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Philadelphia Civic Center In Bloom For Flower Show

March 10, 1986

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A horticultural tribute to Elvis Presley and a 400-year-old miniature Japanese tree are drawing crowds to the seven-day run of the annual Philadelphia Flower Show.

Landscapes using hundreds of thousands of flowers from growing zones around the world are on display in the show, which is billed as the world’s oldest and largest indoor flower extravaganza.

About 20,000 to 30,000 people browsed through the show Sunday, and a quarter of a million spectators were expected before the show closes next Sunday, said Lisa Stephano, a member of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, which is sponsoring the show.

″People are always amazed when they come into this show, really swept away,″ Ms. Stephano said. ″It’s an exciting thing to hear lots of oohs and ahhs from people as they come down the escalators.″

Covering five acres on the main exhibition floor of the Civic Center, the show has 50 major landscapes that depict All-American scenarios for this year’s theme of ″Hometown U.S.A.″

″All the flowers are forced into bloom for the show ... and it’s like a magical kingdom in here,″ Ms. Stephano said.

The landscapes, along with about 1,500 small garden club and individuals’ displays, were in competition for awards from the horticultural society.

The Best of Show award went to a display called Christine’s Garden, a garden seen from a child’s point of view with multi-colored flowers, a miniature playhouse and a shrubbery maze. The setting, which uses 42 species and varieties of flowers totaling 4,200 plants, also has bronze sculptures of children playing around a maypole.

The Elvis Presley display is part of the ″Sea to Shining Sea″ landscape and features a mannequin clothed in one of the singer’s original outfits amid orange and gold flowers.

The Japanese tree is a rare variety known as a bonsai tree, Ms. Stephano said. Although it is more than 400 years old, its growth has been stunted for a young tree effect, she said.

Another display features a simulated Hawaiian beach, complete with 20-foot- high waterfalls and a computerized thunderstorm every half hour.

″We have everybody here ... the part-time gardener, the person who likes to look at plants wouldn’t dare buy one - everyone,″ said Ms. Stephano.

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