Tuesday, March 30, 2010

San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

OK, so I went to this show on Saturday but I'm writing about it now. It was $20 to get in, and we spent about 2 hours looking around. Here are some pics:

Lots of water featues. Why is this? We're in drought-stricken California! There should be a prize for the best xeriscape! The best rock garden! The best cactus and succulent display! There is the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum Society Award – "garden which best demonstrates best practices in sustainable materials, water use and design" but most exhibitors (yes I think all of them) had a huge water aspect - massive pools and fountains and waterfalls. I found this maddening.

More water features. Hundreds of gasping koi swimming around, and not a heron or raccoon in sight to eat them, as in the real world... The garden on the right I quite liked but again its' vast pools make it quite shameful.

Now this was interesting. A giant cube covered in succulents, with a redwood Gothic arch doorway. Now of course it was int he middle of a LAKE of water. And the succulents were Aeoniums and such, which will have grown too big before you know it... not to mention the problem of the North facing ones never getting any sun etc... but the idea was great!

Bonsai! I like a nice miniaturised tree, and there was a good tree-mutilating demo going on. The end results are fab - the tree on the left is a really haggared redwood if I recall. The one the right would be great with a tiny treehouse and a swing! Maybe some stunted squirrels?

Here we have a nice wooden arch - I could see this in the garden if we had room for it. It's like those giant trees you can drive through but smaller. Still impressive! Perhaps you could use it for a tool shed? A place to hide when the in-laws are coming? ;)

And lastly the only permaculture display in evidence to my eye: a tank of (what else?) koi, whose mucky water is pumped up to the top using solar or wind power. That water feeds the vertical veggie garden. the veggies feed the people and the fish I guess. It was a very slick display that was not getting a lot of attention, probably due to the expense of setting it up?

Anyway, I thought it was a bit criminal that there wasn't much of that stuff at the show... many displays had a token line of wilty looking lettuce planted at the base of some flowerbox as their tip 'o the cap to growing your own food, but the vast majority of displays seemed to be ornamental only. And what ornamentals? In the zone dedicated to exciting new plants we find Cordyline "Red Sensation" - available since 1993...? Am I missing something, or is the garden show in a space-time-warp-continuum thingy?

Actually a lot of the show was aimed at the gardener with somewhat conservative taste from what I could tell: rusty metal garden art (for people who can't grow plants, dare I say?) and non-garden stuff (600 thread count sheets? Embroidered art probably made in sweatshops in China?)... I was disappointed. There, I've said it. No Flora Grubb (though her employee Robin was there doing a talk on vertical gardens) and no Sloat Garden Center.  Pout. I bought 2 succulents for my patio but left feeling like I could have spent my extrance fee on some plants at Sloat etc and felt happier. Meh.

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