Thursday, April 26, 2007
2007 Cincinnati Flower Show - OH
Mom and I boarded the Executive Coach bus at Van Wert at 7:00 this morning and we headed for the Cincinnati Flower Show. A few hours later, we walked through the entrance (free to us, due to our AHS membership). Though rain was predicted at a 90% chance of it for the day, we never felt a drop. How we managed to be granted that reprieve, I'll never know, but good for us!
Every year, the Cincinnati Horticultural Society stages their week-long show on the shores of Lake Como, location of historical Coney Island (where Kings Island Amusement Park had its origin) and adjacent to the Ohio River. Though the show has been internationally acclaimed in the past, and having attended the show last year, I felt that this year something was lacking, especially with the vendors. It seemed to me that there was a large number of vendors selling everyday fashion clothing and jewelry and fewer offering tools, potting materials, and garden decor than I remember. Even the Plant Market was smaller. Still, there was plenty to enjoy.
There were lavish displays of outdoor garden settings in the Grand Marquis, which I particularly enjoyed. I took away many ideas that I could incorporate into my own gardens on a smaller scale. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and artistry that some people possess, and I'm thankful they share their talents with the rest of us that weren't so blessed in that particular area.
There were a couple of learning seminars during the time we were there, and some of the group we were with took advantage of them. One, "Gardening Smarter, Not Harder," was probably one I should have taken in. It was presented by several speakers, which included experts from the Arthritis Foundation and a chiropractic clinic. Yep, should have attended...
There was an amateur flower show being judged in the large tent, and I enjoyed seeing the specimens of everything from woodland wildflowers to exotic orchids. The artistic floral arrangements were over the top and I wonder where these would find a home other than at a flower show, but I appreciate seeing how an artsy brain works.
We enjoyed lunch on the grounds, at The Garden Cafe. My "Red Hat Lunch" came in a substantial plastic container with a lid, and while I was eating my meal, the thought popped into my head that the container would be great for either winter sowing or for starting seeds indoors. Three of the people I was sitting with donated theirs to my cause, so I now have four new seed-starting containers.
Like last year, there were several planted window boxes, and since I have two on our front porch as well as two on the front of the pool house, I was particularly interested in these. I have absolutely no imagination when it comes to putting any kind of container combinations together. I snapped a couple of photos for later reference.
In one building, there were extravagant and dramatic table settings and John F. and I discussed who would use these in their homes. Certainly not us, but it's interesting to see the possibilities if you let your inhibitions run wild on the dining room table. That, and having unlimited funds and domestic assistants might allow you to play house like this. These were 3-D works of art with no square inch of space left out of the resulting masterpieces. I'm lucky to just get food on the plates!
Finally, there were wonderful artists in attendance with their works available for purchase. Watercolors seemed to be the most popular media and if I had wanted to choose one to take home with me, I don't think I could have done it. There were just too many that I saw and liked.
In the Grand Marquis, there was an artist painting one of the beautiful displays. I stood and watched her for a bit, and I'm always in awe of how anyone transforms a three-dimensional scene into a faithful rendition on canvas or paper.
Toward the end of our tour, Mom and I discovered the works of Charley and Edie Harper. Described as "minimal realism disciplined and pure," it would appeal to those in the 'less is more' camp. My taste in art runs in the contemporary and modern direction, so I loved it. We both purchased some note cards. The Harpers' works remind me a bit of Nazran Govinder, by whom I have a giclee print (of a cat) - a Christmas present from Romie.
The other art work that we both enjoyed were the mounted and framed butterflies from Peru. Now these were wonderful preservations of true artwork direct from the hand of God. Mom purchased a beautiful large piece featuring a dozen or so butterflies arranged artistically in a clear glass frame enabling you to see both sides of the butterflies. Some of these, when you looked at one side of them and then the other, you'd swear were totally different butterflies, so diverse were their markings and colors.
By 3:00, we were headed for home, with purchases stowed in the bottom of the bus. I took home a Fothergilla (F. gardenii x F. major 'Mt. Airy') to replace the one that the rabbits chewed all the way to the ground, a green Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa'), and a new coneflower (Echinacea 'Summer Sky'). We stopped to eat just north of Dayton, and our group went to Cracker Barrel. There, I found a lime green jacket with white daisies appliqued on it that was so 'me'. I've always loved white daisies.
Next gardening/flower show expedition: The Cleveland Botanical Garden Flower Show in late May.
More photos from the show: