The hat lady rides again

Karan Snyder is at it again. You might remember her from last year's show - her fabulous, bright orange Moulin Rouge hat? This year, she's doing the Hawaiian theme with a Dutch twist, since she and her husband Tom are the brains, the support, the everything behind the Netherlands American Business Association organization and exhibit (Hall B, middle of the row closest to the Marketplace).

Karan's sister is a codstume designer in L.A., and each year, she sends Karan an amazing chapeau that incorporates the flower show theme.  This year, Karan's sporting a straw hat volcano up top with red/orange tulips around the base/brim with red ones coming out the top. It's lots of fun, though she spends her whole day posing for pictures. Gets tiring.


She's also wearing a lei made of silk daffodils and has a Hawaiian-style muu muu made out of tulips, or so she says. She's not wearing it today. Just the hat. But that's enough. "If I had a dollar for every picture, I could have taken my sister and me to Waikiki for two weeks," she says.

Karan has been a trauma nurse at Abington Memorial Hospital for more than 40 years. For half that time, her coworkers have volunteered to help set up the exhibit, which has at the center a traditional Dutch house (green clapboard siding, white trim, clay tile roof), and plant bulbs - daffs, tulips, hyacinths and more. This year, there were 37 volunteers. And, says Tom, a display that is both beautiful and transferrable - it has narrow walkways, pavers, small spaces. Unlike the huge tropical displays, this one can be replicated in the Philadelphia region.

"People can do this," he says. "You go to Lowe's or Home Depot, buy $40 worth of bulbs and you get 50-100 bulbs that come back every year and multiply like crazy."

Tom adds that Karan "could never have stayed in nursing for so long had it not been for the flower show every year." Well, I don't work in critical care nursing, for sure, but I do know a little about businesses that requires critical care, maybe even life support. Flower show works for that, too - for a time, anyway.