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San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

Sing! by Mariposa Gardening and Design

Sing! by Mariposa Gardening and Design

We went to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show (San Mateo Flower and Garden Show?) yesterday. This freestanding dry stone wall, by Mariposa Gardening and Design and John Shaw-Rimmington of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Canada, was the coolest feature in the show in my rather stone-oriented opinion. There’s something very cool about walking under a dry-stacked stone arch. They said about thirty people gathered around to watch them remove the form from underneath the arch during setup, and I saw a ton of people pose for for photos underneath it during the show.

Cool Living by Fiddleleaf Fine Gardening and Design

Cool Living by Fiddleleaf Fine Gardening and Design

I also really liked the living wall by Fiddleleaf Fine Gardening and Design. The other green walls looked to me like they were grown horizontally and then put vertical for the garden show, but you could tell the Fiddleleaf wall was grown vertically from the way the plants oriented themselves. The construction details made me confident that it would actually be sustainable in the effort and resources to maintain it, and that it could evolve over time instead of being static. Green walls certainly seem to be the newest latest greatest; there were three of them in the garden show this year and it’s obviously an intriguing interesting idea, so I want to do some research into them. A lot of them seem to trade on the same novelty that makes Home Depot customers want to try growing a tomato plant hanging upside down in a bag, but I thought the Fiddleleaf living wall was the real deal, a beautiful sustainable feature for a small urban space.

Sky's the Limit by Rebecca Cole Designs

Sky's the Limit by Rebecca Cole

“Look at this!” a woman beside me exclaimed when she saw the green walls in Sky’s the Limit, by Rebecca Cole, and I thought that captured the effect of seeing the tidy geometric mats of living wallpaper. Tons of novelty value, plants growing in a different way than you normally see. It’s impressive how well the shape in the painting matched the shape on the curtains, which matched the custom cushions, which matched the custom tiles. The garden swept most of the awards in the show, and it is the exemplar of a certain type of garden, the all-at-once garden, everything designed simultaneously so that everything matches, a perfect garden for the client who wants to write a check and then never change a thing.

The Return of Paradiso by Quite Contrary Garden Design

The Return of Paradiso by Quite Contrary Garden Design

Similarly or in contrast to that garden, I’m not sure which, Quite Contrary Garden Design used found materials to make a cohesive whole. The materials all matched, but with the more casual roughness of flagstone, rather than tile. You could see that the designer collected the items, rather than designed them. I didn’t get to try out the wooden lounger, but I really liked how it looked.

There are photos already up on many of the designers’ websites, found through the garden show’s list of garden creators. BayAreaTendrils has photos, and I’m sure there’ll be more on other Bay Area blogger sites.

The show goes on for one more day, and the word at the show was that this won’t be the last year after all, that there’s a contract for five more years. Duane Kelly, the apparently-soon-to-be-former owner, has an interview at NestInStyle, talking about how the show needs to attract a new generation of visitors. It’ll be interesting to see what the new owners do to try to accomplish that.

ryan 3/21

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3 Responses to “San Francisco Flower & Garden Show”

  1. March 22nd, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    joey says:

    Thank you for sharing, Ryan. Believe me if I lived closer, I’d surely visit!

  2. March 22nd, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Frances says:

    Hi Ryan, thanks for these insights into a great show. It is a happy bit of news that the show will go on for a few more years too. Reading of the exhibits on the blogs is almost as good as being there. Thanks for a great report, stone slanted and all. :-)
    Frances at Fairegarden

  3. March 23rd, 2009 at 3:24 am

    vnhan2010 says:

    I like thi post. Nice garden.

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