Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Garden shows vs. flower shows
It's not even a contest as far as I'm concerned. Flower shows win, by several million miles. They tend to be unpolluted by vile horticultural commerce, presenting the flowers themselves, en masse and in as many varieties as possible. There are intersections of course. Garden shows often use spring flowers—tulips, hyacinths, azaleas, and daffodils—as their chosen plant material because those are the plants most available at this time of year, when the shows are held. And flower shows sometimes have a design element, though usually it's as simple as grouping color and cultivars in effective combinations.
This year, the contrast between the Botanical Gardens spring flower show and Plantasia, our yearly garden and landscape show, was dramatic. As usual, I walked into Plantasia to find the vendors on one side and the landscapers on the other and a truly horrendous stench of some kind of fertilizer or compost. You wouldn't think the plants would need all that just to get them through 4 days. See how disturbed Bambi looks? (He's animated, just as you hoped he would be.)
Vehicles are big in garden shows this year; they appeared in both San Francisco's and Rochester's. Ours is a blue pick-up; the tailgate has been modified to be a water feature.
The kids' garden in the back was thankfully segregated from the rest and was redolent of pine. Garden Walk has a booth there; we did very well with the book.
I've yet to see the Botanical Gardens' entire spring flower show, as the tulips aren't close to being up yet—mine outside are almost as advanced. Actually, that's the cool thing about this type of exhibit; it transforms itself from week to week. And there are plenty of reserves to bring out when the current flowers are done.
The selection of primroses and ranunculous was particularly good.
I'm looking forward to checking out their tulip hybrids; maybe they'll even have some species, though I'm not optimistic. Maybe if the Gardens would lead the way in displaying more unusual species, hybrids, even native spring bulbs, consumers would seek them out. Or not.