Celebrate the Movies! The 2015 Philly Flower Show

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This winter has been hard. Did I say really hard? Yup. Really hard. And really cold to boot. Hard and cold. The jet stream wasn’t just shuttling in its normal seasonal delights from Central Canada. That pattern usually looses most of its umph after punching down in the central part of the continent, as it then casually loops its way back up north again, mostly up and around New York. But this year’s winter expresses from Alberta carried in some hard-core hitchhikers traveling across the North Pole all the way from Siberia. Even Santa probably shuddered as Siberia blew along for the ride. We certainly shuddered. And set a few records, as well.

And then there was the snow. New York got its share but Boston, oh Boston to the north, Boston got hit with snowy heights not recorded since the end of the last Ice Age and started running out of room to keep it all. All over the eastern half of the United States and Canada, in fact, it was cold, colder and coldest. Even at the end of normal winters, spirits can use a little lift by the time the first of March comes around. This year an even bigger warming lift, to melt those frozen spirits and thaw those frozen bodies, was called for. So, without much ado and not the slightest hesitation at all, I was off to see the Wizard of Spring lift me out of the cold and snow and other assorted winter blues.

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The Wizard in this case, doesn’t reside in an Emerald City but in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. To be honest, the Wizard of Philadelphia is more than one. There is a whole team of wizards, in fact, brought together by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. It’s a team of skilled magicians who annually pull together the Spring Flower Show and fight back the cruel forces of winter. This year’s spring bedazzlement was the 186th and the magic, entitled Celebrate the Movies!, ran from February 28 to March 8. It was a full week, and some, of horticultural greenery and flowery delights inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The grand Entrance Garden to the exhibition varies from year to year. With this year’s theme centered on films, we were ushered into cinematic magic on a red carpet, through the facade of an Art Deco theatre. It was back to a movie palace of the 1920s, where a marquee almost thirty-feet high and formed of flowers was brightened by more than two-hundred lights. A Hollywood fantasy of towering junipers and palms, where grand chandeliers hung overhead. Among the featured players at the Entrance Garden were hundreds of hostas supporting a “star-studded rose garden”, where such legends of the silver screen as the orange-yellow ‘Judy Garland’, the peach ‘Marilyn Monroe’, the pink ‘Elizabeth Taylor’, the yellow ‘Henry Fonda’, and a lavender ’Barbra Streisand’ held court. A cast of extras included fifteen hundred calla lilies in yellow, lavender, peach-orange and plum, fourteen hundred ferns and endless New Guinea impatiens, pentas, geraniums, anemones, pineapple lilies, and begonias. Cecil B. Demille would have been proud of this extraveganza. At the inside of the marquee feature film clips and other amusements ran on an enormous silver screen, with a kinetic sculpture of a deconstructed film projector by Chris Kanienberg of Wish Painting and Sculpture floating to the side. There were numerous live performances on the stage at the opposite side, as well.

On with the Show. Up next: Lights, Camera, Bloom...


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