Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What's in a name? One word, that's what

It happened again. I had to consult Janet Evans, the answer lady (librarian and archivist) for PHS. I'd asked everyone from Drew Becher on down: Has the flower show ever had a one-word theme? (On tap for 2013: Brilliant! about modern London and Great Britain.) Only Janet knew for sure: NO.

What's in a name? One word, that's what

It happened again. I had to consult Janet Evans, the answer lady (librarian and archivist) for PHS. I'd asked everyone from Drew Becher on down: Has the flower show ever had a one-word theme? (On tap for 2013: Brilliant! about modern London and Great Britain.) Only Janet knew for sure: NO.

There've been two-word themes - remember Bella Italia? and three-word themes - Springtime in Paris. And shows with longer names that probably shouldn't be recalled. I'm thinking Pennsylvania: Then and Now in 1951 and You and Your Garden in 1970. What were they thinking?

For many years, there was no theme at all, just a flower show or a spring flower show or a flower and garden show. Janet's shown here with a poster from a show from the '60s - she has a collection in PHS' McLean Library.

It's a new day when PHS picks Brilliant! It's meant to be edgier than your average flower show theme and, just guessing here, I think it will be taken that way. The show's intended to be snappier, too. It won't be dwelling on nostalgia. As explained by PHS folks, the show will use the famous English gardens not as a focus, but as inspiration for a modern interpretation.

Another thing that'll be different next year - no question, there will be a lot more plants adaptable to our mid-Atlantic climate than could be found at the Aloha show. No surprise: That was a big complaint from visitors and even some exhibitors, who consider the flower show their premier marketing opportunity. 

So Brilliant! it is. More on this to come.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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