Monday, March 21, 2011

Specimen Plants at the Philadelphia Flower Show

An intriguing part of The Philadelphia Flower Show - any flower show, for that matter - are the specimens that are entered for judging. Entrants submit the best of their plants with the hopes of taking home a ribbon denoting theirs to be the best in class or show.

As I walked the aisles of specimen plants, one or two names showed up repeatedly. Mrs. Hamilton, for one. Her reputation had preceded her, as I'd heard my mom talk about her before. Mrs. Hamilton reached legendary status long ago. Mom wondered if she would have entries in this year's show.

You bet she did and while she didn't win something with everything she entered (a LOT of things!), she won her fair share.

So did Diana Wister. Both Mrs. Hamilton and Ms. Wister had both large and small, and nearly always dramatic entries. You could just about guess which entries belonged to one or the other. What Mom and I wanted to know was how many trucks it took to bring them in, and what their greenhouses must look like. I don't know the age of Ms. Wister, but Mrs. Hamilton is 81 or so years old and surely has staff to help her take care of these things.

I enjoyed looking at the specimens as much as I did the garden displays:

Pretty amazing Aeoniums!

As readers of this blog know, I'm highly enamored with agaves! This one is Agave parryi and is one of Mrs. Hamilton's many entries.

It was Amaryllis heaven, both here in competition and on display (which I'll show in a future post).

I absolutely LOVED this near perfect specimen of Snowball Cactus (Parodia scopa). It garnered a second place ribbon.

This reminds me of a crown. It's a Silver Dollar Cactus (Astrophytum asterias 'Super Kabuto'). I bought one from a vendor at the show because I saw this one and thought it was so cool

More awesome cacti.

Yellow Clivia, surrounded by Coleus.

Narcissus bulbicodium
Of several intricate miniature gardens, this one took the blue ribbon.

Look at the size of these hanging plants!

Succulents were getting a lot of attention at the show and rightfully so. They can be so dramatic, like this Haworthia truncata 'Lime Green'.

I've grown Lewisia here at Our Little Acre, and LOVE it, but it's very picky about drainage. I have one that's still alive, although it isn't thriving. I got a few blooms out of it last year and it looks like it made it through the winter, so maybe it will bloom again for me this year.

This orchid was the center of attention among the many orchids on display. I've never seen one that has a sprayed look to it like this Cattleya Blc. Arabesque.

Paphiopedalum Peter Pernar x. Kayday

Yes, it's an orchid, but I didn't capture its name.

This fabulous Dendrobium kingianum 'Jane Pepper' was a big winner for Mrs. Hamilton.

This makes the eighth time Mrs. Hamilton has won this special Pennsylvania Horticulture Society Orchid Award.

This gigantic rabbit's foot fern? Mrs. Hamilton's, of course.

Another Mrs. Hamilton winner in the Wardian Case category.

Clivias were a BIG deal at the show, and we saw many of them.

Clivia miniata

Even Clivias not in bloom were submitted for judging, such as this variegated one.


indooroopilly flowers said...

These plants are so beautiful, I really want to have them all at my place. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

WOW. If a person couldn't find an inspiration in this group of plants one would never find one. Can you imagine trying to get something to come to bloom just in time for a judging?? I admire these people so much. Great plants.

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