If we had a dollar for every time someone said, "Brilliant!"
That was the word of the hour (and the day) Friday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Center City, where the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, producer of the Philadelphia Flower Show, officially introduced the 2013 theme.
That's it - Brilliant!
The theme represents a bit of a horticultural grab bag, designed to attract lovers of the old-fashioned English cottage gardens as well as more adventurous types, who prefer their designs contemporary, sleek, and minimalist.
PHS is throwing in a Big Ben Plaza for the main exhibit, with a show of music, light, and images that is projected on the clock tower, and the plaza around it, every hour. There will be no live entertainment, unless you count the people-watching.
The Flower Show runs from March 2 to 10 at the Convention Center, and there will be a few new features this year.
One is the theme name. Flower Show trivia fans know that there are plenty of two-word themes in the history of this event, which dates to 1829, but a single word? That's a first.
Also debuting this year is the Hamilton Horticort, underwritten by a $1 million gift from philanthropist Dorrance "Dodo" Hamilton. The Horticort is the show's competitive area, where individuals enter their fussed-over orchids and cacti and other plants in sometimes arcane categories, in hope of besting a rival and winning a ribbon.
Hamilton knows the drill. She's been competing - and winning - since 1984.
Drew Becher, PHS president, also told the gathering of plant people and tourism and city officials, including Mayor Nutter, that the 2013 show would include $48 tickets for a behind-the-scenes "sneak peek" tour during setup week. Also, a full day has been added to the show's public run.
In years past, a private preview for PHS members took place on the first Saturday of the show, followed the next day by the public opening.
This year, the private preview is Friday, March 1; the public arrives Saturday, March 2. This not only gives visitors an extra day, but it also gives PHS a chance to boost the box office.
Last year's Hawaiian-theme show drew 270,000 people, the highest total since 1998.
Contact Virginia A. Smith