Friday, February 27, 2009

2009 Ft. Wayne Home & Garden Show

Let the gardening season begin!

For us - meaning Mom and me - the Ft. Wayne Home & Garden Show is the kick-off for the gardening season. No, we can't go home from it and run right out and start digging in the dirt, but we start really planning for the not-far-away days when we can. Seeds are bought, maybe some bulbs, and we get to see some perennials up close that we might want to get for our gardens.

We arrived at the Memorial Coliseum a few minutes before the doors opened to the general public, but since we were both members of the AHS, we got to enter through the exhibitors' door - early even! The usual hallway of spring blooms greeted us as we made our way into the garden expo hall.

Landscape displays were to the left...


and center...

...but we made a beeline for the rear of the hall, where Dr. Lori was going to be speaking at noon.

Dr. Lori is a certified fine art and antiques appraiser, an award-winning TV personality and TV talk show host, and a nationally syndicated columnist. Today, she was offering one free antique appraisal and I'd brought one of the books in my Winnie-the-Pooh collection - a 1946 French edition.

What makes my French Pooh book unique, besides being a relatively rare item, is that I believed it to be signed by A.A. Milne. The inscription didn't contain "A.A. Milne," rather it was signed, "For Vi, From blue," with the familiar fluorish under the name. But I knew that Milne was known to his friends and family as "Blue."

My turn came and Dr. Lori asked me how I acquired the book (online from a used book store in France) and what I'd paid for it. She explained that it was a relatively rare item, in good condition (though it had some acid burn on the dust jacket), and confirmed that it was indeed signed by Milne. When all was said and done, her appraisal was over 300 times what I'd paid for it. I was a happy girl! No plans to sell it just now, though.

Now that that was out of the way, we proceeded to check out the various gardening displays and exhibits. I always love to visit the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory booth, because they bring so many wonderful plants from their greenhouse, with extremely reasonable prices on them.

This year was no exception, and though my intention upon attending this year's show was to just look and not buy, I was a goner when I saw the variegated Bougainvillea in bloom and the variegated Jade plant. Sold. Both of them!

The next favorite spot for me is the Three Rivers Orchid Society booth.

Ohhhh, such loveliness and fragrance all in one spot! There were several beautiful orchids for sale, but I settled for taking some pictures of some of my favorites.

I spoke with one of the members regarding the lack of rebloom of a couple of my orchids, and she provided some advice (repot and move to a new location).

I don't know if it's because this is my third year in a row attending the show, but I was underwhelmed by the landscaping displays. There wasn't much new in the way of design or hardscape and the lack of actual plantings didn't help. I did like the use of large flat rocks for walkways, in comparison to the use of smaller ones so commonly seen.

In the aisles between displays were several extremely large stone or clay pots heavily planted and situated with park benches. These were quite attractive and lots of positive comments were overheard as we passed by them.

We paid a visit to the booths of local garden centers and nurseries, several of which were familiar to us from previous shows. Lots of wonderful offerings were there for the buying, but I resisted since I'd already purchased two more plants than I'd intended.

Succulents of all kinds seemed to be in abundance and I wondered if it was a reflection of the hot, dry summers we've had in recent years.

There were several booths by businesses that didn't have plants to sell, but plenty of garden decor and whimsy.

Rusty Gate Decor
(Notice the bird feeder stakes.)

One of my favorite displays was by DeWald Gardens, new to the show this year.

DeWald Gardens is the first greenhouse in Indiana and one of only four nationwide to receive the distinction of "Up and Coming Greenhouse Business for 2008" . Steve and Maria DeWald both have had successful careers as plant research scientists and have Ph.Ds in horticulture. Maria, who was born in Italy and lived in Venezuela (her accent is charming!), has had her container designs featured in several gardening magazines.

Their display showed a lot of class and I loved the pottery. There were beautifully planted containers, several healthy coleus cultivars (one of their specialties), and a gorgeous Japanese Maple bonsai for sale. I had a delightful conversation with the owner and plan to visit them in the coming months.

We left the garden expo hall and walked over to the home section of the show. Here was where you could see exhibits for home improvement, lawn equipment, cooking equipment, and various other related businesses. There were plenty of food items for sale and sample as well.

One of the more unusual booths was by River City Links, which is an 18-hole putting course in Ft. Wayne. It is a well-known fact that I am the black sheep of a golfing family, due to my lack of ability to cause a driver to make contact with a teeny tiny white ball, no matter how hard I concentrate on keeping my head down.

Both of our girls played on their college golf teams and went to state with their high school golf team, no thanks to my genes. However, I can putt. Go figure. River City Links gave the opportunity to make a hole-in-one for a free round of golf. Mom and I both managed to do it, so guess what we will be doing this summer?

I'm not sure why home and garden shows feature exotic pets, but it's not the first time we've seen this. At the Indianapolis show Mom and I attended last year, there were sugar gliders. Today's show in Ft. Wayne had snakes. Now I happen to think snakes are cool, but not everyone shares my enthusiasm, so I've kept the photo of the milk and corn snakes to the right at thumbnail size. If you would like to see it in all its glorious, scaly beauty, just click on it.

I still had a few dollars burning a hole in my pocket, so I purchased a couple of packets of seeds from Renee's Garden (sold by the Conservatory): Cerinthe 'Pride of Gibralter' (Cerinthe major atropurpurea) and Butterfly Monarda 'Bergamo Bouquet' (Monarda hybrida). Both are annuals here. The Allen County Public Library was giving away free packets of French Dwarf Marigold seeds at the Master Gardener's booth, so we picked up one of those, too.

Mom and I both purchased new hose nozzles, invented by a fireman, and guaranteed for life and guaranteed not to leak. If they'd been cheaper (we paid $25 each), I would have bought three of them instead of just one, but one of the nice features is the washer is integrated so no worries about losing it when switching it from one hose to another.

One of the fun things about going to a local home and garden show such as this is that you run into people that you haven't seen in awhile. Both of us saw several friends and acquaintances and stopped to chat for a little bit before moving on. We left the show buoyed by the goodness of it all and with a lighter heart, in spite of the cold wind that greeted us as we went out the door.

Spring is on the way!

Witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’) in full bloom at the show, courtesy of Blue River Nursery.


Cathy S. said...

Wow Kylee beautiful blooms!
wish I had a house like that I would be in heaven...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Kylee, I am sure glad you went to the F&G show. It makes ones heart skip a beat to see all the lovely blooms. I know what you mean about not being too impressed. This is one reason why I like to go to the INdy F&G show every few years instead of every year. I too have noticed that more succulents are being sold &/or displayed at nurseries. I love em but they don't do well inside our house. We don't have a south facing window. Thanks for the tour.

Donna at Suburban Sanctum said...

Thanks for taking us along, Kylee. Beautiful orchid photos--and how fun about your Pooh book! I love Pooh too. Happy for you that the signature is real--and what a nice increase in value! By the way, cerinthe looks fabulous next to Bells of Ireland, if you ever get them to grow. :) At least they looked nice together in a photo I saw once. They didn't cooperate in my garden...

Kylee Baumle said...

Cathy ~ Lots of beauties there, that's for sure!

Lisa ~ You might not believe this, but I grow a few of my succulents in an east window. Not a lot of direct sunlight either, because it faces the patio, which is covered by the pergola, which is covered by the trumpet vine! I just don't water them much at ALL. They all seem to do fine! So now you have no excuse. LOLOL.

Donna ~ I tried to grow Cerinthe last year and had no luck whatsoever. And my luck with Bells of Ireland isn't a whole lot better. But maybe this will be the year. I actually think I'm going to do something with both the Cerinthe and Monarda together. The raspberry and purple colors will look nice together and I have a nice small metal trellis that the Cerinthe can climb up. If it grows, that is!

Kerri said...

What a great day out for you and your mom! I'm a big Pooh fan too. How exciting that the signature is real. Wow!
I wouldn't be able to resist the Bougainvillea either. I'm curious to see the Jade. I hope you'll show us a picture soon.
That DeWald Gdns container (pelagonium?) is gorgeous!
The snake is cute :)
It feels like winter here again these past 2 days. Brrr! We're getting a bit of snow too.

O.I.M said...

looks like you had an amazing day. and that's so cool about the pooh book.

the one thing i like most about garden shows is the fragrance. after a winter of nothing but blecch, the scent of earth and blooms is so welcome.

I know what you mean about not being impressed by the landscaping displays. at canada blooms last year, all the displays were....yawn....rather uninspired. there was a certain sameness to them all. and a total lack of original plants. I have seen some truly horrible "landscaping" in my neighbourhood too. Just across the street a crew came in last year pulled up some turf, planted a bunch of creeping jenny, threw down some mulch and left. I mean do people actually pay to have this done? sure it was done fast but yikes. I'd rather take ten years and figure it out myself.

okay, end of rant. enjoy your new purchases.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nice way to spend a day even with the understated landscapes there is always much to see and a good idea here and there. I really like your new nozzle. I was thinking today that I need one for the seed starting in the basement.

Anonymous said...

I loved every minute of this post. I'm thrilled about the nozzle. I'm going to look for it. All the displays and fun was exciting to be around even for me who was reading about it.

Dana S. Whitney said...

Amazing orchid photographs. So face-like! (and good luck with YOUR witch hazel).

Nutty Gnome said...

i love the orchid photos, they made me drool! Great news on your Winnie the Pooh book too - we're all big fans here!
How did you resist -there was so much gorgeous stuff calling out to me from your photos. I would have ahad a field day in there and come home ladened with goodies!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful report, Kylee, and such fun news about your Pooh-book! I'm not surprised that you found some orchids to look at--they draw you, don't they? :-)

Unknown said...

I can never go a place like that planning not to buy, I buy more when I resolve NOT to buy something than when I set myself a budget. Luckily I've learned my limitations and find myself more able to deal with them. Looks like a wonderful show to attend. I'm sure once it opened to the general public it was packed from end to end!

TC said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures and wonderful experiences at the flower show! It's really revved me up for spring!

If you've subscribed to receive updates from my blog, or if you were following, please resubscribe.
I switched templates and I'm afraid followers and subscribers might have lost their connection. Thanks!

Victoria Williams said...

Nice garden show. Love the pic of the milk and corn snake. So pretty!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'd be happy to visit with the snakes, but I agree with you about their pertinence to garden shows. While I admire those huge planters next to the benches, all I could think about was how heavy they must be (and hard to plant). You saw some stunning Orchids. That one with the cobalt on the flowers just doesn't look real.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Your photos are great. I see so much I'd love to have. I'll bet you had a great time looking at new ideas and products.

I've been thinking of going to the Chicago Show this year. I've never been to a large garden show.

Cosmo said...

Great photos, Kylee. I love Milne--what a great find for you (and I'm glad Dr. Lori confirmed its wisdom). And the photos from the Home Show are wonderful--that witch hazel is really lovely.

Kylee Baumle said...

Kerri ~ Yes, I'll post a picture soon, of both of my purchases. You noticed the Martha Washington pelargonium in the DeWald's container, too! It was the most luscious shade of deep wine. I'm definitely going to have to get one when Mom and I go there later in the spring.

Irena ~ I love the smell of a garden show, too! The mulch was the strongest, but I love that smell. The orchids were great, but you had to seek that one out.
I always see something I like at any garden show, but I go there to see new stuff and just didn't see much of anything this year, which was disappointing. Oh, there are always the fantabulous stone patios/firepits/waterfalls, etc., but I like to see more things that are affordable to the general gardener.

Layanee ~ I've yet to try the nozzle out, but if we get the warmer temps later this week like we're supposed to, I'm going to hose off the front porch with it. It comes in three colors, too! (Blue, pink, and green - I got green.)

Anna ~ Glad you enjoyed our day! You could order the nozzle online (it's linked in my post) if you can't find it locally.

Knitting Painter Woman ~ My husband always says those orchids look like faces, too!

Nutty Gnome ~ I figured you were Pooh fans there! Someday I hope to make it to Sussex and Ashdown Forest. I don't do Disney Pooh and while I respect the exposure Disney gave Pooh, to me, that isn't the real one. Disney = cartoon. Shepard = illustration.

I would have bought more things if there weren't an economic crisis. I'm having a hard time resisting, but must!

Jodi ~ I kind of wish I'd bought that purple and blue one! I think the price on it was $25, but I'm not sure. It was a stunner!

Kylee Baumle said...

Cinj ~ It's like that for me with just about any shopping. If I'm ready to buy, I can't find what I'm looking for. When I'm low on money, it all looks good! LOL

TC ~ It got me revved up for spring, too! Your new template looks GOOD!! I signed up to follow you again. :-)

Kim and Victoria ~ Those snakes were awesome. They'd been raised in captivity, so they were used to being handled a lot.

Mr. McGregor's Garden ~ And don't you wonder what those huge planters cost??
I agree...that cobalt orchid doesn't look real. I should have bought it!

Marnie ~ Oh boy ... just go to one show and you'll die from all the wonderfulness you'll see!

Cosmo ~ That witch hazel stopped you dead in your tracks. I should have taken a photo of it in its entirety. It was about 3-4 feet tall and solid yellow.

Pat said...

Fun tour !
Thanks for sharing. What a great way to take a break from the winter blues!

bg_garden said...

This is a wonderful entry. I wish We would have made the two hour drive to attend. BTW - I love your blog and I am in NW Ohio as well!
The Ohio Home and Garden Show is going on in Columbus this week if you are interested.

Happy Bloom Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Those orchids look so cool. I agree with you about the planting around the hardscaping. It looks a little thin.

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