The 2013 show featured 17 display gardens ,18 if you count the pointless 'edible garden' display outside the plant market hall.This edible display has been a nicely done feature of the last 3 shows as I recall, and considering the groundswell of interest in the topic I would have expected better than a bunch of plants plopped into some bark mulch with no apparent design and a few concrete gee-gaws scattered about. Thumbs down, a lost opportunity to educate the casual or novice gardener in the practice of growing their own food.
The display gardens in the main hall were noticeably smaller this year... the space between them was nice for strolling and viewing purposes, but ominous for ones confidence in the health of the show.The website touted 20 display gardens and 30 small space gardens ( there were10) . I would speculate that the economy has taken it's toll on these venues and designers need to feel they are getting some sort of return on the investment. One can't blame them , though I hate to see the show taken over by the firms for which plants are an afterthought in the endeavor to sell pricy outdoor kitchens and elaborate hardscapeing .
Another concern was the mystifying claim on the shows' website that the plant market had doubled in size..I'm very attached to the plant market (and who wouldn't be ?) but since the show moved to the San Mateo Event Center the flow has been poor and it is hard to shop in the cramped spaces. I was looking forward to this alleged vast expansion , so that I might wander among the shopping opportunities without being crushed in a sea of determined plant buyers. I can't imagine what led them to make this statement. The footprint seemed identical to last year , and it seemed to me there were less than a handful of new vendors.I'm afraid I can't cite any statistics here..I don't know what the vendor count was last year, nor can I find a record of how many display gardens.
Lest you think I am a total curmudgeon, scowling at the gardens and mumbling critical invective on the 3 hour drive home through rush hour traffic, I am not. I love the show in spite of it's faults. It has become a rite of spring for me over the last 10 plus years , and I will continue to attend and hope that the downward spiral will reverse itself.
Robin Stockwells' succulent globe..impressive !
This garden by Arizona State University was my favorite. Mexico, "Inside Out"
The base of this water feature was made of crushed beer bottles...recycle, repurpose !
The lighting and the painted walls really brought out some Fantasyland colors.
John Greenlee had a nice installation this year, a meadow garden anchored by a layered stone egg.
This garden was designed by the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.. I liked it as an art installation - these balled/burlaped shrubs were in movement swinging gently from their tethers-it was kind of mesmerizing. A good place to go with your sack lunch.
This garden was very appealing to me, it was titled "Wonderland" , and though small it was beautifully proportioned with imaginative containers and some great lighting .
The shadows on the wall here are cast by the plants on the other side..I loved this device ,
as passersby were also seen, thus becoming part of the garden .
Gotta have at least one sleeping platform.
The requisite faux Medit Villa, by the dudes that sell hardscape.
My WTF garden of the day. Perhaps they had too many cocktails at the design meetings.
I'm sure they meant well. Lots of confusion here .
The usual vendors were there too, lending that 'state-fair' atmosphere..The glass guys.
The textile guys.
But I LOVE the Orchid guys..