Oh, call me Ms. Grumpy Mouse

Mr. Mouse: You haven't told me much about this year's Flower and Garden show. So, how was it?
Town Mouse: Truth be told, I thought it was a bit of a mixed bag. We came in to see the much praised "living room" with the succulent walls, and it looked like a large fabric wall hanging to me, except unfortunately they'd used some innocent plants to get that effect. Green roofs I get. Cooling, great for birds, all that. Green walls? I have trouble with that.

Mr. Mouse: Now now. you're being grumpy. Wasn't there something you liked?
Town Mouse: Both Country Mouse and I liked the colorful red snake garden. I enjoyed the attention to detail, even the plant signs had been made of concrete and hand painted.

The pots were fun, and there was a "fence" made of spades.

Mr. Mouse: That sounds like fun! 
Town Mouse: Yes, it was. I actually think this garden would have benefited by combining simple grasses or succulents with the colorful concrete surroundings. I loved it, but it was a bit like wearing a pair of red and pink plaid pants with a red and pink striped sweater. Those pants would be better with a black sweater.
Mr. Mouse: And the other gardens?
Town Mouse: For my taste, many of the other gardens were too orderly. A huge outdoor kitchen. Decks with chairs or chaises and water features. And the inevitable plants in rows syndrome that garden design currently suffers from. I actually liked the not-so-popular dinosaur garden and the garden with the treehouse. At least there were some plants there!
Mr. Mouse: Mmmm. Yes, we know you like plants. 
Town Mouse: Actually, I also very much liked the Sproutopia gardens. Look at this, not just one dinosaur but 3. 

It really was well done, the photo doesn't do it justice. I did wonder whether the kids copied the display garden or the other way around. Here, look at this other one. 

Now that's a tree house! And nice use of plants as well. And here we have the low water garden. See the California poppies they made?

And here, look at this one. Now that's how you should treat a succulent. 

Reminded me of that stunning undersea garden they had at the show years ago. That garden was clever and beautiful. And I still remember the exhibit the Bromeliad Society had at that time -- plants galore. By the way, I also liked that Sproutopia was pretty much away from the vendors. 
Mr. Mouse: The vendors? 
Town Mouse: Yes, this year there were fewer gardens with fewer plants and a lot more vendors, also with fewer plants. The display gardens were surrounded with vendors. Clothes, tools, garden ornaments, Egyptian cotton sheets...
Mr. Mouse: Wait, I thought this was a flower and garden show. Egyptian cotton sheets? 
Town Mouse: You heard correctly. Also luggage. But unfortunately no water lillies. I had also had my hopes up for that horticultural vinegar to kill my dandelions with, but no luck. 
Mr. Mouse: But I did see you sneak in a plant. 
Town Mouse: Well, yes. But there really were fewer plant vendors. Lots of orchids and some Japanese maples, and a few vendors that had some natives, so I had to support them, don't you think? 
Mr. Mouse: Why of course. You went to volunteer at the CNPS booth anyway. 
Town Mouse: And that was really a lot of fun! The booth was fabulous, lots of plants, books, and posters, lots of people interested in plant sales, garden tours, and more information on natives. We really enjoyed ourselves! 
Mr. Mouse: That sounds much better. I was ready to call you Ms. Grumpy Mouse, but maybe things weren't so bad. And of course I'm glad you didn't buy so many plants. 
Town Mouse: Mmmmm. Well, you'll find out eventually anyway. When I got home, I went online and ordered a few things from Annie's Annuals. It makes most sense to order them in groups of 4, because of how they ship, so I ordered 12. And I also ordered a gallon of that vinegar from North Coast Gardening's online shop.
Mr. Mouse: You did? Well, I expect it was cheaper than Egyptian Cotton sheets.
Town Mouse: Yes, and they're all natives. You'll love them, I'm sure!


Anonymous said…
I like the look of green walls, but I do tend to be put off by the maintenance that I imagine must be required keep them alive. On the one hand I think of all the natives that commonly do grow on vertical cliff faces and it starts to seem sensible to install green walls; but on the other hand, then I remember that my garden is not a vertical cliff face and does not receive the weather of those vertical cliff faces. I'm torn. Someday, I suppose, when I feel up to risking total failure, I might attempt to create a green wall from coyote mint and monkeyflowers and those sorts of natives.
Anonymous said…
That conversation had me giggling over here! It seems garden shows have some things in common the world over, including too many people selling things not entirely relevant to the show (although I don't remember seeing Egyptian sheets in Melbourne!)
Is the green wall alive, or more of an arrangement of cut plants? I've seen some pictures of living walls, but they were more freeform than that one!
Sandy said…
I love going to garden shows, and the SFGS was one I would have liked to have attended. Maybe next year! To me, most garden show displays are works of art and while fun to look at, are maybe not something for most "real" gardens. Or mine, anyway! My daughter lives in Sonoma, maybe next year I'll visit her and get to go to the show in person!
Christine said…
Glad to know I'm not the only grumpy one! While I'm ecstatic that the show happened at all, I love going over the details and critiquing it. Sheets? I saw kitchen knives and was pretty annoyed. I guess they have to fund this thing somehow! Can't wait to see that Annie's order dancing in your garden!
Gail said…
Call me grumpy, too. At our own Lawn and Garden Show...There was too much emphasis on outdoor rooms with their tumbled concrete pavers, massive kitchens and big expensive furniture...Outdoor rooms in nashville don't make sense, after April the mosquitoes are too awful to step outside at night!

I would love to have a small living wall hanging on an ugly brick wall in my garden...and a roof garden, and....!!

I love Annie's but shipping to TN is very high! All natives...how wonderful and exciting.

Country Mouse said…
Town Mouse and I had a different reaction to the living walls. I rather liked them. One booth featured indoor living wall displays, the main example being very attractive as decor. They can spread their roots along the plane of the hanging. I do agree that they're a novelty, though. They require special fittings etc, nutrients in the water, and grooming - but charming? I certainly thought so. I would imagine they take less maintenance than an aquarium. I bet corporations with lavish lobbies will be jumping on this trend. It's probably not for me, but I think it could be an engaging hobby project. It would be nice to see one that's been in existence for over a year is doing.
I think flower shows are always a mixed bag... they're kind of trying to "push the envelope," so you're bound to like some things and not others. I have my own pet peeves, trust me! I personally do happen to like green walls; it's a legitimate cooling technique and a great way to make cities look less urban and more green. I saw a lecture on it maybe 2 years ago, but have yet to see a green wall in person. Happy Easter!
ryan said…
I liked the dinosaur garden, too. My photographs were strange colors from the strange lighting for it. I thought it was pretty cool though, with some interesting plants. I did appreciate that the Sproutopia garden had more dinosaurs, though.
I think the Keeyla Meadows garden suffered from the lighting, like maybe the dinosaur garden. Colors change under those lights, and I think hers might have looked better outdoors. I agree it needed some grasses. I see a lot of her gardens around Berkeley, and they use grasses like you're talking about.
Kaveh said…
So happy to hear there is someone else that isn't a fan of the living wall fad.
I agree with you on green walls, at least in dryland California. My guess is that in our climate these are way less green than not having a green wall at all. Just think of the water and mechanical resources it takes to keep them going. If there's any good use whatsoever for that egregious plastic turf, then a California green wall might be it, with big ironic quotation marks placed around it of course.
Anonymous said…
You weren't keen on the Jazz garden? I absolutely loved that one! Made me want to get a few hellebore plants, and put string of pearls plants in unusual places...