Garden Diary - March 2017

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Monday, 13 March 2017
A Visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show

Today's the day. I'm joining some friends for a visit to the Philadelphia flower show. Winter has returned with a vengeance. My car's thermometer was showing 9 degrees Fahrenheit when I pulled into her driveway. But it must be today as a winter storm is forecast to dump a foot or more of snow on Tuesday. Off we go, to world filled with flowers.

Doylestown is the end of the line for SEPTA, so it was easy for the three of us to find a row of seats together. Among the other people boarding the train we greeted two more friends entering the same car, also on their way to the flower show. And as the train travelled past North Wales and Gwynedd, Penllyn and other stations (there's a reason for all the Welsh names, back in the 17th century) more and more people came on board until the seats were filled, the aisle was packed, and everyone was looking forward to the flower show.

Photo Credit: © GMR Design LLC
It begins with imagination, an artist's rendering for the flower show.

The magic has been made real. And eager throngs are here to see.


The theme is Holland, Flowering the World. So if you expected tulips . . .
Note: All these tulips and daffodils at the entry were provided by
a favorite vendor from whom I buy bulbs, Brent and Becky's Bulbs.

Everything Dutch. Kloompen.
With tulips.

Bicycles (typically Dutch.) With tulips.

This is one of my favorite tulips, 'Prinses Irene'
deliciously apricot orange feathered with purple.
And lightly fragrant too.

Understand, tulips do come in colors other than orange. Also recognize that orange is typically Dutch for another reason. Through the personage of William III the House of Orange ruled not only the Netherlands but also England, Ireland, and Scotland. And the white bicycle wheels? That's a nod to the White Bicycle Plan - take old bicycles, paint them white, leave them around the city (Amsterdam was first) for anyone to borrow, ride to where they are going, and leave it there for the next user. Sort of like CitiBike in New York City, but free.

One of the competitive display classes featured windows.
Here, spring bulbs. Including the popular 'Prinses Irene'.

Another window, in a rainbow of colors of flowers in decorated pots.

Nearby was a garden of flowers, bold foliage, and colorful letters.

Some people get a map of the flower show and make an organized tour. I'm sure there were displays I missed that I would have enjoyed but my method (wherein lies - if not madness a certain principle of randomization) is to wander. This year's flower show was very easy to saunter through as there seems to be more space between exhibits than in prior years. The Holland theme allows for tidbits such as the white bicycles. There was also a replica of portions of the Anne Frank House, with absent walls allowing a look inside and quotes from her diary on the outside. It was popular to the point where people were in the way between me and where I needed to back off to, to get a decent image.

A lavish arrangement in the style of the Dutch flower paintings. Tulips, of course. And so much more. Other bulbs including soft apricot crown imperial, probably the cultivar Fritillaria imperialis 'The Premier'. Its dark purple "cousin" Fritillaria persica. Anemone coronaria. Iceland poppies. More flowers. Masses of foliage. Scarcely any room on the table for food.

Lest you think every flower was orange or some closely related hue
feast your eyes on this purple, violet, lavender, blue arrangement.

A magnificent pan of Iris reticulata in one of the
competitive horticultural classes for bulbs.

And even a funky bulb class for Amorphophallus konjac.

There were bonsai. And someone knowledgeable to answer questions.

I came upon this display from the back. The long black sparkle-y peacock type train was interesting so I walked around to the front. Only to be turned off by the ankle cuff and chain fastening the mannequin to the swing. Unnecessary. And for me, disturbing. Shades of Princess Leia and Jabba the Hutt.


Another fascinating-but-in-a-positive-manner display was that of The Philadelphia Society of Botanical Illustrators presenting the Plants of the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam.Works done with watercolor, mostly, but also colored pencil, oil, egg tempera, graphite. I was especially taken with this 'Black Parrot' tulip.

Magic in the air. Spring is on the way. Holland, Flowering the World.

You can plan your visit to the flower show here. But hurry, only a few days left.

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