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.


Kate said...

Flowers win hands down ... the daffodils, primroses and ranunculus are gorgeous and aren't in need of having a bambi statue or a pickup to complete them.

The pictures tell the story, don't they?

Carol said...

I skipped our local "flower and patio show". Too patio, not enough flowers. I'll pick a flower show ANY day over the "pay to shop" garden shows. Ours is almost like a garage sale with all the stuff they try to sell you.

Rosengeranium said...

Hm, I'm afraid garden fairs is the only thing available within my reach (Uppsala, Sweden), but I do agree on the trend to water down the gardening part of the show. I'll visit the Garden Fair in Stockholm this weekend, it'll be interesting to see the ratios there.

Julie said...

Neat post!

What's that huge pinkie in bloom at top?

All good wishes,

EAL said...

No label, but I'm guessing an amaranth. They grow many from seed there. The foliage and flower form look right.

Good luck asking anyone there. I couldn't find anyone. The botanists and gardeners hide in the back when visitors are around.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

"Bambi" would have turned me right around and out the door I would have gone! (Especially if the truck was the next thing I saw.) Garden snob today, aren't I?!

Glickster said...

For more about Primulas:

LostRoses said...

I agree that the garden and patio shows are ho-hum, just not enough flowers and too many vendors. How many animated Bambis did you buy? *big grin*

EAL said...

I bought 3, plus a squirrel and a raccoon. I'm so happy.

lisa said...

I agree, too...I skipped the Green Bay Home and Garden Show-last thing I need is more crap to buy. Just show me cool new cultivars and teach me something I don't know...I have enough real Bambi's already!

Apple said...

I attended my 1st Garden Show this year in Syracuse. They used a Jeep filled with beer for their water feature. I was quite disappointed with the show overall. I'll stick to garden tours from now on; real gardens with real ideas!