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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show 2008: Part 1

GB and I went to the Chicagoland Flower and Garden Show on Sunday. After my fabulous albeit short visit to the San Francisco Garden Show, I was so jazzed about seeing the kind of show my own town put on. Well, unfortunately I will not be able to give this show any green thumb up. From what I understand, the CFGS was held at Navy Pier until last year and when it was there, they had way better attendance and way better stuff.

Now, it wasn't all bad, and I'll try to temper my review since I'm pretty sure lots of people worked really hard on it. The first thing was that the signage was virtually non-existent on the outside of the convention center. The fact that they didn't have any big fancy signs made me a little suspicious - "do they not have anything to show off?" Not to mention, the walkway from the garage to the convention center made me feel like a rat in a science project trying to find my way through a maze.

Eventually I made it in a met up with GB and we took a few minutes to look at the map and circle a few seminars that we wanted to see. Then we proceeded to miss every single one of them. We ended up only making it to the very last speaker of the day who talked about keeping animals out of the garden. There was no new information with the exception of how to sneak up on a caged skunk in a way that will prevent you from getting all stunk up. Frankly, I do not believe this technique will work and I won't even bother explaining it to you. I've never had any skunks so I don't think I need this information and if you do have a skunk problem - GOOD LUCK, PARTNER!

The picture below is of one of the display gardens that I found particularly disturbing. It's got choo choo trains running all through it which is very sweet, but take a look at the pond.

The picture below is a little closer. Does this look like the Tidy Bowl Pond to anybody else besides me and GB? It really creeped me out. This picture doesn't really show just how gross it was but the water looked EXACTLY like your toilet bowl if you've ever used the blue stuff in it. The water looked thick and syrup-y. Thank God they had no fish in there! If you look at the rocks in the background you can see how they are stained blue. I'm sure they were just trying to make the water look clean and blue but they really missed the mark.

The best thing we discovered at the show was the display area for Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery. They specialize in dwarfs and they had some very cool specimens. The one below is Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Lemon Thread' (Sawara False Cypress) and I want it! I apologize for the quality of these pictures but I need to use them for my own personal documentation (shopping list). I just love the color!

The picture below is Pinus strobus 'Winter Gold' (Golden Eastern White Pine)and I want this, too.

Rich's nursery is in Woodstock, IL. We've already decided a road trip to this guy's nursery is in order but seeing his price list, it may need to wait until a major gifting holiday. I believe this tree above costs around $400 - cha ching!

Stay tuned for CFGS Part 2 The Dutch Bulb Girls: Were They Really Dutch?


  1. Yup, that water is might BLUE! :) The plants are lovely, though.

  2. I'm glad one of us got to the show! I planned to go, but then both of my kids got sick (sequentially). I lost a whole week. I think that fake blue dye looks vile also. What were they thinking! Even if you don't have the cash this spring, you should go visit Rich's anyway. There's a Big-leaf Magnolia there that is amazing & simply must be seen in person when it's in bloom. The conifer display garden is also a must see. There is also an area of small grafted plants & seedlings at affordable prices that are not listed in the catalogue. If you really can't wait to have one but have the patience to tend a baby plant, that may be the way to go. Can you tell I really like Rich's? While you're there, you may as well check out the historic Woodstock Town Square.