Lights, Cameras, Bloom! The curtain is going up on the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show, with this year's theme “Celebrate the Movies.” While all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood took over the Pennsylvania Convention Center, acres of gardens will payed tribute to films inspired by Disney and Disney-Pixar. Make no mistake about this presentation of flowers, gardens and shrubs, oh my, it is in no way sponsored by the Walt Disney Company but rather only inspired by the films of the House of the Mouse.
It is never an easy feat to stage a spectacular the size of the Philadelphia Flower Show and it is equally challenging to select a theme each year that is going to attract record crowds to Center City especially when the calendar says winter and people are looking for signs of spring. But with this year's family friendly movies-inspired-by-Disney theme, fans of all ages are likely to turn out in record numbers, so much so you have to wonder if show organizers consulted with Disney Parks and Resorts on how to keep the lines moving.
It is surprising that it has taken so long to stage a motion picture theme or specifically a Disney inspired flower show especially with some of the key players behind the scenes. One of the major media sponsors of the event is WPVI-6ABC, a Disney owned and operated television station in Philadelphia. A major player for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which stages the Flower Show, is Sam Lemheney, who directs the planning and creation of the show.
Lemheney started his career at the Walt Disney Company in 1989 as an intern at the Land Horticultural Science Program and began full-time employment as a cast member at Disney in 1991. He ultimately became the Area Manager of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, managing the combined talents and energy of Disney's entire horticultural staff, organizing and coordinating the transformation of the award-winning gardens of Epcot into one of the most exciting flower garden events in the country.
But given the huge success of the Epcot International Flower Show, it would have been easy to just borrow ideas from the Orlando theme park, but the Horticultural Society wanted to showcase unique floral arrangements and displays and not copy or duplicate ideas. Therefore designers for this year's extravaganza will showcase their distinct style and interpretation of the classic and contemporary films.
For instance Mark Cook of Mark Cook Landscape Contracting in Doylestown will tap into the “Pirates of the Caribbean,” complete with huge evergreens, spring bulbs and tropical plants to help what Cook says will be a dramatic high-seas Caribbean voyage. “We're creating an inspirational concept of set-pieces from the movie,” Cook explains, “not re-creating a scene or a character from the film.”
The world of Disney-Pixar's Radiator Springs blossomed to life in an exhibit by Burke Brothers of Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. Designer Kali Smalley says the living exhibit focused on a rustic workplace, more a garage than an office, surrounded by a garden of flowers, plants, rundown autos with greenery sprouting in an out of them and car parts.
The wildly awarded Stoney Bank Nurseries of Glen Mills, PA used “Mulan” as the backdrop for its inspirational Chinese garden at this year's show. Jack Blandy of Stoney Brook says their exhibit will “be filled with plants from China and other parts of Asia,” like the Chinese bonsai carefully pruned and shaped to enhance the display.
Other Disney classics on the vine for the show include “Fantasia,” “Peter Pan,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Mary Poppins,” “Frozen,” “Maleficent,” and “Cinderella.” A total of 20 Disney and Disney-Pixar films served as the inspiration for designers for the show which transforms 10 acres of the Convention Center into a “back lot” of fantasy of beautiful plans and cutting-edge designs.