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Loiza Comes To Philadelphia


February 27, 2003
Copyright © 2003
THE NEW YORK TIMES. All rights reserved. 

NOW-WEARY and plant-hungry? Plunge into spring on Sunday at the Philadelphia Flower Show's "Festival de las Flores." The theme this year is definitely tropical, with orchids, hibiscus, gardenias, banana plants, elephant ears and bougainvilleas spilling into a town square modeled after Loiza, Puerto Rico.

The theme celebrates not only Loiza, but also the many Hispanic residents of Philadelphia, and was inspired by one of them, Iris Brown, a gardener in Norris Square.

In the show's "town square" there will be bomba dancing, and guest performances by the percussionist William Cepeda, who hails from Loiza. Nearby, watch out for dusky-leaved taros, like Jet Black and Illustris, a dark purple with green veins, said John Story, the manager of Meadowbrook Farm, in Meadowbrook, Pa., which is growing plants for more than 40 exhibitors this year. In addition, there are about 10 acres of other exhibits, many with a Hispanic theme, and 3,000 entries from amateurs. (At the Pennsylvania Convention Center, through March 9. Information on ticket prices, hours, special lectures and events is available from 215-988-8899 or   

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