On Wednesday I met Mr. Brown Thumb (who hooked me up with a press pass) and Bintie (who has the coolest hair) at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. Garden Girl was supposed to meet us, too, but wound up home sick instead, though she still graciously provided me with overnight lodging. You guys are the best!
Here are my impressions of the show, in no particular order. Just get a littler clocher so we can chat as we go!
Why are these people looking the other way, when there are brains on sticks and a disembodied tree hanging from the ceiling to be seen?!
I really thought this was a great combo; the flowers really work with, and soften, the stark wood and stone.
Something about these two lady slippers and their surroundings makes me feel like they're Muppet characters.
A macro that actually worked.
Spring, spring, spring, spring! Soak it up, take it in.
I love the pieces of wood which add a whole new dimension to this little waterfall.
A sign next to this bonsai Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora) said an alarm would sound if you touched the plant. It, in fact, did not. (Don't panic! I asked first... I just wasn't believing this was a white pine, but upon feeling its soft needles, I was convinced.)
Loved this container combo, though it was too large to fit in my purse...
I love this use for an older bike.
Yellow! When I had research colleagues who studied ergonomics, I learned that design features that help make something easier to use for a particular population (say, older people or people with limited eye sight) in general make the object easier for everyone to use. This wonderful cold frame, raised to a comfortable standing height is a case in point. Not only does it make gardening possible for those who can't easily bend down, it's easier for everyone!
My favorite display in the show.
Look at those sweet little hypertufa pots. (Note to self: Find decent recipe and host 'tufa-making party in spring.)
This reminds me a bit of a spiral rock garden I once made under a hemlock. I also love the potager garden, with ornamentals and veggies intermixed.
Also loved this artistic combination of lettuce and wheat grass.
Was also intrigued by this ingenious lettuce planter--it's pretty but would also keep ground critters out (say, for instance, one rolly polly groundhog) because it's raised and has pokey edges.
A pretty combination of hyacinths and a climbing lily (Gloriosa rothschildiana) that Mr. Brown Thumb has named for me 113 times and I've forgotten 112 times!
The nice folks from the Chicago Botanic Garden who staffed the answer booth were able to ID this as Calceolaria herbeohybrida (say that three times fast!) for me.
As much as I like modern and minimalist design (and that's one heck of a lot, for those keeping score at home), this house struck me, overall, as a bit stark. Loved the orange front door, though.
I'm not wild about hardscaping, especially not as edges, but I really liked the use of logs in this display. It has more organic shapes and yet still provides a border.
Love this flower fireplace on the edge of the Alice's Wonderland display. The Red Queen was visible just over the fireplace, but she scared me so I cropped her out of the shot. But, look, there's Bintie to the right, taking a photo.
Loved this representation of the Cheshire Cat.
Alice, don't eat the mushrooms!
The Lincoln Park and Garfield Park Conservatories had a display highlighting their special yearly displays, from the winter holidays...
...to spring displays (locally, Hidden Lake Gardens has an awesome display of azaleas in spring).
My favorite flower of the show, this sweet, sweet Persian lily (Fritullaria persica).
This probably wasn't meant to be a volcano of parsley, but that's how I see it.
The sign had that Alice in Wonderland theme... Bananas!
One of the vendors had these cool water-retaining gel spheres that one can use in vases with cut flowers. There were lots of pretty colors in lots of bowls... and again, the Alice theme comes into play and touch them I did. Ew!!! So creepy. It felt like slimy eyeballs. Um, not that I've ever felt slimy eyeballs, but it really freaked me out.
I know you think it was the Big Bad Wolf's fault...
...But it was really me who huffed and puffed and bleeeeeeew that straw house down!
My, what big ears you have... Or, elephant ears on steroids.
By far, the absolute highlight of the show for me was the "Pet A Bug" exhibit. I did in fact briefly touch the top of a giant cockroach, but admit that was freaky. I wouldn't hold it. The millipedes looked harmless enough. I held the little millipede first, and that was fine. Its feet tickled my hand. The bigger, African millipede was a bit unnerving, due to its hard coat and rigid, pokey legs.
I was not unnerved by how the tarantula moved, in fact, very gracefully, I just didn't want to be bitten because I have no health insurance. But look how sweet Tary is. Look at her cool color variegation! Come to mama!
That's my girl! She didn't feel ticklish at all and her weight was very evenly spread among her eight legs, so I could barely feel her at all. I was very comfortable with her. (Note: Tary, however, is probably thinking "Eek! Who the hell is that huge scary-looking human?!")
I really, really, really wasn't planning to buy anything at the show. But I have a bit of a thing for agaves (waves to Pam), and this super sweet dwarf narrowleaf century plant (Agave striata minima (nana)) from Ted's Greenhouse (which sounds similar to the sadly defunct Farmer Grant's in Ann Arbor) spoke to me (and besides, the nice woman staffing the booth gave me a Peeps!). I even had a retro flowerpot at home, ready and waiting for it.
At the Landreth Seeds booth, MBT may have bought some 'Great White' tomato seeds, which could in turn have inspired me to buy some 'Wapsipinicon Peach' tomato seeds (they get fuzz, just like peaches!), which we possibly split between us.
It was a fun day all around! Check back in a few days for my outdoor photos of Chicago!