Farewell to the Flower Show

I first exhibited in the Miniature Setting class at the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2011. Since then I have exhibited each year (winning First Place and Best of Show twice) and for the past two years I have been Vice-Chair of Miniature Settings. As Vice Chair, I expanded this blog (the only extensive coverage of Miniature Settings), created a miniature plant database, organized all the information exhibitors needed in a handy and informative brochure (updated each year), taught workshops at our annual gathering, created signage for our exhibits, represented Miniature Settings at Flower Show Committee meetings, and spent 10 days each year at the Flower Show preparing for and supporting the exhibitors. This year I also arranged for a loan of film posters from the Bryn Mawr Film Institute which enhanced the miniature movie scenes. I have also been working on a history of Miniature Settings at the Flower Show going back several decades. The next step was for me to become Chair of Miniature Settings which I was scheduled to do at the end of the 2015 show.

During the 2015 show I had lined up a nearly full set of exhibitors for the next year and had organized these experienced miniature artisans into two groups based on the National Park (the theme for next year’s Flower Show) they wanted to replicate in miniature. When I submitted this list to the Flower Show, however, I was informed that for the next year the exhibitors would be chosen based on who had sent in their application form first. This exhibit-by-postmark approach guaranteed places to non-miniaturists who got their applications in early, without any discussion with me or any indication that the swift applicants had experience working with miniatures.

I felt this approach undermined the work in building the quality of Miniature Settings that Ron Hoess (the Chair) and I had worked on for years. It also cut off my future plan to create teams consisting of a miniaturist and a horticulturalist who could each bring their strengths to an exhibit. Obviously my belief that this would create better exhibits was not shared by PHS which insists that running to the post office is the best indication of who can create a quality Miniature Setting. Experience, as one supporter of this postmark approach indicated, should not be the criteria for selection.

So I have decided not to continue as Chair of Miniature Settings at the Philadelphia Flower Show. My love of miniatures and miniature gardening and my deep appreciation for the people who can create fine quality Miniature Settings is not being respected by those at PHS who have initiated this odd and unfortunate selection procedure.

I have decided to continue this blog as a way to share the instructional material that so many have found useful and that have used past Miniature Settings to demonstrate production techniques. This blog is the only documentation of the last decade of Miniature Settings entries in the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Thanks to all who have visited and I hope you enjoyed this coverage of the Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Settings.


  1. The quality of the exhibits has increased dramatically
    I am saddened to learn of the new first come entry idea
    I guess there will be no long lines at the show next year!

  2. Thanks so much for explaining the process. It seems that no matter how fast you get your application in, there should be some sort of a vetting process as it really takes a special type of skill in creating these masterpieces. I am sorry it worked out that way for you. I featured some of the latest creations on my blog, The Garden Diaries, and always look forward to seeing the miniature settings. It is an art and takes experience and skill. Again, I am sorry and hope that you continue working with miniatures in some way.

  3. Dear Louise,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog ever since Katy Hoess introduced me to it. I am always in awe of the skill, talent and creativity displayed by you and other miniaturists and I echo the comments of others regarding the unfortunate change to the application process for future Flower Show Miniature Settings. I look forward to reading more about miniature settings as you continue to blog your ideas and activities. Best wishes and have fun in all you do!
    Lil Koster

  4. So sorry to learn of your decision. Your creativity is phenomenal.

  5. Boy, talk about being dumb! They really don’t know what the heck they’re doing!! You worked so hard and did so much good! Maybe they’ll wise up after this year when it’ll be a mess!! In any event, you did wonderful work!!:)

  6. I am sorry to see PHS go in this direction. Since I have heard that some flower show persons do not like the miniatures and do not consider them to be real gardening, I suspect this is PHS’ way of reducing the quality of the miniatures with the object of eventually discontinuing them. I will be letting them know that my membership depends on the quality of the miniatures. To me, if there are no miniatures, what’s the point.

    • Thanks for your support. I am curious about those people who don’t think the Miniature Settings are legitimate gardens. I had 41 different species of live plants in my Rear Window garden this year, all of them nurtured over the past year by me. That’s more plants than most of the other displays there. We have to plant and maintain our mini gardens for 10 days in harsh conditions. Now that’s gardening!

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