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Bringing museum art to the Philadelphia Flower Show

Artful use of botanical materials brings bold colors and shapes to gardens and homes.
Artful use of botanical materials brings bold colors and shapes to gardens and homes.L Conlin

Philadelphia is recognized as a center for a hugely diverse range of art, history and culture. Among the many distinguished museums housed in the city are the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Barnes Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Culture and art are celebrated each year at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Walls are hung with iridescent pressed plant material and miniature masterpieces. Expertly arranged and illuminated stages and store windows present natural materials in striking poses. Patios and pathways, party tables and garden rooms wander, flow, and shimmer with creativity.

Art always plays a vital part in every show, but this year’s ARTiculture theme has taken matters to a new level. Remarkable attention has been paid to the flair of elegantly displaying natural materials, whether in a garden setting or within a picture frame; whether suspended from the ceiling or secured to the side of a fence; whether dressing a party table or decorating an outdoor room.

Inspiration has come from age-old masters and new materials, time honored rules of presentation and state-of-the-art developments. Recycled and re-purposed materials take on bold life as vibrant new garden art pieces.

A stroll around the exhibits gives visitors an experience that blends museum grade art with a trip to a gorgeous garden. In fact, a magnificent local outdoor museum and arboretum has loaned out some of its works to be used in the show. “Grounds for Sculpture” in Hamilton, NJ accommodates dozens of sculptures that depict 3-D versions of famous paintings and photographs. One such sculpture that is being featured at the Flower Show this week is the famed V-J Day photo taken in Times Square of a sailor kissing a nurse after the end of the World War II.

Also on display at this week’s show are pop art legend Andy Warhol’s renowned flower prints, on loan from the Bank of America. A photograph of hibiscus blossoms stimulated Warhol to create a series of brilliantly colored prints. Eighteen museums have collaborated with exhibitors to create a fascinating fusion between fine art and botanical splendor.

Before the Philadelphia Flower Show ends, immerse yourself in ARTiculture. Allow some of its creative pollen to fertilize your imagination, and stimulate fresh ideas in your own garden gallery.