Buy Photo Nathan Roerich, Meadowbrook Farm Greenhouse Manager, tends to plants in a greenhouse at PHS Meadowbrook Farm, in Jenkintown, Thursday, February 22, 2018. The dracaena limelight plant is shown here, front right, and will used in the entrance garden of the Flower Show. Bringing thousands of tropical plants to Philadelphia in the dead of winter for the annual Flower Show at the Convention Center is no easy task. From hurricane scares to early blooms, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has been forced to embrace flexibility in the last few months as it prepared for “Wonders of Water,” the 189th iteration of the show, which from March 3 to 11. In the entrance garden alone, visitors can expect to see 25-foot-tall palm trees, fishnet stockings with a lacy burgundy pattern on the leaves, water lilies, and the colorful purple-and-red blossoms of New Guinea impatiens. But getting these plants, which are used to much warmer weather, to the Convention Center has required lots of heat and, you guessed it — water. “This year’s Flower Show theme is allowing us to talk about water conservation in the most comprehensive way yet,” Sam Lemheney, chief of shows and events for the society, said. “The rain forest is one of the best natural filtration systems on the planet, so we’ve layered in education with the displays.” The entrance to the Flower Show will be framed by palm fronds overhead to recreate the feeling of being in a tropical rain forest. The rain curtain, which reuses six to 10 gallons of water per minute, is a crucial component of the entrance garden because “it really immerses visitors with the sound of falling rain,” according to Lemheney. (He said the focus on water this year hasn’t really changed much regarding preparations for the show, but he is taking certain precautions in case of a leak.) The centerpiece, a 25-foot-tall waterfall, is made from bamboo and steel, and features five different drops into the main pool. It uses 2,300 gallons of water, which will be filtered and reused through a pump for the week of the show. Surrounding the tubs of water are platforms of blooms from Valley Forge Flowers arranged in rainbow hues. Nearby, two misting pools with aquatic flora will round out Lemheney’s vision of a transported, contemporary rain forest. “We really wanted to incorporate the idea of a rainbow because of how much it has to do with water,” Lemheney said. As for education, the show includes a display on the Delaware River Watershed, as well as the first Philadelphia Water Summit, a one-day event that includes panels and workshops on how water affects our lives. The base structure of the waterfall display at the Flower Show rests near the entrance as workers set up at the Convention Center. Lemheney had selected all the plants for the entrance garden during a trip to Florida in August and tagged the ones he wanted to use for the show, but what he didn’t account for was […]
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