Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Things We Liked At the Philadelphia Flower Show, Part 2: Exhibits In Which You Wanted to Go On A Mini-Vacation

OK, the centerpiece of the show was definitely the 25-foot waterfall with the orchids growing up the side and the full-grown palm trees and the three-story thatched house next to it...what, I didn't show you the thatched house yet? Shame on me! Here's the half of that massive display that I hadn't shown yet:

That was BIG, and very lovely, but we also enjoyed the entries that were smaller-scale, but still very beautiful environments.

I think this one was actually my favorite, even though it was also the one that was probably the least in need of a "Do Not Enter The Exhibit" Sign, at least as far as I was concerned. People think "Hawaii" and they think lush and green, but for every place that catches the rain and grows wild with ferns and ginger and orchids, there's a place that's dry, with the red dirt showing. This exhibit was called Keahiakawelo, The Garden of the Gods", and it was inspired by the place of the same name on the island of Lanai. The place itself is actually famous for having an eerie desert beauty, with no vegetation at all; this Philadelphia Flower Show version is considerably softened by the grasses, but this way it reminds me of scenery that I think I remember from childhood visits to the Big Island (and that red cinder is the exact same stone as my parents used for a lot of the landscaping in front of the house - used to try to toughen up my "haole feet" by walking on it barefoot! :D).

I was happy to see a lot of very large silver trophies on display in this one.

Others were maybe a little more like resort brochures, but it was fun seeing what a nice job the creators had done of crafting these little illusions. They all made me want to go in, sit down, kick my shoes off and have a drink -

This one, oh, maybe a nice glass of wine...

Morning coffee here, please (I know, they forgot to do Hawaii, but isn't it pretty?)

Duuuude...margaritas, or mojitos, or maybe a nice cold Longboard Lager here, right?

There were other environments that were just as carefully crafted,

but less teasingly tempting to the footsore flower-viewer, as getting into them would be a bit of a squeeze.

We absolutely loved these little dioramas. One amazing part is that this being a flower show, any greenery that isn't painted on the backdrop is actual live plants!

There's Mandy again, for scale.

EEEK! Murder in the Bishop Museum!

All of these had judges' comments posted, and one of the things that the judges were real sticklers about was scale - any little plant or flower that wasn't on a believable scale to the scene got points off. I think this one got good marks for that, the main comment was "tilted display case is a distraction". I could never judge something like that - I'd be going "But there's actual Hawaiian plant lore on the posters!!!" I was actually glad to discover that the focus on this picture was good enough that when I zoomed in, I could read almost all of them -- there was quite a line to view these and I actually really WANTED to read those displays, but you just couldn't take all the time you wanted to to look at all the details without being annoying to the people behind you (a lady had done that to Mandy & me earlier, somehow didn't seem to understand that those of us in line behind her were actually interested in seeing the one she was monopolizing, told us we should just go ahead and go around her to the next one, argh - we never did get much of a look at that one). I suspected those were some well-researched placards, and I think I was right. Very, very cool.


O Docker said...

Wait, is that Charlie Chan at the scene of the crime?

I'm one step ahead of Charlie this time - I know exactly how the victim shuffled off.

Someone please to count the Oleander branches.

bonnie said...

oh nooo, not the oleander!

Pandabonium said...

Wow. The whole place looks like a film studio. Those dioramas are awesome too.

Trivia: The character Charlie Chan was based on the life of Honolulu Police Detective Chang Apana, who joined the force in 1898. Energetic and fearless, Apana was renown for remarkable achievements as a detective. He retired in 1932 after serving 34 years. Chang Apana died in 1933, and is buried at the Manoa Chinese Cemetery in Honolulu.

bonnie said...

Great trivia, I had no idea Charlie Chan was based on a real detective.

I didn't actually recognize Charlie Chan as Charlie Chan, although Mandy did - the maker just said something like "Can the famous Hawaiian detective solve the case?"