Irene Virag's Garden Party

I'm Irene Virag -- a writer, a gardener, a cancer survivor. I think ideas are like plants. They need nurturing to grow. And gardeners share both. So welcome to my blog. It’s all about what’s happening in my garden and beyond.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Jurassic Isle

What with the theme of this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show being called “Legends of Ireland,” it makes sense that the best-of-show award went to an exhibit that featured full-sized but ersatz dinosaurs. Not.

Or maybe it wasn’t that far-fetched at all. Dinosaurs roamed everywhere else in the primordial past so they must have made Ireland their stomping grounds, too, before the meteor hit. And when I tunneled through the crowd to get close to the winning landscape – called Plant-O-Saurus and created by Michael Petrie of the J. Franklin Styer Nurseries – the award seemed even more reasonable.

The exhibit was typical of the Concordville, Pennsylvania firm’s reputation for imagination – I still remember the brightly painted giant truck tires that were focal points in its display at the first Philly show I attended almost a decade ago. And it was certainly in keeping with the spirit of the Emerald Isle – replete with mist rising from a mysterious woodland bog shaded by dark evergreens and surrounded by Irish moss. Reality is often perception and even the monkey puzzle trees and the towering King Tut papyrus and the giant banana trees seemed at home.

The foliage and flowers might have charmed even the most unruly triceratops and T-rex. Like the Acanthus spinosus, commonly known as spiny bear’s breeches (photo at left), and the Crytomeria japonica Cristata with otherworldly foliage (at right).

I loved the drifts of green and white Alocasia Polly and Phormium Maori Sunrise punctuated by orange rhododendrons and bromeliads as well as
white hellebores and the exotic purple flowers and
red stems of Aechmea Del Mar (at right). The huge leaves of Gunnera unfurled along the misty banks, where lights brightened and dimmed at intervals to reveal the lost world.

Whether these plant combinations made any kind of botanical sense didn’t seem to matter. It was magic.

What could be more Irish?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this magical show to your blog. I enjoyed reading about it and viewing your wonderful photos.


3/06/2007 6:12 AM  
Blogger Glickster said...

For more about Hellebores:

3/09/2007 3:10 AM  

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