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Aloha! Famed Philadelphia Flower Show Goes Hawaiian

By Isabelle Kellogg Created: March 8, 2012 Last Updated: April 18, 2012
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This year's International Flower Show in Philadelphia, the 182nd in its making, invites visitors to a Hawaiian experience of orchids, exotic flowers, waterfalls, lagoons, and tropical exhibits. (Isabelle Kellogg)

This year's International Flower Show in Philadelphia, the 182nd in its making, invites visitors to a Hawaiian experience of orchids, exotic flowers, waterfalls, lagoons, and tropical exhibits. (Isabelle Kellogg)

PHILADELPHIA—The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s 182nd International Flower Show at the Convention Center in Philadelphia through March 11 comes just in time for spring’s awakening. Even if you’ve never set foot on Hawaii, you will feel as if you have after visiting this year’s phenomenal flower show with the theme “Islands of Aloha.”

It’s a full-on experience of orchids, exotic flowers, waterfalls, lagoons, tropical exhibits, “living” walls, free lectures on gardening, food and wine samplings in the Hawaii Village, hula dance and music performances, retail venues and volcanic flames—all under one roof, giving visitors a huge overview of this perennially pleasing Pacific paradise.

Last year’s Paris theme inspired romance. This year’s theme pushes the envelope in terms of artistry, with jewel-like miniature orchid tableaux and arrangements maxing out to full-size, movable panels of “living walls” with hanging orchids amid a garden table setting. They are on display at the floral design company MODA Botanica’s interactive booth called “Lauana” (flower pattern), which won a prize for creativity.

Real-life experiences vied with digital technology to enhance and enliven the flower show as witnessed by new motion graphics developed by Klip, a Philadelphia-based film and video special-effects shop. Waterfalls are transformed into flowing lava and rolling waves on an undulating canopy.

Showcase exhibits include the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s exhibit, orchestrated by Waldor Orchids from New Jersey. It is the largest floral experience on the floor, with over 2,000 orchids, ranging from dendrobiums to vandas. An orchid wave and a 25-foot-high waterfall surround an island with palms, bamboo, and other tropical plants.

Hula dancers and their skirts is the subject of American Institute of Floral Designers, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the art of floral design. Mannequins wear different leis and skirts made of a variety of huge green leaves.

A fantasy rock garden with a desert and a lunar-like landscape, in the spirit of a Garden of the Gods, is the theme of Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens, a local landscape-design and plantings company.

The art of floral design is promoted by some 60 professional exhibitors at this year's Pennsylvania Horticultural Society flower show. (Isabelle Kellogg)

The art of floral design is promoted by some 60 professional exhibitors at this year's Pennsylvania Horticultural Society flower show. (Isabelle Kellogg)

Other major exhibitors include the American Rhododendron Society of Greater Philadelphia, which presents an immense garden alive with colorful rhododendrons and orchid varieties.

Abraham Lincoln High School’s theme is “Going Vertical.” Subway stations and living walls are used to show how public spaces can be decorative while promoting well-being.

A stoic “Remembrance” memorial display recognizes the heroes lost in the battle of Pearl Harbor.

New to this year’s show are daily contests for local amateur floral designers and floral design demonstrations with titles such as “Blue Lagoon,” “Diamond Head,” “Surf’s Up,” and “Island Vibe.”

Bonsai trees, cactus, and succulents get into the act as well in various exhibits sprinkled throughout the exhibit.

The Philadelphia Water Department each year has an intriguing exhibit, and this year is no exception. Miniature replicas of Philadelphia’s notable historic buildings and landmarks become islands of green in an urban setting.

Isabelle Kellogg is a writer and public relations consultant in the luxury sector, with a passion for diamonds, jewelry, watches, and other luxury products, including travel.



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