Share This Page

Philly Flower Show brings art to life

| Sunday, March 2, 2014, 7:28 p.m.

Winter-weary gardeners and painters alike may find inspiration in the colorful palette of the Philadelphia Flower Show, which uses plants and petals to pay homage to work by artists like Matisse, Calder and Kandinsky.

The main exhibitors partnered with major U.S. museums to produce “ART iculture,” this year's floral extravaganza which opened March 1 and runs through March 9.

A perennial harbinger of spring, the flower show will be, perhaps, more fervently welcomed this season after the toll of an unusually cold and snowy winter along the Eastern Seaboard.

“Living in the Northeast ... everyone is so sick of snow that coming in and seeing color, and seeing the flower show, it's going to be a welcome respite this year,” said Drew Becher, president of the show's sponsor, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Schaffer Designs of Philadelphia partnered with the Guggenheim Museum in New York to come up with “Kandinsky's Canvas,” a floral representation of three abstract paintings by Wassily Kandinsky: “Circles in a Circle,” “Little Accents” and “Dominant Curve.”

The “circles” have been transformed into colorful balls of carnations and other plant material. They look randomly placed until viewers stand on a premarked spot and see them a through an empty picture frame.

“They will actually see the painting come to life as it was originally meant to be,” designer Bill Schaffer said.

The show's colorful entrance garden pays tribute to Alexander Calder, a sculptor and painter whose work can be found throughout the city. Visitors are greeted by a huge floral mobile and three oversized picture frames, the largest measuring 30 feet high by 50 feet wide. The aerial dance troupe Bandaloop will perform regularly within the display.

Rarely seen prints from Andy Warhol's “Flowers” series, from the Bank of America Collection, will also be displayed.

Billed as the world's largest indoor flower show, the Philadelphia Flower Show dates to 1829. It also includes plant judging, a butterfly garden and craft workshops.

Attendance will be watched after last year's ticket sales fell 17 percent from 2012. Organizers said many groups canceled as a result of overhyped weather forecasts for snow, which never materialized. About 270,000 visitors came to the show in 2012.

The Philadelphia Flower Show runs through March 9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia. Admission is $15 to $32. Details: www.theflowershow.com

Kathy Matheson is a staff writer for the Associated Press.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.