One sure sign that spring is just around the corner is the...


February 28, 1993|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

One sure sign that spring is just around the corner is the opening of the Philadelphia Flower Show next Sunday. It's the world's largest indoor flower show, attracting an ever-growing number of garden lovers from all over the country and abroad.

The show will be held at the Philadelphia Civic Center through March 14. Landscape designers will turn six acres of the Civic Center complex into a floral fantasy. Upon entering the show, you step into the "Lion Parterre" of the Great Garden of Pitmedden, one of the treasures of the National Trust for Scotland. Here you find a maze of sculptured hedgerows,

standing 8 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Peering through wrought-iron gates you see another Scottish treasure, the Garden of Crathes Castle. The walled garden is bounded on the north side by a border of hollyhocks, delphinium and digitalis, and to the south by pastel perennials and flowering shrubs. The garden is shaded by espaliered apple trees and also contains a large vegetable garden.

In addition to this elaborate centerpiece, 55 other major landscape exhibits relate to the show theme, "Preserving the Past, Presenting the Future." An old paper mill and its churning water wheel provide a backdrop for willow and cherry trees, old-fashioned shrubs and colorful perennials. Orchids and other

exotic tropical plants thrive in a tropical rain forest setting complete with cascading waterfalls.

And there's a futuristic setting inspired by Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx, and an outdoor topiary cafe where fanciful tables are placed under a flowering arbor amid topiaries and colorful blooms.

More than 1,700 entries will compete for awards in artistic and horticultural classes ranging from huge flower arrangements to thimble-sized ones, window boxes, bonsai, room settings and garden club landscapes. Free lectures and demonstrations are also part of the daily offerings, and a show marketplace has plants, cut flowers and other garden-related items for sale. Food can be purchased on the premises.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Admission is $11.50 for adults; $5.75 for children under 12. Proceeds benefit the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadelphia Green program, the largest comprehensive community gardening program in the country.

TC The Civic Center is at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard. (215) 625-8253.

Music in abundance

Philadelphia also beckons the music lover with 11 performances next weekend by some of the city's leading opera companies, ensembles, choruses and orchestras.

On Friday, hear the Relache Ensemble, America's largest mixed-instrument ensemble devoted to late 20th-century music, at the Tin Angel Cafe, 20 S. Second St., at 6:30 p.m., or the Curtis Institute Chamber Orchestra at the Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust St., at 8 p.m. Saturday's agenda begins at 1 p.m. with performances at the Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce St., by students who will sing selections from the Donizetti opera, "Daughter of the Regiment"; the Philadelphia Singers performing a capella works from the British repertoire; and Concerto Soloists playing works by Handel, Vivaldi and other 18th- and 19th-century composers.

Three more programs will take place at the University of the Arts, Wagman Hall, 311 S. Broad St., beginning at 3:30 p.m. The Savoy Company offers selections from Gilbert and Sullivan; the Network for New Music presents the music of George Crumb; and students from the University of the Arts perform works by Debussy, Cassado and Bartok. Saturday evening Maestro Wolfgang Sawallish, music director-designate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducts at the Academy of Music, and "Rigoletto" by the Pennsylvania Opera Theatre is on the bill at Merriam Theatre, 250 South Broad St. The weekend concludes with winners from the Luciano Pavarotti/Opera Company of Philadelphia International Voice Competition performing "La Favorita" at the Academy of Music.

Most performances are free. (215) 636-1666.

Needlework Exhibition

The Woodlawn Plantation Needlework Exhibition, America's oldest and largest needlework show, celebrates its 30th anniversary beginning Saturday and running through March 28 at Woodlawn Plantation in Mount Vernon, Va. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The house was a wedding present from George Washington to his adopted daughter, Eleanor Parke "Nelly" Custis, and his nephew, Lawrence Lewis. Custis was an avid needlewoman, and some of her work is in the show.

Over 1,000 entries have been accepted, including pieces by celebrities. Types of needlework range from samplers and embroidery to small quilted apparel and rugs. There are amateur and professional categories, and the judges are internationally known.

There is also a special exhibit titled, "North and South Meet in the Love of Needlework," featuring work by Mary Todd Lincoln, Varina Howell Davis (wife of Jefferson Davis) and other first ladies.

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