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Philadelphia Flower Show 2005

A number of years ago I found myself at the preview party for the New York Flower Show at one of the piers on the West Side. I regarded the proceedings with some disdain, because compared to Philadelphia's Flower Show, the Big Apple's Spring festival was a wan and pitiful thing that needed water and fertilizer stat. I swelled with hometown pride with the knowledge that at least one thing was better in Philadelphia than New York. If we here in the Quaker City take the Flower Show for granted, we shouldn't—it is special.

We went on a Monday morning this year in a continuing quest to find a time when crowds would be at a minimum. The show seemed just as crowded then as any other time. Maybe next year we'll try going in the afternoon. Except for the crowds, it was a perfect day. For one thing, the weather was glorious; the high was 70 degrees! (It snowed the next day. Go figure.)

The theme this year was “America the Beautiful,” but I didn't see as much evidence of exhibitors sticking to the theme as usual. We gawked for a while, paying special attention to window boxes and porch treatments, and then headed out to lunch. I suggested a cozy pub I glimpsed when we were looking for parking, but it turned out to be just another entrance to the Independence Brew Pub where we've eaten many times, so we ventured into Reading Terminal Market. The Market, which is always busy, becomes a seething mass of humanity at lunch time. We edged our way through the throng and queued up at DiNic's for sandwiches; I love their stuff. Anne had roast beef with cheese, and I had Italian sausage wrapped in collards. Scrumptious!

We finished up the day back at the show with some selective shopping, picking up a beautiful dried wreath for the guest room. Before leaving, I took a quick tour of an exhibit of photographs of national parks presented by the Department of the Interior. It was a well-edited collection of large (20 x 30) digital prints, and included some of my favorite landscape photographers, among them Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell. The exhibit introduced me to beautiful work by Pat O'Hara and David Meunch as well, and there were a number of others.

This year's show wasn't the most inspired one in memory, but it was certainly inspiring with its abundant and tantalizing visions of a Spring only a few weeks away.

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