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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The aisles were thronged with people trying to get a good view of the very inventive interpretations of movies.
Four season containers were on display to demonstrate that you can have containers planted all year long.
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!
Ratatouille was so cute!
The miniatures were wonderful as usual and I am doing another post on just the miniature gardens and scenes. Stay tuned for part 2.
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.
Show by Numbers
20 truckloads of mulch used for exhibits
1,000 Butterflies in the Butterfly Experience room
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.
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!
The miniature gardens were well represented and I particularly liked the one with the artist’s palette. The exhibitor interpreted the show theme perfectly.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Keeping up with the popularity of vertical gardening, a new category was added to showcase new ways of gardening on a wall.
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.
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!
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:
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!
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.
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!
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.
The Poop Exhibit
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!
No show is complete without plant oddities and I spotted a couple. Check out these two.
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!
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.
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
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
Slab of bark
Mullein Leaves (soft and fuzzy – makes good blankets)
Lambs Ears Leaves (soft and fuzzy)
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
Potting Mix – Use a good quality soilless mix
Taking Care of Your Garden, both inside and outside
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!