Flower show's focus on water lets visitors dive into spring

FILE - In this March 10, 2017, file photo, visitors view horticultural displays during a preview of the annual Philadelphia Flower Show, featuring the theme "Holland: Flowering the World," at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. As the East Coast slogs through chilly temperatures and winter dreariness, visitors will dive into spring during the annual Philadelphia Flower Show from March 3 to 11, 2018, featuring the theme "Wonders of Water" and promising to "celebrate the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water." (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

As the East Coast continues its slog through chilly temperatures and general winter dreariness, the Philadelphia Flower Show offers a colorful sneak peek into warmer, longer days

PHILADELPHIA — As the East Coast continues its slog through chilly temperatures and general winter dreariness, the Philadelphia Flower Show offers a colorful sneak peek into warmer, longer days. This year, visitors can dive into spring at the "Wonders of Water" themed show, which runs from March 3 to March 11.

The annual floral extravaganza promises to "celebrate the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water."

A sample of what to expect:

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RAINFORESTS, WOODLANDS, DESERTS

Some of the top floral designers in the country will converge on the Pennsylvania Convention Center, transforming it into a mix of rainforests, temperate forests, woodlands and arid landscapes, showcasing the plants that thrive in each environment. Expect everything from orchids and flowering vines to desert blooms.

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DRAMATIC ENTRANCE

Guests will enter the show under a canopy of exotic flowers and come face-to-face with a multi-level, bamboo waterfall. An ever-shifting rain curtain will guide visitors over a suspended rope bridge, through a brilliant green rainforest.

"We want to capture all the sensory elements of the rainforest — its fantastic colors, scents and sounds — and demonstrate its unique and vital role in purifying water and sustaining our environment," said Sam Lemheney, who heads up the society's shows and events.

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HIGHLIGHTING CONSERVATION

The show will explore the innovative ways green infrastructure is used to protect and conserve water sources. One exhibit will show how plant systems cleanse and sustain the Delaware River Watershed through mountains, fields, marshes and streams. A "Water Summit" will feature environmental and industry experts from around the United States, including former astronaut Mary Ellen Weber, on freshwater issues and real-world solutions. Gardeners of all skill levels can learn water-saving techniques.

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THE BACKYARD

A new attraction called "The Backyard" will offer inspiration for outdoor living and give conservation tips for home gardeners. It will also showcase programs that are integral to the Philadelphia Horticultural Society's mission. They include the City Harvest program of urban farmers, who grow fresh organic produce and give a portion of their harvest to local food pantries. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has sponsored the show each year since 1829. The show's revenues support the Horticultural Society's programs.

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