Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 Chicago Flower and Garden Show

If you haven’t had a chance to see the Chicago Flower and Garden Show take the time, it’s worth it. The theme this year is “The Sport of Gardening.” The outdoor living spaces incorporated massive dry-fit masonry construction to demo how kitchens, or other outdoor entertainment spaces could be created. The vendors were all very friendly and the trend on growing green themes were found in everything from green roofs and vertical walls, to backyard chicken coops. The chicken coop idea was interesting, since Urbana and other residential areas do allow chickens. Closer to our downtown area, from time-to-time, you will find a brazen rooster strutting his stuff down the street.

“A Curious Croquet-Ground” by the Illinois Orchid Society

For me the show began with “A Curious Croquet-Ground” by the Illinois Orchid Society where you’ll see three large spheres of all white orchids (Phalenopsis) each about 5 feet in diameter. This display was set up as a giant croquet set with the mallets magically hanging in mid-swing. It was very playful and interesting. I did find that if you take a photo at just the right angle it looks like the mallets are popping the people on the head, like a good game of whack-a-mole.

The 'water feature' from “One Goal, One Garden” designed by Tony Butterworth, Christy Webber Landscapes

 Are you Chicago Hawks hockey fan? Then the “One Goal, One Garden” is the place for you. Designed by Tony Butterworth, Christy Webber Landscapes, this garden had a water feature like none-other. The bottom was painted to resemble a hockey rink, but with a little trickery, people can walk right out onto the “ice” without getting too wet. This high-end contemporary design used many active components from the hockey team. From the picket fence made of hockey sticks, to the flooring that comes from a training rink. Don’t get too excited by the Stanley Cup trophy, it is a replica, though a pretty nice one.

Tulips Joe van der Vlugt of Doornbosch Bros.

Gardeners and landscapers tend to be passionate about what they do. The garden "Off to the Races" was designed and planted by a bulb grower whose family has been in the Holland bulb industry for over 4 generations. Joe van der Vlugt of Doornbosch Bros. was gracious enough to give a personal walk through of his tulip display. He placed every bulb in this display and made sure the heights were all spot on for each type. There were over 40 different varieties of bulbs on display. Every variety labeled so that the viewers could walk over to the their booth on the trade show floor and buy every bulb they could need for the season. If are you are looking for a different fundraising program and are tired of popcorn and candy, give Doornbosch Bros. a consideration.

“The Great Outdoors” display. Designed by Miguel Sotelo, of Orion Land Water Snow.

Another passionate builder is at “The Great Outdoors” display. Designed by Miguel Sotelo, of Orion Land Water Snow. This company is the first Hispanic owned company to be invited to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show and it is easy to see why. This garden really had a wonderful outdoor feel. Miguel designed there to be a good view from every angle, and he succeeded. Truckloads of sand were brought in to create a lake fed by a spring. Though there was very woodsy feeling to the display, Miguel designed in plants and features that could easily be incorporated into the average home garden. One of my favorite components to his design was the way he broke up a 150’ stretch of stonework wall by installing nooks at regular intervals and varying the height. This was simply, a great demonstration garden with an obviously talented company.

To see a list of all the gardens at the show, collaborators, designers, and details, go to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show website.

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