Sweet morning sun, ready to go...
Our local garden show is nothing compared to shows in San Francisco, Philadelphia, of course, or the famous Chelsea show in the UK, but I look forward to it every year. I park in the same area, walk up the same ramp to the same local shopping center where the show is held, and note the same Bougainvillea growing on the entrance ramp. This year, it looks particularly good:
There were less display gardens even than last year, only six, I think. This first one was very good. You could see it actually installed in someone's yard, and be functional and attractive--quite rare and wonderful a thing as garden show displays go.
Classic ideas like uplit pots always seem to work beautifully. Plants were used that actually work in a garden--no mixing of Hostas with Opuntias here. Well done!
This next display was...well, it just wasn't interesting at all. Is that thing a fire pit right at toddler height?
Another garden was sort of a spiral path into a pond. That part was cool.
I thought the chair was ugly, though. Could anyone but a cat take a nap in that? It's that thing on the left that looks like a clump of wire.
It was hanging from a cool metal thing-y, though. A metal thing-y too wide for blogger's narrow format, so I present it to you sideways.
The OCC student display was well done except for the focal point, a really ugly globe right in the middle of the thing. This display was intended to be a touch-feel-fragrance garden for visually impaired children. The globe was textured and meant to be touched, and truly intended for the visually impaired, because if you could see it, you would hate it. There were fuzzy plants, and fragrance, and such like. I love Kalanchoe beharensis, but wonder how it would hold up to a kindergarten class.
There was another display that wasn't worth photographing, and another I found so irksome I didn't photograph it. This last was labeled as "a healing garden". I suppose "healing gardens" are one of this year's trends, and they make me roll my eyes. I want to be like Cher in "Moonstruck" when she slapped Nicholas Cage and said "Snap out of it!" What is the point of a "healing garden"? Why do Americans think they need to be healed? Healed of what? The American obsession with drugs, with the expectation that one can swallow a pill (or in this case, a plant) and be cured of something--ridiculous. Every garden is a healing garden. A "healing garden" is for trendy people who don't garden. But...back to the display. Low walls of cinder block that created planters, and there were various "healing" plants in the planters. Worst trend of the year. Snap out of it! Other trends: Succulents are peaking. Trendies are due to get bored with them next year, I think. Orchids are long past trend--a lot less vendors than last year.
Something bad, something good. Bad: this garden bench. Yecch!
Nearby, there were also four huge welded/lasered metal sculptures--a leering dragon with pimply skin, a grotesque fish with bulging eyes 9 feet tall--that must have been intended to make small children scream in abject terror (not that there's anything wrong with that). I couldn't bear taking pictures of the sculptures for fear I would have to look at the pictures, so you (and I) are spared.
Good--or clever, anyway--the use of a simple wooden block and a piece of PVC pipe to make an Iris vase for the Iris club show. Cool! I couldn't take an Iris photograph because it was too dark, but the vases were too cool not to shoot.
The seminars--none seemed mandatory. There were less plant vendors than last year. This year...lots and lots of succulents I already have. The guy I bought the Bursera from last year wasn't back this year--bummer. I liked the first one so much I wanted another. One is probably enough, anyway. The Clematis club, which was always mobbed with buyers every year, wasn't there either. No real latest-greatest-new plant introductions that I could see, except perhaps for the Itoh Peonies. Roger's is selling them as well. They claim they will grow and bloom in Southern California. Uh huh. Mmm. Yeah. Okay. Though the 8" (20 cm) peony flowers were without question spectacular:
The nicest part of the show was talking to several people who really really passionately loved plants. That was absolutely lovely. I spoke to the man from B & D Lillies. He gave me a run down about the species of lilllies used for the hybrids they were selling, told me about the Royal Dutch Plant Name Approval Board, a government office in the Netherlands that either approves the name you want to give your hybrid, or does not. Sort of the Supreme Court for plant names. Orienpets are a cross between an oriental lily from Burma and a Trumpet lily from Taiwan, two areas without frost or winter chill: voila, a lily that likes Southern California, provided you water. Mr. B&D said to plant the lilllies with roses. Lillies like the same things roses like. Treat them like roses. How simple and easy is that for instructions? I bought some bulbs, and planted them with roses when I got home. Mr. B&D's affection for lillies was obvious, and his knowledge was vast. Talking to him was a delight.
Then there was the retired couple at the Rose Society table. We had a lot to talk about--why I with 300-some roses don't belong to a rose society, the Rust this year, the Blackspot(!) this year, fragrance, what is this pink rose? And so on. I enthused about the vases the Iris people had for their show, showed Mr. & Mrs. Rose Society the photograph, and we had a talk about that as well. Fun!
Then I talked with a Cactus/Succulent guy from San Diego who sold me an Agave and carried it to my car for me. On the way to the car, we walked by the super-expensive rotating composters for sale (I think they were even equipped with WiFi). Mr C/S from San Diego said, "Those are nice." I replied, "I compost in a garbage can. That way I can afford to buy your Agave." He laughed, and commented about this and that plant and an upcoming San Diego garden tour (tomorrow, sold out) with one of the houses spending vast amounts (tens of thousands of dollars) prepping for the tour. He loved plants. His face lit up talking about how caring for plants, working with them, he was at peace with the world. He, and the Rose people, and the Lily man, and Dustin the designer of the display garden that was actually like a real garden--when they all spoke with such joy about plants--it made my day. If you think about it, a lot of love, labor and effort go into garden plants, not often for much return. The small plant seller works out of love. Today I saw that first hand.
And I got an awesome variegated Agave attenuata...you may now swoon.