Those arresting eyes


The pace of flower show preparations is picking up. (Show starts March 6) I know this by the number of emails flooding my in-box from promotional-minded vendors. (Boy, would I hate to do that for a living.) I also know this because I visited Barb King's Valley Forge Flowers out in Wayne, where we were shooting a video of Sam Lemheney, the show's designer, to be shown on as soon as my colleague Sarah Glover, an experienced videographer, gets the thing edited. Barb has a crew of folks building animal topiaries, and this is a closeup of the metal-frame dragonfly getting its body parts stuck on. The leaves (integrifolia, I was told) are pasted on with hot glue one at a time. Limonium or statice will form the wings and giant green thistle, the coolest stuff, will make the eyes. It's a slow process, especially when you consider all the animals being done - besides the dragonfly, there are ostrich, snail, butterfly, rabbit, peacock, dolphin and lion. They'll be on the show stage and in the area between the show entrance and the Eiffel Tower. (Theme is Parisian this year). After the show, some of the topiary figures will be placed in the enormous containers outside the Kimmel Center for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (April 7-May 1), then - maybe - in Logan Square, but you didn't hear that from me. Recycling is a bigger part of the show this year, which will put more than a few minds at ease. In some cases, that means mulch, soil, plants and trees. In this case, it means a dried- and fresh-flower menagerie, one with arresting green thistle eyes. Speaking of arrests, these outsized features have never been my thing at the show, but I like the idea of them popping up around the city. On the other hand ... they're gonna need a security detail. All it takes is one yahoo, if you know what I mean.