Internet gardening is global and to reflect that we’re running a regular column from gardeners around the world, either from home or where they’re visiting. In this first column, international garden designer and editor Ruth Chivers sends a message from the Philadelphia Flower Show, the longest-running such event in the US.
I set off to Philadelphia with high hopes of seeing a bit of gardening’s future at the "World's Premier Gardening Event." ‘Gardens for The New Millennium’ was the theme at this year's show, spread over 10 acres indoors.
It’s like the Chelsea Flower Show or Hampton Court plus several others, rolled into one giant hybrid. Plus a series of free lectures, seminars, demonstrations and workshops (Royal Horticultural Society take note.) Something for everyone, and great fun. Tickets are easy to get, and cheaper than for shows in the UK - anyone can go on any day.
Gardening whimsy was everywhere. Rose-tinted remembrances of rural scenes past, recalled Daily Mail displays at recent Hampton Court shows. The 'Aaaah' factor registered high with visitors. An impressive number of large flowering trees, cherries mostly, had been brought on, transported, positioned and kept looking happy during the build-up period.
Real sheep and hens fossicked in the 'Bucks County from one Century to the Next' garden - I felt sure they had a good Shows contract here! But 21st-century gardening looked remarkably similar to the last, as though Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden haven't planted a single prairie, or Thomas Church delivered one of his now legendary Californian uncluttered designs.
Rusty metal abounded, from an aged Ford pick-up truck to ornaments for sale. Shiny galvanized metal has just as strong gardening appeal on the other side of the Pond. For a newer twist on metallic features, try bending pipes into arches and supports - I'm especially keen to try my hand with copper, having been enthused by features I saw here.