The best way I could describe the scene in the convention center is master gardener/landscape architects interpreted some of the parks greatest hits and unknown gems through botany. Half the convention hall floor was filled with large scale exhibits of scenes in the national parks. Here you would gaze upon the famous of Yellowstone and Yosemite, walk along the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and NJ Coastal Heritage trails, Look upon the mountains in interpretations of the Rocky Mountain and Smokey Mountain, see some lesser known gems like Lincolns home, enjoy the water views of Acadia, the views in trees like at Redwood, and we got into the urban parks - Independence, Gateway, Golden Gate, the National Mall. And if these installations were not enough, the rest of the flower show had more.
There were pressed flower designs done by students to represent park badges and postcards. There was a miniatures exhibit to showcase tiny flowers and skills with scale, you had arrangements with colonial dishes and others to interpret national monuments. The National Park Service was out in full force with scenes showcasing the nation's best idea in short film format in what was like a cabin in the woods (surrounded by a babbling brook, a Bison (the Department of Interior's official seal) and a bear). Rangers gave lectures on park features and were all around to answer question about the parks displayed and depicted. I was in park lover's heaven! An added plus - all the parks of my youth got plenty of love - I was so excited to see Delaware Water Gap get some love. And Sandy Hook made a special showing and didn't get overshadowed by the Statue of Liberty (the share a park designation)!
The flowers were overwhelming in their beauty even after a week of showcasing it was hard to know where to turn. It was a rainbow of color. There were so many cascades of color that my camera quickly ran out of battery. And the crowds? Wow, the place was packed. But beyond waiting in lines to walk through some of the parks, traffic moved... no one exhibit hogged (though a few did skip the line to snap a picture here and there). And if you needed to rest your feet - you had choices beyond park lectures... the Philly Zoo was there for animal demonstrations for the kid in all of us. An artist was on hand painting detailed flower watercolors. Food was everywhere (yummy Philly pretzels and Little Italy's cannoli) You could go upstairs to the specialty booths - where we headed to visit the butterflies! And then there was the market place... lots of venders. You could rest you feet in any number of places selling patio gear. You could buy plants and flowers galore. You could buy art for your garden. Gardening gear? Check! Tools? Check! Need a sauna? Check! Walking stone? Yep, that too. It was all there.