Flower show mode

This is one of the hoop houses at Meadowbrook Farm growing stuff for the flower show. With this year's Hawaiian theme, most of the plants will be tropical, grown in warmer climates and shipped to Philadelphia, but here's a spread of foxglove. A nice sight on a cold winter day, wouldn't you say?

I've been doing a lot of background interviews on the 2012 flower show, which runs from March 4-12.  The folks at PHS are deep into show mode. This afternoon Sam Lemheney, the show's designer, was walking around the office in a bold Hawaiian shirt - short sleeves, of course - and a lei made of large nuts. Notice I did not say a "loud" Hawaiian shirt. The print was quite nice. He bought it on one of his research trips to Hawaii - somebody had to do it, right? - and rumor has it, when he asked where to buy a real Hawaiian shirt, he was directed to ... Macy's.


Anyway, this afternoon I thought Sam was just being jingoistic about the show. Did he really expect to be dressing like that from now till early March? I asked him. Actually, he was on his way to a meeting with educational exhibitors - a meeting, I might add, that served beer and wine and pineapple and cheese! (How come we don't have meetings like that at the Inky? They'd be well attended.)

This year, PHS is trying to address some of the perennial complaints visitors have about the show or the convention center. You know the list: The lights are too bright (or too low). There's no place to sit. The food's terrible. The aisles are too crowded, which, in one sense, is a nice problem to have.

Except if you're stuck in a cellphone-toting, picture-taking, immoveable-object of a crowd. Don't know about you, but that sounds pretty familiar to me.