2012 Garden Show - Best Booth Ever!

T. Mouse: I'm back, I'm back from the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show! And this year, the California Native Plant Society had the best booth ever!

 We arrived early and were just so impressed. Posters, lots of plants, little garden ornaments, small tables with more plants, and of course, a lot of great information. With our 10-12 shift, we had lots of opportunity to meet people, and everyone liked our display and took a few handouts.

Mr. Mouse: I see. Well, you certainly seemed enthusiastic and excited when you left.

T. Mouse: Yes, and it really was a fun event all around! After 2 hours of volunteering, we were looking forward to a nice little lunch. This year, the show was featuring Chefs at the Show on one of the stages, so we had high hopes for a nice lunch with fresh vegetables, maybe a little artisan cheese and some fresh bread... But alas, just like last year, we were in Americana Food Stand Land. Garlic Fries, BarBQ sausage, BarBQ tri-tip, BarBQ ribs, and...

Mr. Mouse: Wait, that sounds delicious!

T. Mouse: Oh Mr. Mouse, a mouse should not devour our fellow creatures. A mouse eats cheese, grains, maybe the odd vegetable.

Mr. Mouse: Not me! And besides, there were those garlic fries.

T. Mouse: Oh, never mind. Having to pass on the meatball soup and the chili, we finally settled on a fairly expensive falafel wrap. It was quite palatable and fortified us for the important part of our visit.

Mr. Mouse: Shopping, I expect.

T. Mouse: Oh, how could you say that. Of course we visited the gardens first. And there was much to admire. We enjoyed Urban Habitat, above, which feature colorful graffity, a tumbled glass "stream" with artful little fish, and a mix of native and other drought tolerant plants including tree ceanothus.

Natives were used in a lot of spaces, including La Vie en Vert, which featured a huge golden current (Ribes Aureum)

And "Dynamic Reflections," which included interesting stacked stone walls that surrounded urns and other art, and a wildflower meadow.

Mr. Mouse: So, you liked the gardens?

T. Mouse: Interesting question. Generally, I think the garden show at its best is like a fashion show. Trendy. Breathtaking. A little over the top. Some years, I feel like:"What do these gardens have to do with my life? I won't have an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, or a 30 foot succulent square." But this year, it was almost the opposite. The gardens were a little too nice, maybe.

It's like when the clothes you see are too wearable. They were a little boring. Nice, but mostly a little to staid.

Mr. Mouse: Yeah, I know you like weird.

T. Mouse: Indeed I do, and we were not completely disappointed. The Darjit garden, which featured a Dragon, a green wall, a climbable tree-house thing. Here's the dragon.

I thought the garden had a lot of fun ideas for kids, and this Darjit stuff seemed to do things that Hypertufa doesn't do.

Mr. Mouse: Still looks fairly conventional to me.

T. Mouse: You are right. The one garden that was truly over the top, both literally and metaphorically, was Savannah!, designed and implemented by John Greenlee & Associated and implemented with the help of Suncrest Nurseries, a sound designer, a sculptor, and a lighting artist.

It consisted of about thirty different grasses and several different bamboos and several palms quite a few of them about 20 feet tall. You walked along a path to be greeted by strange sounds while completely enveloped by the grasses. Then you came across ...

Snakes? Plants? No, these were wooden sculptures by Marcia Donahue. Totally amazing.

I loved the richness of the textures, the colors of this garden, and the creative use of plants from different part of the world.

And would you believe it, they were raffling of that garden. All the plants, and the design services to make it fit the winner's garden space.

Mr. Mouse: Oh no, you didn't!

T. Mouse: You are right. I just couldn't imagine this rather free interpretation of the savannah concept under out redwoods, so I did not enter the raffle. Probably would have been that one time where I would have won.

Instead, I used all that money I saved on raffle tickets to go shopping with Ms. Country Mouse.

Mr. Mouse: Mmmm. Do tell. You saved a lot of money?

T. Mouse: Yes! I saved a lot of money at Annie's Annuals, and then I spent some of the money I saved at Gold Rush Nursery. We had a little trouble getting it all back to the car, but we managed. And everything we bought easily fit into the car.

Mr. Mouse: Well, I'm happy you had a nice time. Now let's hope next weekend you'll find some time cleaning up the garden at home. Less than a month until Going Native Garden Tour!


Haddock said…
Those wooden sculptures look great.
ryan said…
Sounds like you had fun at the show. We seem to have had similar thoughts about the gardens. I had that same thought about the Darjit garden with the dragon sculpture, that it was sort of a throwback to the Cow Palace days of over the top gardens but at the same time it wasn't really all that over the top. I think the San Mateo space just makes everything kind of feel more low key.
Sounds like you had fun! Sorry I missed it this year, but there's always next year. I know what you mean about the gardens being over the top. I often laugh at the contrived native gardens. For me, if they're native, they deserve to look a little more 'relaxed' that they tend to be at these shows. I'm still trying to imagine where on earth I could put a dragon in the garden though :P Hope to see you at the GNGT!
chuck b. said…
I didn't make it this year. I usually enjoy the talks more than the gardens, but that 30' succulent cube from a couple years ago, complete with water-filled moat was to-die-for!