MY Trip to the Philly Flower Show

MY Trip to the Philly Flower Show
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Boy, do we cover the Philadelphia Flower Show here – with a guest post, a guest photographer, and now with my very personal experience of the show – which was not the greatest, and all my fault.

First, some meeting and greeting. White House floral designer Laura Dowling demonstrated floral design, a talk I didn’t stay for but I did get to chat with Laura about gardens in DC.

I’m a big fan of alternative lawn types, so I stopped at the Pearl’s Premium booth to find out more about this product I’ve heard about but never seen growing.  Owner Jackson Madnick convinced me that his blend of seed types is succeeding even here in the tricky transition zone for turfgrasses and promised to send me a list of sites in the Mid-Atlantic where I can see Pearl’s fully established and thriving. Gotta say, even in my short time at his booth I heard show-goers stop to praise the product, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t paid to do that.

And what a nice surprise to see Garden Design Magazine at the show for the first time. I neglected to take a photo but owner Jim Peterson sent me this one from the Seattle show.  The folks I talked with – Barbara and Sarge, shown left and right in this group photo – convinced me to subscribe, which I did on the spot.  So here’s a quick review: love it! Somehow it’s huge and gorgeous with no ads!

I did have a small gripe for Jim when he called me after the show. I explained that when I see garden photos in a magazine the first thing I want to know is where is it? And in the Early Spring 2015 issue, I loved the spread showing two of designer Brandon Tyson’s gardens, but it took 6 pages to tell me where they are.  And complaint number two:  the locations noted were “Marin County” and “Mill Valley.” This Easterner happens to know where Marin is but has never heard of Mill Valley.  So while the magazine is far more regionally inclusive than it was under the previous owner, it can do more.

Take the Bus? Not ME!

Finally, why my show experience wasn’t the greatest and why it’s all my fault. See, I like to leave home when I want, return home when I want, and honestly, not have to chit-chat for five hours with a busload of people, so I’ve always driven myself and except for one time, with no passengers.  You know how a solo drive can be enjoyable with the right podcasts or books on tape?

Except when it’s NOT enjoyable because first of all, it’s a busy, ugly stretch of superhighway between DC and Philly and this year I could hardly see the ugliness or the other cars because my windshield kept icing up. Then I had to park 10 snowy blocks from the Convention Center. And when I finally got to the show I ran into Kathy Jentz, who organizes those busloads of show-goers and reminded me that I could have boarded the bus very near to my home and let a professional driver deal with traffic. Plus, the windshield on the bus was ice-free.

So I’m rethinking my show-going strategy and next year I’ll leave the driving to someone else.  I might even enjoy chatting with the other passengers.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on March 13, 2015 at 8:14 am, in the category What’s Happening.


    • Graham Rice
    • 25th November 2016

    And here’s my take on the show. I’m, amazed they let dogs in. And why, exactly, is it held in dark and dingy exhibition hall in winter?

    • Julie
    • 28th November 2016

    The displays were magnificent, but I was disappointed that the movie theme was turned into a Disney theme. Kids really aren’t the target audience for this event, it didn’t make sense to me.

    • Mischelle
    • 29th November 2016

    My strategy is to put on headphones and fall (or feign) to sleep.

    • Susan Harris
    • 3rd December 2016

    GOod to know!

    • admin
    • 3rd December 2016

    I hope you do join us next year – we are pretty laid-back, watch garden-related DVDs and leave those who like to nap/read/listen to podcasts to themselves :-).

    • Joe Schmitt
    • 7th December 2016

    How could you not know where Mill Valley is? With fictitious native son Captain B.J. Hunnicut getting all of those letters on M*A*S*H from wife Peg and daughter Erin, it should be fully as famous as Crabapple Cove, Maine and Ottumwa, Iowa. Further evidence, I’m afraid, that we’ve lost focus on the important things in life.

    • anne
    • 8th December 2016

    Joe, not to mention the 1970 hit song “Mill Valley”, right?

    • Joe Schmitt
    • 8th December 2016

    Well, duh. By the way, Miss Abrams and the Strawberry Point 3rd Grade Class, by my reckoning, should be in the 45th grade by now. I feel like such a dropout.

    • Joe Schmitt
    • 8th December 2016

    Oops. Make that the 48th grade. Like I said – dropout.

    • Carol
    • 8th December 2016

    Susan, I worked the PFS for many years. My preferred way to go is to get a couple of like-minded friends and leave DC about 11:00 in the morning. We park a few blocks away in China town, have lunch at a “real” Chinese restaurant, and shop in China town for a couple of hours. We then enter the show after the hordes of people have left. In most years after 5:00 pm the floor is almost empty. My friends and I then have the place to ourselves and we close it down. The show does close at about 9:30 if memory serves and I get the space I need for good photos! I never would have gone in bad weather in the first place, just sayin’! Even bus drivers have accidents!

    • gayle
    • 8th December 2016

    When you receive the info about the sites in the mid atlantic that have the Pearl’s Premium thriving please post it!

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