Plenty to do at the Flower Show, through Sunday

The Philadelphia Flower Show, currently in bloom at the Convention Center through Sunday, March 8, is Philly’s annual harbinger of spring.

If you’re looking for something that has roots, the Flower Show, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, has been an annual event each spring since 1829. The show has branched into other areas besides viewing flowers and trees. You can eat a “Bloomin’ Brunch,” “Make & Take” home plants and crafts, participate in daily “Potting Parties,” view butterflies, and purchase from vendor shops. Bring along your best barking bud on “Fido Friday” — your pooch gets in free. Guess they won’t have to water the plants that day – just kidding!

The show’s theme, Riviera Holiday, celebrates the flora of coastal Italy and France with olive trees, lavender plants and lemon trees. Don’t be misled by the beautiful but understated entrance pathway. The displays get more interesting as you move through them. Check out the lemon trees to see how the lemons are attached. (These lemons truly are “plants.”)

Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly Grace Kelly of Philadelphia, is featured in this year’s show. If you love roses, the exhibit showcasing her will not disappoint. A replica of her in her wedding gown rises like an ethereal apparition, presiding over her flower bed of mostly pink roses. Does she walk the labyrinth of aisles at night?

Many displays by schools, individuals and clubs were really inventive and they provided suggestions, tips and do-it-yourself ideas. New this year are pop-up carts called “The Poppies” that feature guest speakers and dispense gardening tips. No samples were dispensed at the medical marijuana exhibit, however, so you’ll just have to blaze your own trail through the show. There were several little freebies to be had — some Scranton swag, saltwater taffy, packets of seeds, reusable shopping bags (which will be handy in Philly soon) and, if you are lucky, a free bouquet. Conspicuously absent this year were chairs — a much-coveted commodity for anybody physically bushed and needing a brief rest.

If time to recover from the Flower Show isn’t built into your schedule, you may not want to spend too long at the free tastings at the Fine Wine and Good Spirits area. Still, it’s not to be missed. Kindly, the bartender from Sagamore Whiskey gave me permission to share his original cocktail recipe, which was my Flower Show favorite.

Rocco’s “Straight Outta Sagamore”

1.5 oz. Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey

.5 oz. Aperol

1 oz. fresh lime

1 oz. Hibiscus simple syrup*

Fresh Mint

Fresh Blackberries

*How to Make Hibiscus Syrup

Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup Hibiscus flowers to a boil.

Once boiled, add 1 cup sugar and wait until sugar dissolves.

Cool syrup.