In the final hour of the Philadelphia Flower Show, Barbie Carr soaked it in, knowing that winter was on its way out but that she still had a while to wait before her own flowers bloom.

"I need this," she said. "I need the smell of the hyacinth before they pop up in my yard. It's like my drug."

Thousands got their own flower fix as the nine-day show came to an end Sunday. The crowd pushed the total attendance to 250,000, about 10 percent more than last year. Most noteworthy: visits among children and students doubled, according to organizers.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show's producer, had hoped to draw in a youthful crowd, launching a pop-up beer garden, bringing back a popular butterfly exhibit, and picking a kid-friendly theme, "Celebrate the Movies."

"It's very important to us to bring a younger generation into the show," said Alan Jaffe, the society's communications director. "It's about sustainability. We talk about sustainability with what we do with the environment. We want to have a sustainable organization."

That goes for the flowers, too. Breaking down the extravagant displays will take about 48 hours. From there, many plants will be sold at the society's members-only sale. Annuals and cut flowers will be composted.

But at 5 p.m., an hour before the doors closed, it was all still on display. And aside from some rosebuds browning around the edges, tulips missing their petals, and a magnolia tree wilting in the warm Convention Center, most of the plants had fared well.

Michelle Masters, in her ninth year selling her topiary-themed artwork at the show, said some years were bigger hits than others. The shows centered on Paris and London were both standouts, but last years' "ARTiculture" theme seemed "hard conceptually" for visitors to connect to, she said.

Standing in front of an illustration she drew for this year's show - a topiary shaped like a Hollywood box office with a small bunny behind the ticket window - she said the movie theme seemed to resonate with the shoppers who visited her stall.

"The vibe, the buzz has been very positive," she said. "They say, 'There is a wow factor.' "

267-746-0207

@TriciaNadolny