Saturday was my first ever time attending the Philly Flower Show. Beings I knew little of what to expect, I kept an open mind and dove in.
The atmosphere was fun, family friendly, and catered to many different aesthetics. You could have a wine smoothie, grab a Stella, or enjoy a cocktail, or munch on delicious snacks while watching a potting demonstration.
The artist eyes could savor the textures and details of winning installations, while the practical home gardener could walk away with inspiration for real life. Oh, and with the many market displays, you could literally walk away with amazing new features for your garden and outdoor space that same day.
Here’s a few of my favorite things:
1. The Phytoremediation display. College students developed a wonderful installation, showing the contrast of vacant, possibly contaminated, lots, to a beautiful garden of open space.
Did you know that sunflowers and grasses are amazing at drawing toxins and chemicals from the soil? They clean the soil! We live in an age where many populated areas are stricken with brownfields and polluted sites. Using plants to beautify and purify the area, is a wonderful and needed step for human health and well-being. Want to stop illnesses and cancer? Start at the source by cleaning up the Earth.
2. All the Neon: The Neon installation was so much fun, visually and experientially. Designed as a circular color wheel, each piece was sectioned off by color and theme. From far away, you could see the glow radiating RoyGBiv like electric Crayola crayons. Up close, you were absorbed into each partition, and its collective neighbor.
The shapes and vivid colors, exaggerated by the neon glow, drew you in and begged you to look more closely and from every angle. Every vantage point gave way to a new perspective and delightful piece of rainbow eye candy.
3. Native plants and tree frogs! One installation was a wonderful walk through example of utilizing native plants for a cozy, fully landscaped effect. Not only did these college students showcase plants hearing and feeling (yes, it’s true!), but they had TREE FROG recordings playing!! Northern grey tree frogs, to be exact! I can’t even begin to explain how exciting this made me. Native plants hosting native wildlife? Yes!
This area hosts so much wildlife but many don’t realize it is right in our own backyards. And guess what? If it isn’t, if you build it, they will come.
Grass lawns are boring and time consuming and provide what service, exactly? Unless you are out there everyday playing football, it’s a waste. Do visions of lawn mowers and leaf blowers bring you joy? No? Well thank them and let them go.
We can reduce our impact on the environment, reduce flooding and storm water runoff (there’s grants you can apply for to offset this), and increase our well-being through our outdoor spaces.
Native plants are beautiful and make each region so unique! Plus, they are easy to maintain, in most situations, and they support native wildlife. Want birds? Plant natives. Want pollinators? Plant natives. Want to spend more time w your family instead of doing tons of yard work? Plant natives.
This display should be in every Lowe’s and Home Depot to encourage and inspire until we become lawn-less…or at least grow less grass lawns.
4. The Children’s gardens and art: These 2 separate displays show the moving and thoughtful contribution of youth to the green movement. Our children see this world through a very tech oriented lens, and the natural world is a refuge. We have to keep setting our youth up for success and giving them opportunities to take ownership; we won’t be disappointed. Innovation, art, engineering, networking, practical, sustainable solutions–these kids are our future and they have wonderful ideas that need support from us.
All of the children-created gardens were done with professional eyes, quite beautifully and cleverly.
The art pieces from various ages used natural products, innovation, photography, and artist hands to send love through to the viewer.
It’s clear these kids see everything and want a beautiful, greener future.
5. Vietnam: The thought provoking Vietnam installation stopped me on site. Slightly disheveled, at first glance, but oddly beautiful in it’s arrangement. Like many of the displays, you had to see this from every angle. The story told from the outside, peeking through storyline after storyline of those affected by Vietnam, reminded us that peace, flowers, and a time of free love was a direct response to war.
This war was very unpopular and the effects are still seen today in Veterans and families affected. The symbolism in this piece, though open for interpretation, ran clear.
“Bring me flowers while I live,” my political science professor would say. The value of remembrance and honor we instill in placing flowers, is second to how we can honor the living. Just a few of many thoughts that ran through my head as I took in the totality of this scene.
A show built on growing, planting, and transforming spaces, transforming your home and neighborhood and entire reality, is metaphorical for many positive attributes we possess as compassionate human beings. The overarching theme of Flower Power, came through as a celebration of life.
- Teresa Brown