03/06/2012 07:25 am ET Updated May 06, 2012

Visiting The 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show (VIDEO)

Remember that intense episode during Downton Abbey Season One when Lady Violet and Cousin Isobel faced off at the local flower show? Well this is like that on steroids.

Yes, the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show is up and running all this week, having thrown open its leafy and petal-plumed doors this past Sunday. The nation's largest and oldest indoor flower show (dating from 1829) is a huge extravaganza for the horticulture community, annually attracting over 250,000 visitors to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It's like the Westminster Dog Show meets the Tournament of Roses Parade crossed with a huge trade show and shopping spree for flower people. And who doesn't like flowers?

This year's theme for the show is "Hawaii: Islands of Aloha," with exhibitors and displays going full-throttle with their tributes to the tropical vibe. There's a 25-feet-high waterfall, and as you wander through exhibits you'll find lagoons, surf shacks, lots of palms and extreme blooms galore. Visitors enter the show via a vast overhanging canopy that mimics a wavy, underwater experience via overhead projections and sounds. Once inside, bump along to hula peformances, music and light shows, and of course, thousands and thousands of flowers and blooms.

Fans of veggies can get gardening tips (or just ogle the 9-feet-by-40-feet wall of lettuce), buy seeds and herbs, and chat with top-notch gardeners.


There will be blooms: A peek inside the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show

Flower Show participants range from landscape designers and florists from all over to school groups, garden clubs and horticulture organizations with the big beneficiary of the event being its host, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. And yes, as an appeal to male visitors, the Flower Show was launched a special sanctum this year called the "Man Cave" where guests can sip beer, nosh on BBQ and fries, watch sports on big flatscreens, kick back in custom recliners, or get into some video gaming action.

There are theme nights (Monday, March 5 is LGBT Night; "Wedding Wednesday" comes on the evening of March 7, and Thursday, March 8 is "Girls' Night Out") and celebs like Bethenny Frankel and "Real Housewife of New Jersey" Melissa Gorga will be on hand for special events, too.

Shop, eat, ogle, stroll, scheme up gardening and landscaping ideas... You can get your serious flower jones sated bigtime.

The Philadelphia International Flower Show runs from March 4-11, open daily. Get the full run-down on hours, admission, directions and all basic info at

Sign up for our email.
Find out how much you really know about the state of the nation.