African Garden + winter

MMD's Adventures at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show '09

Rain was coming down hard when I hopped into a cab to take me to Navy Pier for the Flower & Garden show. On stepping into Festival Hall, I was enveloped in the wonderful scent of flowers and good soil. (Which made a very welcome change after the odor of the cab driver.) So why is my top photo of a winter garden? Because it's part of my favorite garden, Greening Up, a four-season display put on by the Chicago Park District. At first I didn't notice one of the neatest features of this garden, the four-season nature of the greenroof, which sports a mini skyline of Chicago.

I like the "window box" in the spring side.

This photo is for Carol, of May Dreams Gardens.

I really like these fountains, which I might try to recreate in the new garden which is still under the working title of "the Replacement for the Mustache" garden.

An effort has been made at this year's show to present gardens with ideas that can be easily adapted to home gardens, even small suburban or urban gardens.

The rainbarrel is covered in wiremesh so vines can grow on it to disguise it.
The Science in Bloom garden is divided into gardens of different colors which each relate to a different aspect of the Museum of Science & Industry.

My favorite of these is the submarine garden.

The Reflections Asian garden features the fabulous plants from Rich's Foxwillow Pines, which is on the tour for Spring Fling.

For those who don't like or have trouble with Arborvitae (Thuja), Picea abies 'Cupressina' makes a great alternative.

Although the named theme of this year's show is "One World in Bloom," the actual theme is sustainability.

This attractive green roof is part of the Chicago Botanic Garden's display.
Note the hubcaps in the following photo.

The theme of this garden is a reclaimed parking lot.
The Shedd Aquarium's display offered an alternative to rain barrels for water storage. (I apologize for the quality of the following photo. My camera doesn't work well indoors.)

Presumably, this feature is dry most of the time, and fills with water only after a rain. The garden also featured xeriscape planting.

There are more wonderful display gardens I have not included. In addition to the display gardens, there is a marketplace with lots of tempting goodies.

I came home with a CobraHead weeder and a Peony. Joe Lamp'l demonstrated lots of nifty garden products which he gave away. I failed to win telescoping loppers, garden shears, a broadcast spreader, a cordless weed whacker (neither of which I would have been able to carry onto the train home), a wicked shovel, a birdcam, garden gloves made of recycled waterbottles, and gardening chaps modeled by the "nude gardener" herself, Shawna Coronado (who was not, in fact, nude, but wearing pants under those chaps, in her casual gardening mode).Finally, I was privileged to share the stage with three wonderful Chicago bloggers, Gina of My Skinny Garden, Linda of Garden Girl, and Mr. Brown Thumb, as we talked about garden blogging.Although I haven't been to the Flower & Garden show in several years, I conclude that this year's show is one of the best in a very long time. If you have the opportunity, head on over to Navy Pier. You don't want to miss it.

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