We mice volunteer, explore - the SF Flower and Garden Show

So - here is our report from the SF Flower and Garden Show. The 2013 theme is "Gardens make the world go round." We volunteered in the CNPS booth (see end of post) and visited the gardens and vendors for a fun day out.

And yet -- less garden fun than last year. It being the afternoon of the last day when we visited, maybe some things were gone already? The gardens were not so many or so varied or so spectacular.

"Wanted Weeds" -- NOO! Don't Do It! English Ivy in California is BAAAAD!!!

Now -- What's with this weeds display by Urban Hedgerow?? People praising weeds - ye gods! I'm doing such battle with them I'm almost spluttering in protest! I mean, supporting the underdog is one thing, but weeds that take over your yard are hardly that. Well, it was supposed to be a thought-stimulating exhibition. The featured country was "England." Hah! Those sasenachs!

(Did not catch the name of this exhibit)

Succulents in tubes - we differed in our opinion of this one. I quite liked the ability to create different sorts of walls with succulents this way. Ms T. Mouse was not so impressed.

“Harmonious Visions” - Town Mouse cocks her ears in puzzlement

Ms Town liked the Academy of Arts University installation more than I. I just didn't get it I guess. It was a two roomed Chinese inspired "yin/yang" type of garden. I thought it would be more at home in SF MOMA, but what the hay. We were both baffled by what kept the suspended rocks in constant motion.

Showing the other of the two rooms - plants in burlap bags hanging upside down over mirrors that looked like pools of water.

Our favorite garden was by Mariposa Designs and Greenlee Associates - John Greenlee the Meadow guy. I do so hope he pays attention to invasiveness of grasses. He got quite heated last year when we asked him that question. And yet -- we all can bend the truth to suit our ends, and his ends are so truly lovely - the low and soft grasses feathering against the marvelous stone work. A few shots below...

"Glade" exhibition garden - inspired by Ireland

(Does the above remind you of Andy Goldsworthy?)

(I WANT to do this!)

Then there is whimsy. I am a sucker for whimsy as in the below doggie.

Country Mouse and Recycled Mouse

Above -- me with a bit of mouse whimsy, and a cute cow in the corner. I'd really like something like the cow made of an oil can in my garden.

The big thing this year was this succulent globe but it didn't really do much for me.

And overall, the place felt less than half filled with exhibitors. What happened to them?

We mice love to visit the children's miniature garden area - and this year our favorite was...

Here it is:

A Weird Lighthouse in The Weird Sea

But of course our raison d'etre at the show at all was to volunteer in the California Native Plant Society booth for a two hour stint - and later to help Ellen pack up and get home to a well deserved rest (I hope).

Ellen center helping a new member sign up.
Each year I detect an uptick in interest and this year was no different. Native plant gardening is now much more of a mainstream interest - which is a very good thing!

Us mice -- Country on the left, Town on the right. Like the honkin' great loppers I bought at the show!?

The redoubtable Ellen Edelson of the Yerba Buena chapter deserves homages, encomiums, and sainthood at least. She works the entire show ceaselessly and with tremendous attention to detail and enthusiasm for bringing in new people to CNPS and giving out information to all comers. And she's a lovely person besides.


Jason said…
I really hope you bought one of those recycled mice. Could be your blog mascot!
Town Mouse said…
Yeah for us! The volunteering was great, and it was fun that so many people stopped by. As for the show, I looked at the list of talks and realized half of them were about cooking - what's with that? And why were Garlic Fries the mainstay of the food to be had?

Hope the show will be able to keep going, I think the movement toward cooking was a bad idea.
Kalantikan said…
Hi glad to meet the two mice in person, haha! Garden shows are very attractive for me too, i never fail to be in the shows near us here. In yours i love those succulents in pipes, but am scared that they might roll. About the globe succulents, i wonder they were able to make it really work, i wish you had a close-up of a portion. It is spectacular and ...laborious.
ryan said…
Nice report. Good work manning the native plant booth. I didn't get a chance to see anything other than the show gardens. I think you're right that the Mariposa/Greenlee garden had by far the most garden appeal. I liked a few of the other gardens more than you seemed to have, and definitely I liked the succulent globe. It made me smile every time I saw South America come around.
NellJean said…
Yay for Volunteering and native plants. Boo for 'weeds' -- . I was on dandelion patrol today.

I would like to see more garden shows that feature innovative displays that the average visitor could do or afford.

I was thinkng today that many things we're seeing on the net are like evening gowns -- wonderful to behold but hardly practical everyday wear for most of us.
Country Mouse said…
Ryan, I think on another day I might have responded differently - we didn't have that much time for seeing the gardens, and also, when I looked at the show web site descriptions - I felt I didn't see all the gardens listed either. NellJean - I think some years they do have more doable ideas. But the vendor booths had realistic pricing on tools! Jason, we didn't get those mice! Shoulda maybe. Our blog mice mascots are about 2 inches tall.
Thanks for dropping in, Kalantikan - I tried for a closeup on the globe but the photo didn't turn out so well.
Chandramouli S said…
Whoa! Sounds like fun! I've never been to a garden show/exhibition :(
I love that GREEN earth!