“Waterless Wonder,” Williamson’s exhibit in the Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, demonstrating the adaptive abilities of Mediterranean plants to survive with little water, received a Philadelphia Horticultural Society silver medal.
The exhibit, Williamson’s 25th, fit the show’s theme of “Riviera Holiday,” and made you feel like you were basking in the warmth of a villa along the Mediterranean sea. It featured the facade of a Mediterranean villa, a walled garden, an entrance with an arbor, a wall fountain, a patio with tables and chairs, two pergolas, many plants, and two 17-foot high palm trees.
Because Williamson exhibits in the educational category, the exhibit featured panels explaining how Mediterranean plants survive with little water.
Horticulture instructor Chuck Feld, who was participating in his 52nd show, said “So many visitors said this is their favorite exhibit in the entire show, that if they held a vote with the visitors, we would have received the People’s Choice Best of Show Award.
“The students worked very well as a team and decided how to put this exhibit together; knowing where to place plants is difficult. The exhibit is very attractive and came out just the way we envisioned it. It contains Mediterranean plants that can be grown locally, so visitors were able to get ideas for their own backyards.”
The seniors worked an entire year on the exhibit, planning, designing, acquiring materials, and then assembling it at the Convention Center.
They received help from carpenters, who built the facade of the house, the walls, and two pergolas. Painters stuccoed the house to give it a Mediterranean look and stained the pergolas. Machinists made the identification tags for the plants on red roof tiles.
Josh Johnson, a horticulture senior said, “I feel really happy with how our exhibit turned out. We put everything we wanted to into it and it turned out just the way we had envisioned it. We overcame several set backs, but it all came together in the end. We worked very well as a team; everyone figured out where they fit in best and worked at that spot. We were striving to make visitors happy with our exhibit and we achieved that. Many said it is the nicest exhibit in the show.”
Da’Shawn Wooden, a horticulture senior, said “I feel like we did very well as a class. It was a group effort and we all worked well together and worked very hard to make the exhibit as nice as we could. It came out just the way we wanted it.”
Brian Finn said, “The Flower Show was my favorite project of my three years at Williamson. It was a fun experience working with my classmates and I’m really happy with the way it turned out even though we didn’t win a gold medal. At the end of the day, our exhibit looked awesome and we know we gave a 100 percent effort.”
Exhibit funding came from the Hoxie Harrison Smith Foundation, in Downingtown, Pa., and Aqua America, in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Donations of graphic panels were provided by KC Signs, in Aston, Pa., and exhibit brochures were provided by Precision Print-Safeguard, in Chadds Ford, Pa.