If you are a greenhouse owner in the northeast you should treat yourself – take a trip to the Philadelphia Flower show. What makes it spectacular? The show is held in early to mid-March when there is very little in bloom outside of the greenhouse. Many of the prizewinning plants are grown by enthusiastic greenhouse owners just like you and me and they show what can be done in any greenhouse.
This year the displays celebrated the beauty, history and culture of America’s 408 National Parks with the theme of ‘Explore America’. Each display showed the breadth and variety of the parks. Acadia, Shenandoah, Valley Forge and Yellowstone were just a few of the parks represented.
At the show entrance and you are greeted with four huge-screens showing the beauty of the national parks. From there, take one of three trails around the exhibits to see representations of each park. For example, the Big Timber Lodge exhibit showed the eruptions of “Old Faithful,” the buffalo that roam the park, a huge waterfall. Another park exhibited facsimile versions of California’s Giant Redwood trees.
From my point of view the prize-winner exhibits were the most interesting. They revealed what can be done in a greenhouse, especially in an orchid house. The Cymbidiums, Cattleyas, and Phalaenopsis orchids were truly spectacular and made me want to go home and fertilize my plants to try to generate similar spectacular blooms for next year. What I found particularly interesting is that the prize winning cymbidiums were pot bound! In reading up on this later, I learned that pot bound plants tend to flower better so my plants will not get repotted for the next few years. I’m also going to look for some of the varieties on display. My cymbidiums looked drab compared to those at the show.
In yet another part of the show, thousands of butterflies in the ‘Butterflies Live’ section showed the diversity of insects that populate America’s parks. Created by California’s SkyRiver Butterflies especially for the show, the exhibit emphasized the plants that you need to attract butterflies in your garden.
There are so many things to see and learn about that you can spend an entire day just walking the show, without even going into the vendor section where you can buy plants similar to those on display. The Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest and longest running flower show. It began in 1829 and has a history of introducing the latest plants to gardeners. Proceeds from the show benefit a number of charities such as City Harvest, Philadelphia LandCare and Plant OneMillion: aimed at planting a million trees.