Philadelphia Flower Show 2011

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.  The 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show was disappointing.  With a theme like Springtime in Paris it should have been filled with romantic, eccentric, fashionable gardens.  I go for the show gardens.  Sure they’re more theater than garden, but these mostly lacked the theater.  There was little originality, less vision and plenty of blooming azaleas.

Being a hardcore Francophile–I speak French, have lived there and have visited Paris on more than one occasion–all I saw were so many missed opportunities.  Did we really need a fake Eiffel Tower or a press board Boulangerie?  Only one garden ‘got’ it completely, two others partially and the rest well…Je m’ennuyais à mort.

What was fabulous was Groundswell’s Allee of Pleached ‘Trees’.  Imaginative, over the top, timely and original.

Parts of Michael Petrie’s Monet inspired garden were fabulous too, especially the ironwork by Greg Leavitt and the shimmery backdrops that gave a nod to the artist’s obsession with light.

A floral designer, Susan Krabill,  paid homage to the underground ghoulish Paris…

and two of the obsessive types who make jewelry (Hollis Bauer) and objects (Mary Pressly) out of seed pods were pretty great.

So was this edible window box from the students at the Barnes Foundation Arboretum.

The rest well, I’ve already said my piece.

7 thoughts on “Philadelphia Flower Show 2011

  1. I’ve been there twice, and both were a little disappointing. Figured I had just picked “off” years

    Some years, like last, the show is exciting and full of inspirational ideas. I think more than anything it depends on the theme.–s

  2. well, along with Boston Flower show, I guess there is another show I can scratch off my list of ‘must see’ events. I think I’m better to buy a ticket to France for Chaumont. I am beginning to be be of the general opinion that ‘event production companies’ have no idea what a garden show is about. I am sure they will take most anyone who wants to exhibit. There is no jury, no reason to push the envelope, no spirit and the public is once again left to believe this is the best that the industry has to offer. Hmph. If I ruled the world, garden shows would always be outdoors under the natural light of day, they would be fabulous events where there is surprise and wonder around every corner, and sponsorship money would abound for all worthy of participating. (now where is my magic wand?)

    The show has been uneven in the past few years, but it’s still the best around. Philadelphia is juried and isn’t run by a production company. The last time I didn’t like the show it also had a country theme…Ireland. There just didn’t seem to be much imagination and creativity.–s

  3. Economic climate making everyone play it safe? That’s been the recent scenario at Canada Blooms, which starts next week. Looking forward to being pleasantly surprised this year. Thanks for the Philly report. Would love to go someday.

    If you’ve never been there’s nothing like it. Almost 500,000 people visit the show in the week it’s open. The gardens are BIG and showy…they just weren’t creative interpretations of the Parisian theme for the most part…–s

  4. I appreciate your honesty.
    In reality, we have found it very rare to go to a show where the show gardens accurately (or even creatively) interpret the show theme. It is always the same old thing with the same old plants. American-ized, if you will.

    The Chelsea show never disappoints and I like to see the creativity of the Dutch.

    I would love to go to Chelsea and Chaumont…someday soon I hope!–s

  5. Susan,
    This is a show I’ve yet to attend, and after your review, I won’t make the effort.
    I agree, Chelsea lives up to its image and reputation.
    Re: Chaumont – total frustration – I was finally able to plan a day-trip from Paris – in the past my timing was always off by a week or so because of the show’s dates – only to arrive at the gare early in the morning on the day before returning home, to find the one line on-strike that day was the one I was taking to the Festival!

    Don’t discount Philadelphia…it was an off year. As for public transportation in Europe…I’ve been stranded in both Italy and France due to one day strikes! Another day I guess…–s

  6. As you know, Susan, I loved it! We all like and look for different things. I spent three days there and could have stayed longer. Each time I went, I saw something new and awe-inspiring. The creativity in the minds of some people astounds me!

    I REALLY loved our lunch at Reading Terminal Market. Way too short though! *hugs*

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