Pondering the Garden Show

 I took exactly 4 photos at the SF garden Show this weekend; all four were out of focus . The photo above was taken in my back garden this morning, mundane but springy. I can't post without a photo of something !

 So what about the garden show ?  With a  couple of exceptions, the display gardens were just ok. John Greenlees' bamboo and grass jungle with Marcia Donahue sculpture touches was pretty cool (I blogged about Marcias' studio garden here), and I liked the Urban Habitat  garden by the Academy of Art University .There was, as is typical every  year, a handful that featured lots of hardscape, blooming azaleas Primroses and florist Kalanchoes and ritzy titzy back yard kitchens and sleeping platforms. In fact I would almost bet money that one of the faux Tuscan villa gardens was a mirror image of an installation from 2011 , flipped to the other side of the hall. I like looking at these, but only in the way I liked the flower show at Hollywood Park Racetrack when I was a little girl, enchanted by the mysterious darkness and fragrances of forced hyacinth and orchids , completely impractical for real gardens in California. In this the shows have improved-many of the gardens now use plants that  are in fact legit and often xeric . I confess I still long for 'the good old days' at the Cow Palace where the gardens were bigger, better lit (though not by much) and often over the top. There are gardens I still remember vivdly from those shows even though I was cameraless- I doubt that in three months I will will recall any but Greenlees this year.

 The seminar line up was heavy with TV dudes , none of whom I had ever heard of  since I rarely indulge in that pastime (with the notable exception of baseball season) and the topics seemed directed at the novice gardener -which I 'll admit may be suitable for bringing more into the fold of the gardening community but doesn't leave much on the table for those of us who are serious but occasionaly inept practitioners. Back again to the glory days , when I enjoyed talks by Dan Hinkley, Rosemery Verey and Penelope Hobhouse amoung others. Unfortunately , the few speakers I would have liked to hear were scheduled on days/times that I was not in attendance.

 The shopping opportunities were a bright spot as always, though I continue to complain about booth size and the ability to get near the more popular vendors like Annies and Succulent Gardens mid-day. This was just as big an issue at the Cow Palace , which though a much larger venue also featured many more vendors .

  I expect Denise over yonder at AGO who was in attendence with the excellent MB Maher will have some real photos to share . Next year I'll take the good camera for I will return . I still love the garden show, even when it hits under the Mendoza Line.


  1. aloha,

    i used to love going to the yearly show when i lived in the bay area especially some of the over the top displays that just wowed me...i'm actually in the mood to see another garden show - we don't have those here in hawaii....
    btw i saw your post of sierra azule - wow that place has changed with all the beautiful sculptures...beautiful!

    1. I guess when everything around you is a garden you don't need a show, right Noel ?

  2. I would have loved to cross paths with you at the show! It was fabulous to chat a tiny bit with Denise.

    I have not yet had a chance to look over my photos, hopefully I was able to capture some of what caught my eye. The gardens at this show had such a modern feel compared to the Seattle and Portland shows, I quite enjoyed them.

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  3. Likewise Loree..I look forward to seeing your photos since mine bombed-what there were of them . The gardens did have a contempo look didn't they ? But where were the succulents ????

  4. Thank you for the info! Did you buy anything?

    How do those Bleeding Hearts do for you? I am so tempted at the nursery but I was told the bloom season is short and they look ratty the rest of the year. Yours are so gorgeous.

    1. My Bleeding Heart is fabulous this year..I'm sure our cold nights were instrumental. When mine look ratty (summer dormancy) I cut them down to the ground.The foliage looks attractive though into June or July-depending on the temps.Go for it ! Mine is planted in the shade of a Japanese Maple..the buds have formed before the tree leafs out, and the shade is protective in summer.


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