Garden Wisdom

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.."  -Alfred Austin



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Jeff, Gardener in Chief

Contrary to popular opinion, some people in the Hamptons enjoy getting their hands dirty. I'm a self-taught gardener in East Hampton, NY that enjoys sharing my gardening experiences and inspiration with others. Hope you enjoy my blog and galleries.

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Aloha from the Philly Flower Show

Prize winning orchid

This week, I went to my first big flower show,  the Philadelphia International Flower Show managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.  With the theme "Hawaii: Islands of Aloha",  I wasn't sure what to expect.  Attending this famous winter flower show had been on my to-do list for years.

The show included many rather elaborate garden displays, recreating lush tropical landscape designs that celebrated the flora of the Hawaiian islands.  Tons of orchids, bromeliads, birds-of-paradise, palms, warm-weather grasses were planted among lava rocks, logs and sand.  Some exhibits had towering waterfalls while others had small lagoons.  A colorful departure from the Northeast winter landscape outside the convention center.  But like a trip to Hawaii, I would have to leave most of these plants and designs behind when I returned to my USDA Zone 7a.

Lava rock garden

There were several displays showcasing vegetable gardens.  One that stood out was a vertical garden of lettuce growing on the side of a shed.  Wouldn't this be wonderful if this really worked?  I could finally have a vegetable garden without sacrificing perennials. 

Seven varieties of lettuce growing on a 40-foot wall

Another highlight was the "Store Window" exhibits.  Very inventive designers used tropical plants to create eye-catching displays, celebrating the Hawaiian theme.

"Eye-Catching" store window display

Fun way to display plants indoors

VERY colorful spring display

I did find a few exhibits with more familiar plantings, including azaleas, spring bulbs and dogwoods forced into bloom.  And from some of these displays,  I did get some new and relevant ideas for my Hamptons garden.


Like a big state fair, there were many contests for outstanding plants, including orchids, begonias, hanging baskets, succulents, bonsai trees, and bulbs.  The number and variety of orchids was incredible. (I'm not sure I'll be satisfied with the King Kullen grocery's $29.99 Phalaenopsis any longer.)

There were quite a few displays of floral arrangements.  Some left me wondering what these designers would think of my simple, garden-inspired compositions.  Like Crayola drawings compared to Picasso sketches.

Simply dramatic floral arrangement


With a tropical show theme,  I hadn't expected to buy anything from the huge marketplace of garden vendors.  That turned out not to be the case.  I returned to my car with bags filled with gorgeous orchids, violets, vegetable seeds, and porcelain vases.  I might have bought more, but it became increasingly difficult to navigate the aisles with big bags as the crowds increased.

Begonia candidates ready for their close-up


A nice day trip and really close to New York City.  The show runs through tomorrow, March 11th.  If your looking for a Sunday activity, check it out:


A hui hou (Good-bye, until we meet again)!



Reader Comments (1)

Hello Jeff!
Glad you had a great time at the Philadelphia Flower Show. It's fun to see all the displays even if they are not practical plants for our own gardens. But it sounds like you did OK at the Martketplace anyway :)
We have a similar show in Toronto called Canada Blooms. I went in March when it's still cold and snowy here. Lovely breath of spring!

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

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