Since I took over 200 photos of the Flower Show, it has taken me quite a bit of time to wade through them to find the best views and get them resized. I'll be sharing them with you in parts so that one post isn't so graphic intensive. I know dial-up readers will have a hard enough time waiting for them to load the way it is.
"Prepare to be Astonished!" they said. In many ways I was, but the nasty weather we experienced as we attended the 2009 Cincinnati Flower Show on Monday literally put a damper on things. The only thing that could have made the weather worse for walking around outside would have been snow and I was beginning to wonder if we wouldn't see that. We could see our breath and I was so cold I actually bought a hot chocolate to drink to warm me up. I don't even like hot chocolate.
The show was at a new location this year. They moved it from Coney Island, which was very picturesque, to Symmes Township Park. In time, I think they will adapt things better to this location, which I have read is to be its permanent home. With the economy the way it is, I would imagine this was not the best timing to prepare a new location for such a large show.
Coney Island had some permanent buildings that housed some of the displays, whereas everything in Symmes Township Park was under large tents. Wind and tents just don't get along very well. And there was literally no place to go to really get away from the weather. People (us included) were going into the restrooms and warming themselves by using the hand dryers. Several vendors were seen closing up early, because it wasn't very pleasant for them either and the weather kept the crowds away. Yet we tried not to let the weather keep us from enjoying the show.
Let's look at the show itself now.
The first thing we noticed when the shuttle dropped us off were the large urns on each side of the entrance. VERY LARGE and attractive, even though they held no colorful blooms. It looks like they took the original steel "Cincinnati Flower Show" sign from the Coney Island location and placed it at the entrance here, except it seems smaller.
Once through the entrance, Vendor's Row began immediately and we were tantalized by the wonderful and colorful offerings, as we knew we would be. Healthy bulbs from The Netherlands (yes, the vendor traveled all the way from there - we asked) were a dollar apiece for oriental lilies. I can't believe I left there without a single one!
We zigzagged our way through the length of this first group of vendors and remarked how on a warmer day, it would be difficult to make our way through the narrow path. No problem on this rainy day though! Our problem was trying not to poke people's eyes out with our umbrellas.
One advantage to less people shopping is that we got to visit with the vendors more than usual. Instructions on planting, tips on growing, and just friendly chit-chat was possible and served to make our day more enjoyable.
It's always fun to see what unusual vendors are there that are remotely garden-related. One of the new ones this year was Brite-Spots. They're little polymer beads the size of Minute Tapioca that swell when you add water and you can use them for cut flowers in vases as well as for growing some types of plants (think bamboo).
One of our favorite stops along the way was Peony's Envy, new to the show this year. We spoke with owner Kathleen Gagan at length and learned so much about growing peonies. She was charming and there will be a separate blog post about her business in the coming days, because she deserves more attention than merely a mention in this post. Until then, you can visit her at Peony's Envy.
This frog fountain would look pretty good in a large pond or lake setting.
These willow birdhouses were nice and the birds liked them, too. We watched a robin trying to make a nest in one. The vendor said the robin had been working on it for a couple of days, but they kept it cleaned out, so that whomever might want to purchase it didn't have to take away someone's home in the process!
In the Grand Marquee, landscape gardens and displays were housed in three tents and these were indeed impressive. There were far fewer outdoor rooms featured as in the past, a welcome change, as far as I'm concerned. Several of the displays were done in a manner that can easily be duplicated in gardens both large and small.
By far, the display that garnered the most buzz at the show was the...hmmm...what to call it... There were nursery rhymes represented within its confines, but the one that was the main focus was "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe..." There just aren't enough adjectives in the English language to describe the creativity and ingenuity it took to create this thing.
Click on each photo to enlarge it so you can see the detail in this display!
More favorite displays:
I really liked the Asian influence in this one, which also has a bit of Frank Lloyd Wright look to it.
And take a look at this backyard retreat. Pergola??
Half was inside the tent and the other half was outside and built to include the existing tree.
One of the most beautiful fairy gardens I've ever seen was actually a "village" that could be viewed 360° and made extensive use of logs and succulents.
Yet to come: The window boxes, exotic table settings, and vignettes on a theme.