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» Force of nature: Center City will be in full bloom once again when the Philadelphia Flower Show sets up shop in the Pennsylvania Convention Center March 1-8. This year’s “Bella Italia” theme promises much in the way of multisensory stimulation (see Main Events). Be sure to set aside time for a few of the hundreds of free, informative how-to demonstrations and lectures held throughout the week.

Kicking things off March 1 is P. Allen Smith, an award-winning garden designer and host of PBS’ P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home. In two presentations, Smith will offer ideas and inspiration for gardeners of all skill levels. Also that day, acclaimed Smith & Hawken garden designer Rebecca Cole will provide tips on creating your dream garden.

And don’t miss appearances by George Ball, president of Burpee Seeds, founded in Philadelphia in 1876 and still the largest seed company in America; Sharon White, author of Vanished Gardens; and Open Spaces, Sacred Places’ Tom Stoner.

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia; (215) 988-8899, theflowershow.com.

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