On this cold winter day in New Jersey, imagine being in a rainforest.  Instead of piles of snow, you're surrounded by lush greens and vivid colors as you hear rainfall and tropical birds.  You can experience those sights and sounds for real if you go to the Philadelphia Flower Show.

This year's theme is The Wonders of Water showcasing the way in which water gives life to horticulture.  I saw a huge variety of plants and flowers; beautiful orchids and flowering vines, and gorgeous desert blooms.  I never realized how pretty cactus flowers could be!

I like discovering new things at this show.  For example, I learned that there's a type of cactus that has a wooly or hairy covering.  And there's a plant that has beautiful triangular purple leaves that look like butterflies.  The Flower Show also inspires me.  I like to see the art that students create when given the same random materials to work with.  Each creation is so different from the next.  And if you go, I think you'll be amazed at the pictures people created using plant materials.  Some of them were so detailed, they looked like actual landscape paintings!  Very impressive!

The Flower Show runs tonight until 9pm, tomorrow until 9 and then Sunday until 5pm.  If you go, you'll see some very familiar images as you walk through the Philadelphia Convention Center.  Big tables and signs promoting the Jersey Shore greet you on both sides of the hallway.  You can pick up brochures and booklets about all kinds of things going on in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, as well as places like Cape May and Atlantic City.

If you'd like an early taste of spring, surrounded by flowers; you might want to make the short drive to Philly.  I have one piece of advice, though.  Wear comfortable shoes because the place is huge.  There's a lot of walking involved if you want to see all there is to see.  It's not only the beautiful displays, but also a whole vendor area where you can buy real plants, flowers, and garden decor and supplies, as well as flower-themed jewelry and accessories.

Have you ever been to the Philadelphia Flower Show?