For Grown-ups Or-chids

An all-ages flower show

THU 2/19 We were old pros at planting banana trees in Costa Rica, but when we tried harvesting the fruit in our Palm Beach County backyard, the tree took on the brownish pallor and limp posture of a stalk of hay. For advice, we turned to the Horticultural Society of South Florida, where Executive Director Dave Murbach cheerily helped us administer a few lifesaving techniques (like, uh, giving the plant a lot more water). It is in this spirit of propagating knowledge that the Society brings us the Palm Beach Tropical Flower and Garden Show, the largest event of its sort in the world. Now in its tenth year, it showcases 25,000 square feet of gardens, 130 vendors selling everything from teak furniture to garden trowels, and a butterfly garden. At a designated kids' area, children can plant seeds in takeaway cups. Cooking demonstrations happen every half hour, and the Gene Mattis Orchestra plays swing music on the Meyer Amphitheatre stage. The tropical drink station makes it oh-so-much easier to digest all the botanical information you collect, and the Mai Tais taste better once you know how their cherry and orange garnishes are grown. The show takes place along the Intracoastal Waterway on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach. It runs Thursday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 561-655-5522 or visit the website, www.palmbeachflowershow.org

Close Call

Live large; paint large

SAT 2/21 Painter Chuck Close wasn't always revered on the art scene. Remember in 1961, when he cut up American flags and sewed them into the shape of a mushroom cloud? Yeah, that didn't go over so well. And remember in 1967, when he included a drawing of Bob Dylan exposing himself in his solo exhibition? Campus police at the University of Massachusetts dismantled that thing right quick. Nowadays, though, we're used to his large-scale (we're talkin' nine-foot tall) "mug shots" of famous figures and fellow artists, and he's just the "mayor of Soho" to us. See how he went from exile to establishment in the film Chuck Close, A Portrait in Progress, which shows at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton) at 3 p.m. It's free with museum admission. Call 561-392-2500. --Deirdra Funcheon

 
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