloves, a truly English flower.  Peace Tree Nursery, who forces most of the plant material for the flower show must have had acres of Foxgloves to deliver for the show.  They were beautiful!

Beautiful woodland setting at one of the landscaped gardens
Beautiful woodland setting at one of the landscaped gardens

Here are some quick facts about the show:

  •  The Philadelphia Flower show is the largest of its kind in the nation and draws over 250,000 people from all over the world.  It is larger even than the renowned Chelsea Flower in England.
  • Held at the Convention Center, the gardens cover more than 10 acres of floral fantasy.
  • In addition to the major garden displays, the Flower Show hosts world-renowned competitions in horticulture and artistic arranging, hundreds of gardening lectures and demonstrations, special events, a mammoth indoor Marketplace, and a city-wide Flower Show Week celebration throughout downtown Philadelphia.
  • The Flower Show has been held since 1829, which makes it the oldest one in the nation.

Brilliant! is this years theme and should delight all Anglophiles which I happen to be from traveling to Britain many times over the years. Only the English really understand gardening and make it a national “sport”.  They also have the perfect climate to create those fabulous gardens that you see. American gardeners are usually envious about the English “cottage” gardens and try to replicate them at home, but rarely succeed. We have a harsher, more unforgiving climate that takes tougher plants to survive. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just a different spin on gardening, and no less beautiful.

Here are the things that were notable about this show:

Scavenger Hunt 

I am a kid at heart, so the “Quest for the Queen” scavenger hunt really tickled my fancy. There were miniature sized “Queen” figures hidden around the exhibits and kids were challenged to find them.  Make gardening fun for kids.  I loved it! These are gardening newbies in the making!

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Fascinators

English: Several examples of fascinators photo...
English: Several examples of fascinators photo from flickr by motodraconis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, Maybe you have been living in a cave for the past year and haven’t heard about the latest craze of Fascinators! These were popularized at the last royal wedding when some over-the-top head-gear was displayed. New this year at the Philly Show, was the ‘Make and Take’ area for people to fork over $10 and make their very own interpretation of headgear that makes anyone stand out in a crowd. I saw dozens of them so this must have been a very popular feature.

Fascinator on Etsy
Fascinator on Etsy (Photo credit: shadowfairyqueen)

Crown Jewels

What if your assignment was to interpret the Crown Jewels in flowers?  Where would you start?  Color obviously, shape also, but glamour and impact are paramount! I think these designers accomplished that in spades!

Crown Jewels - Sapphire Blue, This was my favorite!
Crown Jewels – Sapphire Blue, This was my favorite!
The golden sceptre
The golden sceptre
The throne done in red roses
The throne done in red roses
The entrance to the crown jewels
The entrance to the crown jewels

Gardener‘s Studio

Ok, I agree that I am partial to this venue because I was one of the presenters! But, take a load off your sore feet after walking around for hours and listen to the different programs that the studio dishes up! David Culp on Hellebores, a container garden challenge,  and creating a Bird Friendly garden, and myself doing a demo on Fairy Gardens were some of the different offerings on tap.

Gretchen, my assistant, and I working hard at The Gardeners Studio
Gretchen, my assistant, and I working hard at The Gardeners Studio
Gretchen showing around the miniature globe garden to the audience
Gretchen showing around the miniature globe garden to the audience

The Poop Exhibit

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I did warn you that I am a kid at heart and I gravitated to this “Poop Exhibit” by the Philadelphia Water Department just like any kid would – the ultimate low cost natural fertilizer!

 A fake pile of poop complete with flies!
A fake pile of poop complete with flies!

Oddities

No show is complete without plant oddities and I spotted a couple. Check out these two.

Grafted Cactus
Grafted Cactus
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Bowiea volublis or otherwise known as ‘Pregnant Onion’

Miniature Gardens

There is always a crowd gathered around the miniature gardens and I took lots of pictures of these.  They seem to get better every year. Enjoy!

Related Articles

The Realm of Fairy- Creating Fairy Gardens

Demonstrating at the Philadelphia Flower Show with my loyal helper, Gretchen
Demonstrating at the Philadelphia Flower Show with my loyal helper, Gretchen

The Philadelphia Flower Show Gardener’s Studio

I am going to present at the Philadelphia Flower Show Gardener’s Studio on March 4th and am very excited about the topic.  Since the theme for the flower show is Brilliant!, which is celebrating Great Britain, I thought that designing fairy gardens would fit right in, kind of like gardening with”A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream” in mind.

I am frantically creating, and designing miniature gardens, houses, and fairies so that I am well supplied with examples to display. I sold most of the ones that I made in the spring, so am starting from square one in getting ready.

But if you can’t make it to the Flower Show, here are my guidelines and helpful hints about creating a masterpiece yourself.

Miniature Plants Suitable for Fairy Gardens:

There are tons more that are available, but I find these work well for me.

Acorus, Sweet Flag                                        

Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip'
Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Photo credit: The Greenery Nursery)

Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’

Ajuga ‘Burgundy Glow’

Alchemilla erythropoda, Dwarf Lady’s Mantle

Armeria – Thrift

Campanula ‘Blue Waterfall’

Dianthus ‘Tiny Rubies’

Dwarf Boxwoods

Armeria maritima
Armeria maritima (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dwarf Conifers

Dwarf Ivies

Hypericum ‘Brigadoon’, St Johns Wort

Lamium ‘White Nancy’

Lamium ‘Purple Dragon’

Leptinella ‘Platt’s Black’

Lysimachia ‘Minutissima’, Creeping Jenny

Raoulia australis and Leptinella squalida 'Pla...
Raoulia australis and Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ (Photo credit: brewbooks)

Mazus reptans

Ophiopogon ‘Nana’, dwarf Mondo grass

Sagina, Irish Moss

Saxifrage

Sedum ‘Blue Spruce’

Sedums
Sedums (Photo credit: Eric Hunt.)

Sedum ‘Blue Carpet’

Sedum ‘Lemon Gem’

Sedum ‘Ogon’

Sedum ‘Angelina’

Sempervivum, Hens and Chicks

Thyme

Violas

English: Cultivated violas at the show.
English: Cultivated violas at the show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sources for Accessories and Materials:

The woods and fields around your house!

Michael’s Craft Stores

Amazon.com

weetrees.com

plowhearth.com

etsy.com

thefairysgarden.com

save-on-crafts.com (one of my favorite sites for generally everything crafty!)

Model train and dollhouse stores are great also

Materials for Making Fairy Houses Outside

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Slab of bark

Bark

Acorns

Pine Cones

Magnolia leaves

Mullein Leaves (soft and fuzzy – makes good blankets)

Lambs Ears Leaves (soft and fuzzy)

Deer Antlers

Pebbles
Pebbles (Photo credit: andrew dowsett)

Moss, Sheet, Bun, and Reindeer

Smooth Pebbles (get these in the floral dept at Michaels)

Beach Glass and Pebbles (Michaels)

Seeds and Pods

Milk Weed Pods

English: wave polished glass fragments from Gu...
English: wave polished glass fragments from Guantanamo’s Glass Beach. Original caption: :Glass Beach at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is known for the colorful pieces of glass that wash up on its shore. – JTF Guantanamo photo by Harriot Johnston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teasels

Twisted branches

Driftwood

Shells, starfish

Sheep’s fleece

Potting Mix – Use a good quality soilless mix

Taking Care of Your Garden, both inside and outside

Mister
Mister
  • Do not let moss dry out in the summer, spritz with a mister
  • For portable containers, set them outside in high shade for the summer if the plants are tender bring them in for the winter and keep it on the dry side – the moss will go dormant
  • Fertilize sparingly – you want the plants to grow slowly!
  • Trim and prune regularly to keep plants in bounds
  • Every few months, tune up the garden by replacing plants that die or grow too large

Creating an Outdoor Fairy House

When spring comes, I like to make a fairy house to set into the garden. Each year it is different. Here is one that I made this year.

Fairy House for the outdoors
Fairy House for the outdoors

To put this together, I gathered some large pieces of bark. I got mine from a tree cutter.  The bark was about 1 1/2 inches thick and curved so I cut pieces and glued them together to form a house about 15 inches tall and 12 inches around. Then I cut a hole through the bark for the door.  I traced and cut a circle out of wonderflex which is a composite material used for theater costumes, for the roof. It is very strong and water proof. I twisted the wonderflex into a cone shape and hot glued it together. This formed the basis for my roof.

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Wonderflex which is available on line

I then took a very large Sugar Pine cone that I picked up at Lake Tahoe years ago. It was about 1 foot tall! I took apart the scales which are nice and large to cover the roof.

Sugar Pine Cone which I tore apart
Sugar Pine Cone which I tore apart
Hot gluing the scales to the roof
Hot gluing the scales to the roof

I hot glued the roof to the base and added some more natural things to make the house more interesting – antler pieces, and twisted branches. Allium seed heads are great additions.

Adding more natural things to the house
Adding more natural things to the house

You can set this as the centerpiece of your outdoor fairy garden, and put fencing, paths, and landscape around it with moss and plants. The house should last several seasons if you take it in for the winter. I hope to see you in Philadelphia!

Tiny miniature garden with a trellis and grapevine
Tiny miniature garden with a trellis and grapevine
I used an old stump to make this fairy house
I used an old stump to make this fairy house
A hanging globe planted with tiny plants
A hanging globe planted with tiny plants