"Endless Spring . . . New Days Dawning Round the World" is the theme of the 1991 Philadelphia Flower Show, which begins its weeklong run next Sunday at the Philadelphia Civic Center.
This is the oldest, most prestigious garden show in the United States. Philadelphia flower shows go all the way back to 1829, two years after the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society was founded. Today the exhibition has grown to become the largest indoor horticultural exhibition in the world, covering six acres of glorious blooms.
This year's centerpiece exhibit is the largest one in show history, totaling about 6,000 square feet. For the first time in many years, cut flowers will be used in the exhibit, which spotlights the countries of Kenya (the world's sixth largest exporter of cut flowers), the Netherlands and Italy. Top designers from these three countries will join forces with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to create a lavish display. Upon entering the exhibit area, you will see an African waterfall surrounded by exotic flora, a Dutch canal bordered by thousands of tulips and an Italian piazza filled with fountains, statuary and large floral displays. As you leave the display, you walk into a large U.S. flower market crowded with roses and tropical foliage in many hues.
Other landscape displays include "Spring Along the Anhinga Trail," a trek through the Everglades in which bromeliads, orchids and Spanish moss are suspended over a murky swamp of live fish and possibly even an alligator or two; "An Estate Garden," which features a 16-foot bronze sculpture of five children jumping over a puddle, which is bordered by a bilevel garden and entertainment area; and "The Splendor of Spain," fashioned by the Spanish gardener Mary Cantarella, who re-creates a bit of her own Barcelona garden.
There are also more than 1,500 entries in the various competitive classes, ranging from balcony treatments and window boxes to table settings and miniatures. Anyone with an interest in home gardening can ask questions of the experts or attend the daily free lectures and demonstrations offered by top designers and horticulturists. And for those who wish to get a head start on their own gardens, there is a marketplace with more than 100 specialty shops. Food can be purchased from several cafeterias and a full-service restaurant on the premises.
Show hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $10.50 for adults, $5.25 for children under 12. Proceeds are used to support the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's outreach programs, including Philadelphia Green, the largest comprehensive community gardening program in the country.
The Philadelphia Civic Center is at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard. For information, call (215) 625-8253.
The London Town Publik House in Edgewater will host "Tavern Day" next Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. This event takes a look at a time when this 18th century tavern served as a center for the community's social and commercial life and for travelers using the South River ferry to Annapolis. The tavern will be filled with itinerant craftsmen selling their wares, sailors on shore leave and travelers and townspeople exchanging news of the day.
A re-enactor portraying Mrs. William Brown, wife of the original innkeeper and builder, will greet visitors, as William Priest, in the role of an 18th century sailor, sings period sea chanteys. There will also be a doctor of "physick and surgery" who will be on hand for anyone in need of treatment. To support this year's theme, "Fitting Out the Fleet," there will be demonstrations of maritime craft, such as ropewalk, carpentry and blacksmithing. Complimentary refreshments of cider and cookies will be served.
Admission is $4.50 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $2.50 for children (residents of Anne Arundel County pay $1 less). To reach the London Town Publik House, follow Route 2 south of Annapolis across the South River bridge. At the second stoplight, turn left onto Mayo Road. Continue to the next stoplight and turn left onto Londontown Road and drive to its end.
/# For information, call 222-1919.
The 40th annual Fredericksburg Fine Arts Festival is scheduled March 10-17 at the Community Center in Fredericksburg, Va.
Sponsored by the Fredericksburg Woman's Club and the Department of Parks and Recreation, the show features works by artists throughout the region. Classifications in the competition include watercolor, oils, pastels, drawing, collage, sculpture and novice.
Hours are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
The center is at 408 Canal St. in Fredericksburg. For information, call (703) 372-1086.
Next Sunday on Charter Day many of the historical and museum sites throughout Pennsylvania will be open to the public free of charge. Charter Day celebrates the granting of the colonial charter by King Charles II to William Penn.