Wednesday, March 7th, 2012...4:36 pm

Philadelphia Flower Show 2012

Philadelphia Flower Show 2012 by Knitting Zeal

I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Tuesday.

I had not really wanted to attend this year for a few reasons. One is that as much as I love orchids, these are not flowers that grow locally so it would not be much of a learning experience. I have no greenhouse and do not really have room to raise many orchids in my house- I do own about a half dozen. And from some of the advertising I had read, I feared the show was going to be more commercial than usual. But since friends wanted to go to the flower show, I went along.

The major exhibitor of orchids, I believe, is Waldor’s Orchids. I have visited Waldor’s Orchids Nursery in Linwood, NJ, one of the finest orchid nurseries on the East Coast. I don’t believe one can go wrong if you purchase orchids from Waldor’s Orchids. So of course, I was curious to see their orchid exhibit.

We arrived when the show opened and were directed by ushers to the escalator leading up to the show floor. We got to the escalators where it was mobbed and the line was barely moving; the ushers only allowed one or two people at a time to use the escalators. We tried the steps and found they were totally blocked. There seemed to be no elevators. It didn’t look like we would get anywhere near the flower show for hours as the rate things were moving. We left, planning to return home.

Then we heard there was another entrance around the block. We had no trouble entering the show area on this second try, but when we got to the exhibits we found that they were already crowded. So we headed to the vendors- one vendor in particular.

One reason for my going to the flower shows is because my favorite garden pruners have a booth at these shows. The Florian Tool Company will sharpen your tools for free at the show. They offer a lifetime guarantee on their products which are made in America.  My friends and I avail ourselves of this free sharpening service. This year I had my ratchet pruner exchanged for a nominal fee; it had had such heavy usage that it was slightly out of alignment and the closing hook had broken. And this year I bought a new saw from them.

After our mad dash to the Florian booth, we leisurely walked around the show floor which was filled to what seemed a capacity crowd. The ushers told us that Monday was equally crowded but Sunday had twice the crowd. We found it unpleasant to try to get near enough to see the plants in the exhibits. Another problem is that where they keep the exhibits, they also keep the lighting dim- not a problem where the venders were. Why people feel dim lighting enhances the show pieces is beyond me. I am amazed that more people don’t trip in such dim light. But what really upset me was that when I got close to the magnificent Waldor Orchid exhibit, the lights in the area went completely dark as loud music came on. So we couldn’t see a thing. If I were Waldor’s Nursery, I would be furious. Here are all these gorgeous orchids and one could barely see anything and the blasting music nearby didn’t add to the enjoyment.

Another orchid exhibit was equally disappointing for a different reason. It was supposed to be a volcano, so the glare and brightness of the red lights they used to look like lava made it impossible to see their magnificent orchids.

Even though I had been reluctant to attend, I must say that, overall, the show was fantastic. From what I could see of it, Waldor’s Orchid exhibit was magnificent. And the orchids that were displayed were incredible. There were some really great smaller exhibits with flowers that were more local so the exhibits were quite educational, like Temple U. Ambler Campus exhibit. I found a shrub that I want to try to buy for my garden. It is Illicium ‘Woodland Ruby’ Anise Tree. We also liked the Irish garden exhibit with spring bulbs.

Irish Garden – Philadelphia Flower Show 2012 by dyogi

The individual plants that were judged were incredible specimens. All of them deserved blue ribbons. My friends and I spoke at length to one of the people from the cactus and succulent display.

I loved the exhibit of Philadelphia in miniature. I went to see some of my favorite exhibits like the jewelry made from natural plant material and the miniature rooms.

The venders are excellent and this year there were so many more venders. Sadly we missed many of them because we found it too difficult to battle the crowds any longer.

Though the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show lived up to its reputation, this GardenLady does not know if she would return next year. The crowds made it more than unpleasant trying to see the flowers up close and the dim lighting did not allow me to see the flowers from afar.

With crowds like I saw, I cannot believe that the Philadelphia Flower Show (2012) was anything but a success financially; but sadly, I do not believe it was a success for the individual viewer. I also think the dim or poor lighting makes for disappointing viewing.

Perhaps the flower show should be held for a longer time so that fewer people would visit each day. And perhaps I should have tried to go there later in the day, around dinner time, when rumor has it that crowds dwindle. But a show like this really needs an entire day to do it justice.

So if you want to visit this show before it ends, please BEWARE.


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