Philly Flower Show offers glimpse of UK gardensIt would be easy to lose track of time amid the 10 acres of horticultural fantasy at the Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennyslvania Convention Center. But don’t worry — Big Ben is there to keep you on schedule.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It would be easy to lose track of time amid the 10 acres of horticultural fantasy at the Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennyslvania Convention Center. But don’t worry — Big Ben is there to keep you on schedule.
A truncated version of perhaps the world’s most famous clock is the centerpiece of the floral spectacular that opens Saturday. This year’s event boasts a British theme that examines gardening from urban London to country cottages. And it’s summed up by a single Anglicism: “Brilliant!”
“It basically means ‘awesome’ in American terms,” said Drew Becher, president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which sponsors the show. “We have really transported Britain to Philadelphia — to America — for the next 10 days.”
Indeed. Visitors enter through giant “royal” gates and stroll along an avenue lined with white birch trees before arriving at the 38-foot-tall Big Ben. The timepiece towers over terraces filled with varieties of English roses; its four faces are screens that will display a clock as well as offer light-and-sound shows every half-hour.
Major exhibits include the crown jewels rendered in flowers and set amid a Tower of London tableau; a manicured cricket club; a 1960s “peace garden” inspired by the British music invasion; the Mad Hatter’s tea party; and the dreary streets of 19th-century London, as roamed by Jack the Ripper.
A stylized display titled London Fog blooms with calla lilies, mother-of-pearl roses and French tulips. As a light “drizzle” falls on flower-bedecked umbrellas — some dangling from the ceiling, others clustered in vertical stands — “fog” swirls below.
“We have a mist and a gentle rain and lots of black umbrellas to give you the flavor of a London scene,” said Robin Heller, co-owner of the Flowers by David, the Langhorne, Pa.-based company that designed the scene.
More than 270,000 people are expected at the event.