This last weekend was one out with the girls. We had planned to go down to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Then my friend found out she got this great internship opportunity at Longwood Gardens and we decided to make a weekend of it so she could meet with her future boss. You know the joy you feel at the first truly warm, t-shirt-worthy day in the spring? Well, that day came this weekend. It's about 30 degrees colder here today so that makes the previous 2 days that much more special. I needed to get away for some happy time and I knew that all the plants would do it for me.
I wasn't expecting much from the Flower Show. There are always some interesting things that are fun to see but for the most part the display portion is just sad approximations of ill-planned suburban gardens. I mean, do you really want all those azaleas burning holes into your brain with their neon clusterfuck? And I know you probably can't see it but who plants roses (sun-loving) amongst hosta (shade-loving)? Bah!
But really, that one is the pinnacle of taste compared to this.....I don't think there is a word for it. I think maybe there is an expulsion of bodily fluids that would describe it but words fail me. It appears Dr. Seuss shat out a Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula'. Yes kids, the whole damn tree is painted.
Lest you think I'm just a snob, I must admit that I really enjoy these following displays every year. The dresses are made entirely of plant matter.
Then there was this display. It was showing what you could actually farm in a small back yard. I think this was the most worthwhile one of them all since a lot more people are trending toward growing their own food simply because they can't afford to buy it. There was a compost bin, a chicken coop, and tons of veggies (and strawberries) in this small space.
Over on the marketplace side of things, it was the same as every year but that's nice because by this point, I know what I want and I can impatiently barge through a bunch of people to get to what I want. Unfortunately, I had to make a pit-stop at a stand that was selling cut branches for decoration. They had some curly willow branches with these awful bagworm sacs hanging off of them. I just about lost it because bagworms are a hugely destructive worm/moth that will destroy your 20-year-old hedge of arborvitae in the space of a few weeks. I told the guy in charge of selling them that he needed to get rid of them right away. He replied by telling me they were praying mantis egg cases. My friends and I loudly replied "oh no they aren't!" with the horror befitting ones who have spent countless hours picking the "bags" off of trees and spraying BT to kill them. Consider this your education for the day for those of you who weren't previously aware.........
This is a bagworm case. See all the telltale bits of tree?
This is a Praying Mantis egg case. It looks like a little bit of that expanding foam insulation stuff.
Now you know so don't you let me catch you mistaking the two!! It's inexcusable and I'm not afraid to put you over my knee.
On to the rest of the marketplace. There were two places I wanted to hit. The best was this place called Meehan's Miniatures. It's exactly what it sounds like; mini varieties of plants or ones that are small and are good for use in bonsai. I LOVE this place! It's the most important reason I go to the show. I got several little things, most of which I've never grown so that's even more exciting. I got this little fuchsia that I had last year called "Lottie Hobbie". It's flowers are about 1/4 " long! I actually squealed when I saw it and that caused a murmur of excitement among those close to me. I think I might have gotten the last one too. All the other people who, like me, were searching for that elusive special plant were asking what I found. I was, momentarily, the hort-dork equivalent of the "cool kid".
After that, I had a few tense moments with the ATM where I was milliseconds away from channeling Curly from the 3 Stooges. I had to make my way through the crowd that felt the consistency of peanut butter to get to the only other machine in the hall. Then, I had to swim back but finally got my yearly passiflora (the flower in my avatar). All things considered, the show was a success but if you've never gone, make sure to go early on a weekday morning if you want to escape with your sanity intact. If not, please leave your weapons at home because the crowds will certainly tempt their use.
Spent the night at a hotel that night and had to wake up at the ungodly hour of 8:30 only to find my friends were already awake and dressed. I simply do not understand morning people. At all. They laughed at my unanswered pleas to my alarm. They were cheerful before 10 am. And the worst part, THEY WERE ASLEEP BY 10 PM!!!!!
After 2 failed attempts at a cup of decaf and one satisfactory english muffin, we were on the road to Longwood Gardens. We had to go in the business entrance so my friend could meet up with her future boss. Things definitely started out well because not only was it a beautiful day but the first person we spoke to there was way nicer than security guards usually are. Boss guy greeted us at the car and gave us some comp tickets for the gardens. Even more niceness! Two of us headed off to the entrance gate where we were welcomed by the sweetest cat who truly seemed to exist to make visitors welcome. Because a welcomed person is statistically much more likely to provide some good petting!
From there we entered the conservatory and I was on sensory overload for the rest of the day.
There were the ferns......
The citrus blooms whose smell made me wish I was Tom Robbins so I could properly describe them.....
The espaliered nectarine trees that are a living poem to the peaceful co-existence of man and nature.....
The campanula being all fancy and "look at me!"...
And the orchids.....
The fragrance, the color.......
These are truly the sexiest flowers alive.
"Well of course I have a full lawn in my conservatory, don't you?"
This one seemed like driving really fast into a snow storm.
This is the one that brought us to tears. It's a meconopsis a.k.a Himilayan Blue Poppy. They are very hard to grow and similarly hard to find. I've seen them as small plants before but this was my first personal viewing.
If this doesn't make you feel something then I don't want to know you.
Excuse me while I go do a little dance of joy, for in this beauty I see that true, unabashed love and happiness are not just possible but are a birthright of every single one of us.