Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's Growing on at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show

Agapanthus sculpture by Jenny Pickford
If you are planning on attending the Chicago Flower and Garden Show this year, you had better get a move on. There is just a few days left and the displays are inspirational. You will be greeted by an etched stone sign and a large sculpture of an Agapanthus made from steel and blown glass by Jenny Pickford, a U.K. artist and blacksmith, with a large green vertical wall as a backdrop. It is gorgeous and welcoming. With 26 gardens there are demonstrations for just about everybody.

Walk around and start looking at the details, and you'll see a lot of up-cycled materials like canning jars turned outdoor lighting. There are large brightly-colored containers used as accent pieces, and vertical gardens too. Outdoor seating displays are always big at the garden shows.

If you're not paying attention, you may be tempted to walk right past Garden 19, but make a point of stopping. It is a small two-part display. The section that really thrilled me, "Celebration of Succulents" by Craig Bergmann, shows a cascading quilt of succulents. A fantastic sight. One of the big trends this year will be increased use of succulents like Echeveria in gardens and containers.

For me, Garden 22 "Made for the Shade" is my kind of plant display. As a residential gardener with large old trees (with all of the shade that they can offer), I want ideas that I can bring home. This garden contained a mix of shade-loving evergreens, perennials, and bulbs that gave endless ideas for an attainable garden. Stop by and you will likely be able to talk to Todd Mohr or Rich Eyre of Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery Inc.

Garden 16 - Ribbon of Dancing Waters. Large silver maple trunks were used to build the pergola.

Days of Our Lives, Wedding
Dress of Chloe (Nadia Bjorlin)
In the center of the show room floor, is Garden 16, "A Ribbon of Dancing Waters." This was the best outdoor wooded setting. This demonstration garden had nine ponds, a rain harvesting system collecting and circulating that water, nice use of plants, and huge structures made from maple tree trunks.

If daytime soap operas are what really get you excited, you're in luck. The "Homestyle Drama from Days of Our Lives" is an interpretation of rooms from the show and the wedding gowns worn by your favorite starlets are on display for the duration of the show. Along similar lines were the collection of designs at "Design Over the Tabletop" of Garden 12. Many gorgeous vignettes of place settings, flowers, and vases from 12 different participants.

Shade garden showing a hemlock
Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula' in Garden 22
Table top place setting
Place setting from Garden 12: DotT: Design Over the Top
Kitchen setting with vertical garden over the sink. Garden 15
Vertical Gardens with upcycled palettes and Wooly Pockets
Up-cycled palettes into a living fence with Woolly Pockets.
Outdoor lighting made with mason jars
Up-cycled mason jars into chic outdoor lighting.
A cascade of succulents at Garden 19.

Go to the flower show and get some great ideas, attend the seminars, or pick up some deals from the vendors on the floor.  It's a good day for all.


  1. I somehow missed that cascade of succulents! Rats! Glad I got to see a picture, at least.

    1. Diane, sorry I missed you at the gardens! Craig Bergmann's website has a listing of the plants that were used in this display. It's awesome. Though shots of the actual display are not on his site either. Check out the list at


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...