THE PHILADELPHIA FLOWER SHOW: A dilettante at large review

Photo by the author

The DAL remembers being taken to the flower show as a child; the magical moment happened when someone sprinkled glitter in my hair but I’m embarrassed to tell you that I have no recollection of the flowers. And likewise, there is nothing about the spectacular horticultural displays in the current show, back indoors at last, that would interest the average child.  But adults—of the gardening and non-gardening varieties—will find much beauty in the vast halls of Convention Center.

The theme this year is “The Garden Electric.” I, frankly, have no idea what this means, since it seems to imply some bizarre Elon Musk flower power. But if the title means to imply that the show is filled with color and opulence, it works.

The displays vary from ideas—a  cheering wreath of flowers on a painted door after a hurricane struck—to gorgeous vast mountains of orchids to the contrasting serenity of Japanese design in muted colors.

There is a market of flower-themed jewelry and clothing and gardening tools, as well as  little plants to take home,  potpourri, and framed illustrations. There are snack booths, too.

Photo by the author

Most remarkable is the butterfly tent ($5 extra) where you are handed a Q-tip dipped in nectar to attract the exotic creatures inside the tent. How do they set up such a place? I was half-sorry I asked, since they are shipped from a butterfly farm in California, individually wrapped in plastic in what I assume is a comatose state. But since butterflies have such a short life—merely a day or two—some die in transit, while others are born. When you exit the tent you are inspected to make sure no butterflies have attached themselves to your clothes;If you want to attract them, wear bright colors.

[The Philadelphia Flower Show is presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street] March 4-12, 2023;

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