Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Field Trip - Philadelphia Flower Show 2011

For the third year in a row, I had the honor of judging at the most prestigious flower show in the states, in Philadelphia. As an added bonus, for the second year I judged the "Best of the Day." Ten judges on a select panel choose one overall winner from the recommendations of ten judging panels. It was great fun, so I wanted to share some highlights.

Wisteria, standard care of Mrs. Samuel Hamilton:
This was the "Best of the Day" for Friday; skillfully grown and timed to flower at just the right moment (I didn't vote for it, I fell in love with the Lewisia).

Clivia “Sir John Thouron":
Also belonging to Mrs. H; stunning, 12 spikes, pale lemon yellow, to die for, most passersby were drooling.

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis - hideously grotesque, and attracting all the local carrion flies. Don't you just love it? (It's an orchid from Java by the way, an island in Southeast Asia.)

Lewisia hybrid - the darling of the show and it did muster 3 votes for "Best of Day." I was smitten! This plant that would fit in your hand was loaded with bloom and perfectly fresh. Someone did their homework.

Viva la France - a 1/4 scale version of the Eiffel Tower surrounded by carousel animals (see accompanying giant butterfly). By the time I got near this display the place looked like a subway platform so I had to rely on a dear friend who was wise enough to take some early shots.

Well, that summarizes my 3rd year judging the most prestigious flower show in the states and the largest indoor show in the world. Oh, we do have our "cross to bear."

Meanwhile, back at Mohonk we have a flower show of our own:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Hopes Eternal

Flowering Cherries

It won't be long now before the heralds of spring are upon us. No spring parade of flowering trees is complete without cherries. It's like having a sundae with nothing on top. The standbys come in two forms, both species from Asia (of course): yedoensis, the yoshino cherry and serrulata, the kwanzan cherry. I guess I put the cart before the horse when I tell you that cherries are in the genus Prunus (so are peaches, apricots and nectarines). Yoshinos are the staple of the cherry blossom festival in Washington, DC. They are famous for producing clouds of white or blush pink single flowers and the stately trees can reach 40 feet. Kwanzan is a tree of smaller stature and the carnation pink, ruffled flowers are whimsical in their pompon shape. We have both here at Mohonk Mountain House as well as others and do await their arrival with eager anticipation. The photos here of the yedoensis come from a groovy website called Botany Photo of the Day from University of British Columbia.

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Kwanzan CherryPrunus serrulata
Prunus yedoensisYoshino Cherry

A Rare Variegated Giant Dogwood

Don't you have to have this? Hard to find (I think I just did shhhhhhhhhhhh). Cornus controversa variegata... (wowie zowie!) the variegated giant dogwood; a must for shady woodland plantings and talk about structure in the landscape... whew. The only problem I believe is the growth rate is slow. Oh well, we've got time, we're young.

Variegated Giant DogwoodCornus controversa variegata

Killer Clivia

I mentioned recently that our Clivia were killer. Here's proof...

Our Clivia are KillerClivia

Lilac Shock at New York in Bloom

Lastly but not leastly, I just got back from New York in Bloom. This was the 20th anniversary of this flower show at the State Museum in Albany. See if you don't think the arrangement of 80 gladiolus is aptly named... Lilac Shock.

Lilac Shock

Next week is my third round as a judge at the Philadelphia International Flower Show. Hey, I'm no slacker.

I'll keep you posted.