Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cincinnati Flower Show 2009 - Part One

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.

There were some pretty amazing bonsais and we got some great tips on growing them from this vendor.

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!

Sweet potato curbs!

Yes, the shoes are planted with lettuce.

More favorite displays:

The roof of the bird feeder was planted with live plants.

A true cottage garden.

There are always a few displays that are full of whimsy.

Fishing, anyone?

I really liked the Asian influence in this one, which also has a bit of Frank Lloyd Wright look to it.

Copper fountains

Beautiful colors and textures here ...

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.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Kylee! Thanks for taking us on a tour! I saw several things I've never seen before and I like them! How do people get all those ideas?!

bg_garden said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! For sharing this wonderful garden show in Ohio. I LOVE IT!!! I am super jealous and wish I could have come along. I think one of my favorites is the live roof bird house! AWESOME!!!!!!

Happy Spring

Kylee Baumle said...

Tatyana ~ You know, I've wondered the same thing! I'm continually amazed at the creativity of some people!

Bren ~ You really need to attend this show sometime! If you are an AHS member, you get in FREE!
I liked that bird feeder too!

Susie Q said...

What a wonderful tour! I am especially interested as I am ging tomorrow! I have never been so am quite excited. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and looking at all the photos! I have it bookmarked (amd became a foloowewr too) so I can return often!

Enjoy the sounds like a pretty one!

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, what FUN! I might have to arrange to visit my friend in Cincinnati next year during the flower show... looks like it's definitely worth the trip!

By the way, in that first of the "landscaping" photos, what are the white/blue(?) flowering things on the short posts?

Kylee Baumle said...

Susie Q ~ You'll have a wonderful day at the show and with much better weather! I can't wait to hear what you think of it. This was my third time going.

Thanks for visiting Our Little Acre and for following! I hope you will return often! :-)

Kim ~ Have you ever gone to the Cincy Show? It's different than the Cleveland one - both are nice.
I'm not sure what those are. They look nice though, don't they? Sorry!

Nutty Gnome said...

I really enjoyed the tour - I love the copper fountains and the fairy garden! Flower shows always give me even more ideas to try to fit into my own garden!!!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Despite the weather it looks like you had some wonderful displays to view and people to talk to. I could really get into bonsai. I just love to see them. I am afraid I would just kill them though. The fairy homes made of logs are very creative. FUN to see all.

Victoria Williams said...

Looks chilly, but I guess if you dress warmly enough....
Love the willow birdhouses. The old woman in a shoe display..what can I say? Fantastic.
Think we might have to copy the bird feeder with the plants on the roof. We have one that is the same shape. Just need to add the plants!

flydragon said...

Wow, what a great tour of a great flower show!!! So many gorgeous pictures. Sorry the weather didn't cooperate for you. Oriental Lily bulbs for $1...I've would have had a bag full:)) Looking forward to seeing the window boxes next.

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