Tis the season for “Home and Garden” shows throughout the land. There are also the iconic flower/garden shows held in Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and a few other places. I’ve never been to any of these, though I did attend Canada Blooms a couple times; it’s a large and well-regarded show in Toronto. In Buffalo we have a Home Show and a separate gardening show, entitled Plantasia. I’ve spoken at both of these, and this year, I’ll be one of the Plantasia judges.
I know what I’ll see when I attend Plantasia. There will be paving, grills, fireplaces, bars, and water features. Planted areas will have rhodies and other shrubs, bulbs, and such perennials as can be obtained at this inconvenient time. There will also be plenty of fun touches; some of our local designers/landscapers have great senses of humor. The local horticultural schools will likely have some interesting stuff.
On one level, given the choice, I can relate somewhat better to a home show. At least, most of those elements are supposed to be inside. Try as you might, the interior of a big event center is not hospitable to gardening. I’ve seen pictures from Seattle and Philadelphia; while they do include some very impressive displays, I can’t really respond. It’s not even fair to expect it. What I do enjoy are the cut flower designs; Canada Blooms does really well with these.
At the end of the day, I can take or leave most cold-weather indoor garden shows, but they do have their uses and positives, such as:
- Gardening professionals are fun to hang out with. (I’m sorry)—they are down-to-earth and fun to have a beer or three with.
- You do occasionally find a booth or two with stuff you’d actually want to buy. I stock up on double lilium from a New England vendor every year. It annoys me that they insist on calling these “rose” lilies, though.
- Once in a while, there is something innovative and inspirational, like a really well-done aquaponics set-up or hand-crafted decor.
- It’s a good way to kill a Saturday.