Island Time at the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show

By Susan Littlefield

Although enthusiasm is a job requirement when overseeing the world's largest indoor flower show, show designer Sam Lemheney practically levitates when talking about Hawaii: Islands of Aloha. ″It will feel like you're at the Flower Show for the very first time,″ he says, looking over design sketches for the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show.

What will you see this year? Massive specimen orchids. Rare tropical plants. High-energy performances. And, most importantly, the aloha spirit wherever you go. High-definition projection artistry will create a virtual wave of water against a brilliant bank of flowers, including white anthuriums and orchids. Sam says this is the perfect way to enter the ″tropical immersion area -- a thick, lush rainforest garden filled with even more orchids, foliage, and ferns suspended overhead.″ Waldor Orchids of New Jersey will supply the exotic specimens.

Pele -- Hawaiian goddess of fire, wind, lightning, and volcanoes -- will have her own garden, too. ″There will be a 25-foot-tall waterfall crashing down into a 30-foot-wide pool -- it's the largest waterfall we've ever attempted,″ Sam says.

Massive displays in the Showcase Garden category will highlight cultural and horticultural aspects of Hawaii. This includes the American Institute of Floral Designers' floral interpretation of the hula and leis; Stoney Bank Nurseries' celebration of island cuisine; Burke Brothers Landscape Contractors' surfer's hangout; and an out-of-this-world rock garden created by Michael Petrie's Handmade Gardens.

Visit the Philadelphia International Flower Show, March 4 - 11, and you, too, can share Sam's enthusiasm for what is sure to be an amazing experience. ″It's completely different from any other year,″ says Sam. ″You'll just have to see it to believe it.″

Want to experience the Flower Show firsthand? NGA fans are invited to take advantage of the Flower Show value packages, the best ways for duos, foursomes, and families to see the Show. For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit The Flower Show. All proceeds from the Flower Show support the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and its acclaimed urban greening programs, including City Harvest.

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