Once again we're getting close to the Philadelphia International Flower Show, the largest indoor garden show of it's kind. Last year was a complete bore. The theme was "Spring Time in Paris" which basically meant metal lawn furniture sitting among bulbs and rhododendrons for god knows why. Lavender? Herbs? Grape Vines? Poppies? No sir, not in the Paris they're talking about!
Last year's show was a complete insult. In years past I'd walk in through the doors and get bombarded by the fragrance of pollen. The air had a strange dampness to it. This feeling just wasn't there that year.
There weren't any crazy plants there either. The first year we went the theme was Moss Gardens of Ireland, or something like that, and they had common every day snap dragons with flower stalks 5' tall! These are those same snap dragons you can buy in a flat at any garden center. I have never seen them so big anywhere else before in my life! Another year they had ferns from Australia which were 8' tall! The leaves cam up to form arch ways. There were carnivorous plants from around the glob being used in landscapes like wildflowers. There were orchids (the common type you see in hardware garden center) of assorted color. Virtually everything was a hybrid or cultivar, or being used in a creative way not just in gardens, but as living walls, and as living pieces of art, with varying functionality... All "Spring Time in Paris," had was a Mary-go-round no one was allowed to ride. And that brings us to this year's theme.
Hawaii: The Next Wave
Yes beautiful Hawaii, a land with less than 5% of it's native ecosystem in tact thanks to loose importation laws and active volcanoes. If I see something that's NOT invasive at this show I'm going to be very upset.
Normally I complain about the lack of native plants and over use of bulbs and rhododendrons at these things but this year seems like a way for them to get out of the norm. This is the year for them to go nuts with water features, bold colors, and expensive tropical landscaping that will freeze to death planted anywhere above the zone 8.