The Sights and Scents of Spring – – The 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show

By Bonnie Turner-Lomax

During these last weeks of winter, many of us in the Mid-Atlantic region are starting to think about warmer weather, spring and gardening. In an area recuperating from record snowstorms, cold temperatures, and icy highways, the Philadelphia International Flower Show is a much-anticipated reminder that Spring is just a few weeks away.

Each year in early March, garden exhibitors from all over the world gather in Philadelphia for the Flower Show, transforming the floor of the Pennsylvania Convention Center into a wonderland of gardens, plants, and floral designs. The spectacular display annually attracts more than 250,000 visitors from all over the world, making the Philadelphia International Flower Show the largest indoor flower exhibit in the world. With its international appeal and audience, it is very fitting that the theme of the 2011 show is “Springtime in Paris.”

Since 1993, EPA has used this wonderful venue, which is only a few blocks from our Mid-Atlantic regional office, to educate gardeners on techniques that protect the environment and at the same time create beautiful gardens. Using native plants and recycled materials, our flower show team of volunteers designs, constructs, and creates an exhibit that vividly demonstrates the beauty and practicality of native plants, sustainable water usage, and beneficial landscaping techniques. While our exhibits always carry messages of sustainability, it is amazing to see a new and unique display each year conveying environmental messages in a special and beautiful way. And judging by the thousands of people who view our exhibit and speak with our volunteers, the environmental values and practices we display are growing in popularity.

In keeping with the show’s Parisian theme, the 2011 EPA exhibit is titled “Botanique Naturale,” which loosely translates to “Natural Garden” and focuses on the importance of native plants, wetlands, and watersheds. Visitors will see an exhibit which showcases the rich diversity of the native flora of wetlands and woodlands and depicts how people can use these plants to create a sustainable home garden. Here’s a sneak preview of the plants we’ll be using in our exhibition!

If you’re in the area, stop by and see for yourself the beauty and environmental benefits of sustainable gardening. The 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show runs from Sunday, March 6th through March 13th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia. Whether you are an experienced gardener, an aspiring gardener, or just starting to get your hands dirty, there will be plenty to see, learn, and enjoy. See you at the Flower Show!

About the Author – – -Bonnie Turner-Lomax came to EPA Region’s mid-Atlantic Region in 1987 and has held several positions throughout the Region. She is currently the Communications Coordinator for the Environmental Assessment & Innovation Division.

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