For some, browsing the Philadelphia Flower Show's vendor stalls is as exciting as looking at the exhibits. (Ed Hille/Staff Photographer)

Hate to disappoint all the horticulturists out there, but shopping is one of the bigger draws of the show. No apologies! Last year I wrote about the shopping and an emailer named "Anonymous" criticized me for talking about it. No apologies, Anonymous. This is one place where I am happy to shop. Apparently plenty of visitors agree with me. The aisles are jammed, and no wonder. I found many things - fresh flowers, African violets (the sign on the booth said "That's amore"), orchids, garden gloves, Irish riding boots, jewelry galore. So much you can't take it all in. Friends who are here told me they split up and passed each other in the aisle. Both were so dazed, they walked right by without recognition!

Too many things to mention, but I did find some wind chimes in Booth 434 made of obsidian needles. Obsidian is a glassy rock that Deborah and Richard Bloom from Portland dig up - with permits, of course. They also use seed pods, cones, flowers, wood, antler and bone in their chimes, which have a delicate sound but which, the Blooms assure, are extremely tough. Forty mph winds? I asked. "I've had mine up for 20 years, no problem," Deborah said.

When I come back to the show on Saturday - this time on my own time - I just might stop back. Ciao.

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