Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2011

Some beautiful forced tulips at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.
 Saturday my fellow horticulturalist and I spoke at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.  I wasn't terribly nervous until I stepped up to the podium and then my knee started shaking.  It made the whole elevated stage vibrate too.  A couple deep breaths and I was good to go.  We spoke on nature and nurture and how they each play a part in gardening.  It was fun to expose people from the Chicago region to Taltree Arboretum and Gardens.  I hope we inspired some folks to come out this summer. 

After the presentation we got a little bit of time to go out and enjoy the show.  I love the competitions.  I always come away with a list of things to try. 

Bolted purple cabbages paired with tulips.
I stopped by the Chicago Botanic Garden's Extension booth and asked them what was the most frequent question they were getting.  They said it was about all the bolted cabbages and kales.  People didn't know what they were.  Once they mentioned it, I started seeing them everywhere.  At first I thought perhaps it was unintentional, but they were to frequent too be a mistake.  Perhaps this is a new trend?  The bolted cabbages do add a nice vertical height. 

I adore this sedum, it is such a vibrant green.  This is Dora Aalbregtse's entry in the Cacti and Succulents category.  The sedum is 'Fine Leaf Gold'.  It would be perfect for the Railway Garden if it is winter hardy in Zone 5. 

The tiny sedum also show up in the winning Container Garden. Upon closer inspection, this one was also designed by Dora Aalbregtse.  The woman's got taste.

My favorite display was the Window Boxes.  This was the winner and I love the way herbs were incorporated.  I'm definitely using this as an example for my Vegetables in Small Spaces Class. 

I also love it that they include a planting diagram. 

Although this is not a combination that would work in real life, there are cool and warm plants all mixed together,  it is proof that beauty and function are not mutually exclusive. 

Flower and Garden shows have a lot of smoke and mirrors.  Usually I can get absorbed and not think about how much razzle-dazzle it takes to create these displays.  But this one by Smith and Hawken broke the spell.  I had to laugh out loud and take photos when I saw it.   Do you see it?

This "garden" is nothing more than grocery store veggies in cups with some Spanish moss tucked in the edges.  I wouldn't have noticed except for several of the cups were showing like so many plastic cups at a college party. 


  1. The Chicago Botanical Garden is just lovely. I had the pleasure of visiting it one year for the Garden Writer's Conference.

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