The Philadelphia Flower Show (grand Poobah of American flower shows) is the first show I’ve attended where floral exhibition was integrated into the landscape rather than segregated as a separate area. This year’s theme, ‘ARTiculture’, found designs inspired by a selected piece of art, a range of paintings by a particular artist, or even a specific exhibit at a museum.
An imaginative, enormous flight of floral imagination greeted us as we (with fellow APLD members) entered the show. Nearby was a large ‘wild’ garden that focused on native plants. We saw gardens inspired by painters, Mondrian, Matisse, Wyeth, and more, as well as one inspired by a Korean exhibit. Smaller student gardens emphasized sustainability. Here are the gardens or details that captured my attention:
Lobby outside the entry: Spectacular paper flower creations such as this that made up a chandelier.
Also outside in the lobby was this sculpture that consisted of paper cut letters.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: A spectacular use of large-scale flowered mobiles and topiary made up the centerpiece for this over-the-top entry garden. Alexander Calder was their artistic muse.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: An immediate dose of hyacinth fragrance hit my nose the minute we entered and saw all of the color provided a multi-sensory experience.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society/ARTiculture Entry Garden: Large balls shaped with chicken wire were covered in dried vine and twig, and then ornamented with flowers.
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) + Philadelphia Museum of Art Painted bamboo created the structure for these floral + bamboo creations mimicking palm trees.
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) + Philadelphia Museum of Art An amazing chandelier made of plastic spoons and topped with plants.
Stoney Bank Nurseries + Brandywine River Museum: This was a stunning garden of natives and not all in their green state. Intermingled were rusted signs of abandoned farm equipment. Inspired by the art of Andrew Wyeth.
Stoney Bank Nurseries + Brandywine River Museum: Dried teasels create a dramatic accent among all of the spring green plants.
James Basson of Scape Design + Collection of the Prince’s Palace Monaco A shockingly different sort of garden than one usually finds at a garden show. Within the cob wall was a seat treated with shou sugi-ban, a Japanese form of flamed wood preservation. A large bowl offered a liquid contrast to all of the dry elements.
James Basson of Scape Design + Collection of the Prince’s Palace Monaco Using all dried plants set against an arc cob wall created a strong textural contrast and celebrated the forms left for winter.
Waldor Orchids + Tyler School of Art While this display was abundantly decorated with a myriad of orchids, my eye went directly to this intriguing sculpture created with straight green twigs attached to a curvilinear form.
Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design A quiet contemporary garden in Sturgeon’s typical restrained, but elegant, style.
Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design Modern orange chairs added a color element to this otherwise naturalistically colored garden.
Ever wondered what to do with that dead tree that has great form? Here ya go! Painted in Pantone’s color of the year: Radiant Orchid.
Hunter Hayes Landscape Design + Penn Museum Adding blue glass to gabions filled with stone adds a little sparkle.
Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens + Barnes Foundation Inspired by Matisse, large colorfully painted shapes provide the art set against thousands of bulbs and spring blooming shrubs.
Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens + Barnes Foundation Fragrant orange hyacinth were stiff competition for the colorful art forms.
Schaffer Designs + Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum This was a very quirky floral display but I was fascinated by how the designer mingled all of these colorful forms. Inspired by the art of Wassily Kandinsky.
Robertson’s Flowers & Events + Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Inspired by “Dancing the Dream” this floral display was hard to miss with its rectilinear forms and bright colors.
J. Downsend Landscaping Inc. + Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Inspired by Mondrian, an art student’s garden interpretation.
J. Downsend Landscaping Inc. + Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts A students interpreted version of Cristo’s Central Park display.
Temple University, Ambler School of Environmental Design An interesting intersection of round forms in the logs, inside the gabion, and inset into the path.
Temple University, Ambler School of Environmental Design This should have been better developed as art, but I appreciated the noble attempt at creating art using recycled pipes.
Mark Cook Landscape Contracting LLC + North Carolina Museum of Art There were some beautiful elements of this design, but I found the intermingled forms to be too much at the same scale and without a solid relationship to one another.
Mark Cook Landscape Contracting LLC + North Carolina Museum of Art The back side of the first photo is lovely but has little relationship to the front.
Suburu This exhibit almost looked as though it had been picked up out of Seattle and placed in Philadelphia. I loved the use of dried grasses and the round metal forms containing logs.
I am not positive who should be credited with this design. I think it is the Delaware Valley College. If so, the garden focused on Nature Deficit Disorder. Considerable use of signage encourage visitors to experience some aspect of the garden. While the signs were helpful, this could have been a very elegant way to organize the entire garden, which felt a bit disorganized with too many different materials and design ideas.
Delaware Valley College? The use of bamboo at the exterior to mount various self-portraits was fun. I wondered to myself if there was a more water-proof way to incorporate something like this into a garden.