Did You Miss The SF Garden Show?

One of the year’s horticultural highlights & a bastion of the bustling Bay Area botanical biz is SF’s Flower & Garden Show. A must see event, it annually attracts thousands of fans of flora, some from as far as Canada, the South Pacific and Europe. I first attended a dozen years ago when it was a smaller scale affair at Fort Mason, and it is now a huge event held at the Cow Palace.

Here’s a selective bit of look back on the scene that went down last week, as the show was built & opened to entertain eager enthusiasts of eragrostis, admirer’s of amaryllis, lovers of lilys, and ooglers of orchids. Acres of displays and hundreds of sales booths dot the grounds of the rodeo ready Cow Palace, providing ample space to gather and gander and tour truly awesome takes on the gardening arts, and some occasionaly ostentatious exhibits.

Take this year’s Golden Gate Cup (aka Best of Show) winner, a display created by Organic Mechanics, that was an amazing undersea-esque garden replete with submersed looking succulents, ocotillos in bloom and sculpted tritons, octopus & seahorses provided by Oakland metal sculptor Patrick E that woulda made Ringo Starr feel right at home.

To the right is a pic of the durable duo known as the Organic Mechanic’s James Pettigrew and Sean Stout, proud winners of the Golden Gate Cup with Show Producer Kay Estey at last Tuesday’s opening night fete’.

Below is a shot of ornamental grass expert and “meadow maker” John Greenlee ( in hat ) talking to interested fans of his work on the last day of the show, amazingly he and his garden are holding up well after a week in the cold and cavernous concrete Cow Palace. Greenlee’s garden display won three awards including recognition from the other garden designers and an award from the American Horticultural Society for environmental stewardship. Entitled “The Metropolitan Meadow, Driving Towards A Solution”, the garden highlighted ways people can make a small but real difference in our environment with their lawns & gardens alone. Greenlee has long been appalled that conventional lawns, their chemicals & maintenance account for 100’s of tons of air pollution weekly throughout California.
He and his partner’s display asked the provoking question “Is Your Garden Part of The Problem or Part of the Solution”, by incorporating literally thousands of low water using, natural habitat friendly, and maintenance unintensive plants. To knock home his “step lightly” point, parked smack dab in the middle, was his wife’s cherry red Nash Metropolitan, a car that still gets 40 mpg, but was made 50 years ago.

check out some more random SF garden show pix after the jump…

A detail of a tiny Ipheon Uniflorum ‘album’ plant tucked into John Greenlee’s metropolitan meadow display…

There were 23 displays on the main floor, but only a select few that win the judges gold medal…
gold medal


Local school teacher & musician Stephanie Finch was spotted enjoying a vista from the bridge in Monet’s Garden, designed by Brookside Gardens & Clearwater Designs and inspired by Monet’s famous Water Garden in Giverny, France. The display was the winner of the coveted People’s Choice award, given out on Sunday the final day of the show.

Here’s a pick of Stephanie & her husband Chuck chilling in the centrifuge of a spiral fencing creation from SWA Associates…
Sadly the firm, with offices in London, SF & Sausilito are tearing this piece of work down as I write. I heard some of it may just end up at the local dump. Anyone need a special fence ?

Here’s the exhibit as it was being constructed in a pic from the official SF Garden show website …

other pix viewable at http://www.gardenshow.com/sf and these links below:

Bruce Peters of the California Horticultural society signaled “Sideritis dasygnaphala” being sold in the pavilion by Annie’s Annuals as one of his faves of the show….Sideritis-dasygnaphala.jpgClick To View full size pic

more of Bruce’s 2007 Hot Plant Picks at the Cal Hort website

Orchids for sale “cheap!” in one of the show’s two sales pavilions

thanks to Weeder’s Garden Blog for the pic…

another website that was inspired by this year’s garden show is ReadyMade magazine who were impressed with some cool students from UC Berkeley studying Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. The students put together a popular garden exhibit built with materials leftover from California’s wine industry like these hanging glass bottle lamps. More pix from their bustling display at ReadyMade’s blog.

I’m told I probably had the most fun cavorting on Friday night in Michele Swanson‘s exhibit produced in conjunction with Garden Design magazine called “Martini Modern”…
. It was a retro nuevo patio affair in which Dean Martin would’ve sunk into comfortably, replete with working huttub…

In fact I think my enjoyment “stemmed” more from the glasses and company, and less from the plants contained there in… Hey wasn’t that arificial turf?

(Thanx for memories & martinis Michele and friends, oh and thanx to Amy of the Garden Rant blog for this picture of an actual Martini Modern glass in action below that I apparently forgot to take myself while there…)

see any of y’all next year?

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