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Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

It is now clear that the British people have made the choice to leave the European Union. The countr...


Flower Show Promises to be "Brilliant!"

The 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show promises to be . . . interesting. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the show has a peculiar-sounding theme that, except for those who are intimately involved, evokes an almost universal response: 

Say what?

This theme is one word - "Brilliant!" - and it's worth paying attention to. It could portend significant changes ahead: shows that are no longer predictably tied to geographic themes like Hawaii and Ireland, and that rise or fall on the artistry of their horticulture and landscape design, rather than touristy exhibits and entertainment.

"We would like everyone to keep in mind that we're in the 21st century," said Drew Becher, who became president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show's producer, in mid-2010 and has been shaking things up ever since.

"Brilliant!" is British slang for awesome or cool. It's meant to signal that the $9 million show - next Saturday to March 10 at the Convention Center - is cutting-edge and about Britain, England, London, the United Kingdom, or the British Isles, depending on who's explaining.

Americans and flower-show producers tend to toss these entities into one big bucket, when they're seriously different things. Britain is England, Scotland, and Wales. The United Kingdom is Britain and Northern Ireland. The British Isles are Britain, Ireland, and adjacent islands.

Though a marketer's nightmare, the theme's vagueness is deliberate, the result of a lot of collective head-mashing by the horticultural society and the Flower Show family. It's designed to liberate organizers, exhibitors, even visitors, from traditional expectations - Hawaiian volcanoes, Irish fairies - so they can creatively interpret on their own.

"The beauty of this dialed-down theme is that you can take liberties," Becher said. "You can be really different."

It does not mean that there will never be another geographic theme or that the show will never feature representative landscapes. "It does mean we'll aim for modern interpretation of those things," said show designer Sam Lemheney, a horticulturist hired away from Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in 2003 to liven up the Philadelphia show, which dates to 1829.

Lemheney, the third generation of his family to be involved in the show, noted that even though London, in particular, now sports extraordinary examples of contemporary architecture and garden design, most folks cling to familiar notions - Big Ben, all things royal, flowery cottage gardens.

Source: Philly.com - Flower Show Promises to be "Brilliant!"