“The Other Side of Holland,” Williamson’s exhibit in the Philadelphia Flower Show received two prestigious awards — a silver medal from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and a Special Achievement Award of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania — awarded to an exhibit of unusual excellence (under 1,000 square feet) in the category of horticulture.
Chuck Feld, horticulture instructor, said the silver award is certainly a nice medal to receive, but the award from the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania is especially satisfying. “The PHS medal was from our competition against the other exhibits in the education category, but the Garden Club’s award was us competing against all of the exhibits in the entire show. That is very stiff competition.”
Feld said, “The main purpose of our exhibit is to educate visitors on how plants are bred, propagated, and introduced into the trade, and also to highlight new perennials in the market today. When you think of flowers from Holland, you think of bulbs, especially tulips. We wanted to demonstrate that while Holland is the world leader in breeding new cultivars of bulbs, it also breeds annuals, woody plants, and perennials. ”
The exhibit, which is located in the main exhibition hall, features a garden of newly introduced perennials cultivars from Holland in flowing masses and, because the exhibit emphasizes education, there are descriptions of the plants and their uses.
Visitors walk on a path through the garden to a greenhouse that features a demonstration of how the new plants are bred and propagated with cuttings. Students are on hand to answer questions and provide a list of all the perennials used in the exhibit and how they can be used in their gardens at home. A personal checklist ensures guests do not miss any of the plants included in the exhibit.
The exhibit’s educational materials also include panels with such topics as: “The Other Side of Holland,” “Did you Know that Plants are Patented?,” “Tissue Culture,” “Plant Breeding,” and “Gregor Mendel: The Father of Genetics.”
Feld says this exhibit is one of the most ambitious and educational exhibits they have ever put together. We hope the public finds it exciting and learns something from it they can use at home.”
Shane Goodworth, a horticulture senior, said “The exhibit turned out the way we envisioned it in our planning and setup stages. I think it even looks better than we had envisioned it. We all worked well together as a team putting this exhibit together. I’m pleased with the awards we received.”
Kristian Cowher, a horticulture senior, said “Our exhibit turned out very well. Everyone who has stopped to talk to us says they enjoyed it very much. I think we deserve the awards we received. We worked very hard on this exhibit and during setup we had to alter our design at the last minute when we realized the path wasn’t wide enough to allow a lot of visitors through. We rose to the occasion, though, and fixed it with no problem.”
Raequan Norman, a horticulture senior, said “I think our exhibit came out better than we had thought. Just before setup week some of the plants in our polyhouse didn’t look their best and all of a sudden they bloomed very nicely. I’m pleased with our exhibit and our awards. Many visitors have been asking questions about Williamson and we are telling them all about it.”
Will Krakowiak, a horticulture senior, said “I think our exhibit looks good and exceeds my expectations. I think it is also the most educational exhibit in the show. I was worried about some of the plants in the polyhouse flowering in time, but with a little luck and skill, they did. Receiving two awards is really nice.”
The horticulture students received help with their exhibit from carpenters, who built cypress benches for the greenhouse, painters who painted the benches, and machinists, who made plastic, engraved plant labels cut in the shape of tulips.
Exhibit funding came from the Hoxie Harrison Smith Foundation, the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Donations of printed panels were provided by KC Signs, brochures were provided by Precision Print/Safeguard Business Systems, and plant lists were provided by Professional Duplicating. Star Roses and Plants and Creek Hill Nursery helped with the procurement of plants.
The show runs daily until Sunday, March 19, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Sts., Philadelphia. For more information visit www.theflowershow.com.