Saul students make the Philly-Paris connection

As the official opening of the Philadelphia Flower Show approaches, hundreds of exhibitors are scrambling throughout the Pennsylvania Convention Center floor — watering flowers, scooping dirt, climbing wooden structures and adding the finishing touches to their displays.

Over by the educational division, a group of anxious students from Roxborough’s W.B. Saul High School joke with their teachers as they add fresh flowers to a line of mulch.

The elaborate display, created by students in the school’s landscape design, landscape construction and greenhouse classes, aims to connect the two cities of Philadelphia and Paris.

The idea stems from the theme of this year’s flower show: Springtime in Paris.

On one side of the exhibit, eyes are drawn to a 13-foot tall wooden representation of the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument in France. The other side features a large screen photo of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Connecting the two city landmarks is the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, lined with colorful shrubs, trees, perennials, azaleas and pansies. The students chose the Parkway as a connector because of its similarities to the Champs Elysees in Paris.

The students from the magnet school have dedicated the last couple of days to painting the arch, finishing up on the electrical work, adding plants and flowers, and erecting the art museum scrim.

The school’s landscape design teacher, Barbara Brown, said the group plans to work until the very last possible minute on the Convention Center floor. 

“We’re making progress, but we have a lot left to do,” said Brown. 

Nabria Dantzler, a junior in Brown’s Landscape Design class, says being involved in this project makes her feel important. She hopes the exhibit opens people’s eyes about the connections between the two cities.

The Philadelphia Flower Show runs from Mar. 6 to Mar. 13 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Tickets range from $15 to $30. 

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