I Went to the Philadelphia Flower Show and I Hated It

The universe was telling me that I shouldn’t go to the flower show, but I just didn’t listen.

display at the philadelphia flower show

I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area for 5 years now. I moved here in January of 2014 and soon found out about the Philadelphia Flower Show, since it’s always held in late winter.

It’s no secret that I fucking love flowers. All plants, actually. I could never find anyone who would go to the show with me, so I never went. This year I decided that come heck or high water, I wasn’t going to miss it. So I went alone. Honestly this is probably better because I got to walk at my own pace and not have to worry about keeping up with someone. (I’m a very slow walker.)

I tried to go on Tuesday, but there was no parking at the three regional rail stations nearest me. Also a man tried to start a fight with me in Paoli as I was looking for parking. (Long story short, he was having a temper tantrum like a giant man baby, and when I picked up my phone like I was going to record him, he drove off.) I finally found a parking spot two train stations later, but at that point, it was so late in the day that I didn’t want to go all the way into Philadelphia. I went home and regrouped.

On Wednesday I took an Uber to one of the stations so I didn’t have to find parking. I was sitting on the packed train thinking, this was a bad idea. I have C-PTSD and I panic when I’m in big groups. It makes me feel out of control. But I’d already taken my CBD oil for the day and was feeling uncharacteristically chill, so I figured I’d still give it a shot.

a true rebel
A true rebel

Once I got into the show, I saw my error. Too. Many. People. Surprisingly I didn’t panic, but I’ll tell you what, I didn’t love it. I thought I’d get to take a bunch of pictures but photography was nearly impossible. I thought maybe it was just congested near the entrance because there are so many great displays to see, so I walked toward the back. Nope, tons of people there too. Tons of people everywhere, as a matter of fact.

The problem isn’t the people. Of course there’s going to be lots of people. It’s that there’s no defined flow of traffic. Once you’d get into a line to see a display, there’d be some asshole going against the stream and blocking you. You go around them, and now you can’t see any of the displays because there’s one or two rows of people between you and the display. So I guess the problem IS the people, assholes in particular.

philadelphia flower show display
One of the few displays I could get near: a chair.

Also… why do people feel the need to take selfies with everything? Can we just look at the pretty plants and not have to take a picture with it? I’m sure your friends will believe that you were there without you actually being in the picture. Your child does not want to fake another smile and stand in front of yet another floral arrangement. At first I was polite and tried to go around people taking photos of others in front of displays, but after a short while I stopped caring. I’m sure I ruined many potentially lovely family photos with my angry scowl.

That being said, here’s a selfie that I took, well out of the way of other people, and while I was taking a sit break.

After about an hour of walking around and not being able to actually enjoy most of the displays, I decided that I was just going to shop and leave. This way I’d miss the evening commuters on the way home. I stopped at the flower show’s official booth and picked up a couple of cute plants and some very reasonably priced quartz points. (They know their audience.)

peony's envy
And the award for best business name ever goes to….

I tried to shop at other booths; I was in the market for seeds to plant this spring and of course, more houseplants. You already know what happened: there were too fucking many people! It seemed like most people weren’t even buying anything. It would have been nice if the lookie-loos would’ve kept moving. I really wanted to buy a marimo, but there were two rows of people admiring them. I stood in line to pick one out for 3 minutes with no movement, but I didn’t see any single person hand the cashier any money. They were just looking and taking pictures. No marimo for me.

The only redeeming factor of the show (other than the shopping) was the butterfly garden. It costs an extra $5 and was totally worth it. You get a q-tip with sugar water on it, which you offer to a butterfly. If they’re interested, they’ll hop on. I was afraid of irritating the butterflies, so I was shy with my butterfly chow. I wanted the butterflies to want to be; I didn’t want to force a non-consensual feeding upon them. A kind lady covered in butterflies passed me two of hers. If you want the butterflies to be attracted to you, I recommend wearing bright colors and dabbing a little sugar water behind your ears.

All that being said, I’m glad that I went, since I’ve wanted to for so long. But it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get me to ever go again. I’ll just enjoy the pictures on Instagram and wait for spring for my butterfly fix.

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