Flowers are blooming in indoor shows In Philadelphia: Exhibits include 18th-century gardens and Hawaiians making leis amid cascading waterfalls and tropical foliage.

February 04, 1996|By Jerry Morris | Jerry Morris,BOSTON GLOBE

It's time to get out and smell the flowers. The flower-show season is upon us, and whether you have a green thumb or not, it's a great time to think spring.

There may be no better place to head than to Philadelphia, home of the country's oldest flower show, where this year the entire city is celebrating with more than 50 programs at museums, restaurants, hotels, theaters and stores. The Philadelphia show also has a new home, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and an earlier than usual date, Feb. 25-March 3.

"This Land is Your Land, Philadelphia in Flower" will offer splashing fountains, Victorian flower beds, a rolling countryside and city streetscapes to portray some horticultural firsts of the "Friendliest City in America." This is the largest such show in the country and will feature everything from 18th-century gardens to native Hawaiians demonstrating the traditional art of lei making amid cascading waterfalls and tropical foliage. The Altar Guild of Washington's National Cathedral will illustrate the role of flowers in religious offerings. The new site of the show promises added space for viewing, relaxing and dining. For information on the show, call (215) 625-8253. To obtain information on Flower Show Week, along with offers, accommodation information and a SuperPass, good for two days, call (800) 974-7666. (Call Amtrak about its fares to the show; call (800) USA-RAIL and ask for order X-656.)

Not to be missed is the 125th edition of the New England Flower Show, March 9-17, at Bayside Exposition Center in Boston. It is the third-largest flower show in the world. This year's theme is "Celebration!" and will feature 40 fully landscaped gardens in a 5 1/2 -acre setting, including an exhibit from the Montreal Botanical Garden re-creating a 17th- to 18th-century village in southern China. For information, or to purchase advance tickets, call (617) 536-9280.

The show, sponsored by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, will also have an extensive marketplace, lectures, an information center on gardening and an interactive Discovery Center.

Rhode Island is also getting into the flower act and will hold its third annual Spring Flower & Garden Show at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Feb. 22-25. Martha Stewart will launch the show with a talk on "The Garden and Entertaining." For show information, call (401) 421-7811.

The Maymont Flower & Garden Show in Richmond, Va., has been named one of the top shows in America by the New York Times. Virginia's largest garden show will be Feb. 22-25. For information, call (800) 370-9004. For information on accommodations and a visitor pack, call (800) 444-2777. (The Richmond Marriott has a $69 a night package; call [800] 226-9290.)

The New York Flower Show will be held at the New York City Coliseum March 8-17. This year's show pays tribute to New York's theater tradition, using the great plays of Broadway as inspiration for its displays. For information, call (800) 553-2121.

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