“Brilliant!” is the theme of this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show, now in its 184th year. (And yes, it’s the longest-running in the world and also the largest flower show anywhere.)
In my admittedly American understanding, the ubiquitous English slang usage of ‘brilliant” isn’t about IQ scores but, one supposes, a synonym of “awesome,” to name our own ubiquitous slang term.
Here’s how “Brilliant” is being interpreted at the show. According to their website, it’ll pay tribute to London’s centuries of inspiring, influential design. Visitors will be greeted by the scent of thousands of English roses at the Royal palace gates, which open to the show’s grand centerpiece: a sculptural, digitally enhanced rendition of Big Ben, complete with an hourly light and sound show. The main exhibits will focus on Britain’s heritage and culture including Royal events, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, foggy London streetscapes and a floral presentation of the Crown Jewels.
But there’s soooo much more, including garden displays like these I found at previous Philly Flower Shows, plus:
Brand new this year, the Gardener’s Studio will host Container Garden Challenges, friendly competitions in which three experts will create beautiful containers using the same materials. The audience can select their favorite by voting via the Flower Show app. And their line-up of speakers includes these big names in gardening that I recognize, and lots more that I don’t: author/plant experts David Culp, Organic Gardening Magazine’s Ethne Clark and Doug Hall, gardening writer/TV host William Moss, and Chuck Hinkle of the Scott Arboretum.
The Designer’s Studio invited the nation’s best floral designers to show their stuff live on stage. Assorted materials are assembled into art before our eyes. And they’ll be repeating a feature that was a big hit last year – head-to-head competitions among design professionals and amateur contestants These live face-offs will provide the drama and suspense of a reality TV show and Flower Show visitors will vote to determine the winner.
The Designer’s Studio includes tons of free daily talks – details here, with speaker bios. I recognize Washington Post veg-gardening writer Barbara Damrosch, who lives in Maine so we don’t get to hear here often in the Mid-Atlantic, and – get this! – the gardens manager for “The Royal Household”! Now that should be fun. Also these expert authors: Tovah Martin, Marty Wingate, David Culp and Lee Reich, and National Gardening Association spokesman and very popular guy Charlie Nardozzi.
The Garden to Table Studio, which looks and feels like a true chef’s kitchen, has three free half-hour cooking demonstrations every day. Sponsored by Organic Gardening Magazine and featuring regional chefs.
There’s also lots to see, from huge garden-size displays to tiny gardens in bottles. Also? Shopping!
Homestead’s Philly Flower Shop trip is always popular and now has a waiting list – click here to put your name on it. Or just grab some gardening friends and GO. It runs from Saturday, March 2 through Sunday, March 10. And DO go on a weekday if you possibly can. All the details are here.