Monday, March 15, 2010

Joe Lamp'l Likes My Jacket

If you thought the displays at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show were the most fun Mom and I had while in Chicago, that would be a good thought, but a wrong one.  She and I can manage to have fun wherever we go, even if it's on the second floor of McDonald's (NYC) or the Walmart behind the hotel (Grand Rapids, MI).  Sometimes we even tell about the fun we had.

Saturday night, after we managed to shut down the flower show at 9:00, we were fortunate to share a cab back to our hotel, the DoubleTree, with Alice Strong, founder and owner of the SeedBallz Company,  along with a couple of her employees.  Earlier in the day, I'd been given a sample of their seed balls to plant and review.  While in the cab, Alice and I chatted about her company and I learned some really great stuff about it, which I'll share later in a separate post.

Once back in our room, Mom and I got settled in by putting our snacks in their fully-stocked refrigerator.  We took their things out and put some of our pop cans in, along with some dill dip we'd brought along for snacking with chips.  On top of the dresser where the refrigerator was housed, there were other drinks, including some really awesome glass bottled water.  I picked one up to show to Mom, then put it back.

Mom went into the bathroom and as I was straightening things up, I happened to look at the card that was laying on the dresser and noticed it said, "Lifting product will charge to room." It was a kind of delayed reaction, but when the reality of that statement took full effect in my brain, I experienced that "fight or flight" kind of feeling in my gut.



"I think we're in trouble."

I quickly got out of my pajamas and into regular clothes and told Mom I'd be back.  I got into the elevator and spent the next seven floors figuring out just how I was going to talk the hotel into removing $52 worth of drinks we didn't consume from our bill.

Now it is a well-known fact that I can talk my way into and out of just about anything, using what my previous employer called my "excellent verbal skills."  My boss would have been proud of me.  The desk clerk stifled a smile when I explained what we'd done and instructed us to simply put things back, call back down to let they know we'd done that, and they'd remove the charges.  That was the best drunk we never got.

The next day, we got up early to have breakfast and make our way back to Navy Pier for another day of the flower show.  We met MrBrownThumb and Gina (My Skinny Garden) for coffee.  Mom and I had met them last year at Spring Fling and we'd looked forward to getting together this weekend.  About an hour later, we made our way back to the press room, where a seed swap among Tweeters was scheduled to take place at 10:00.

L-R: Xan, Abbie, Linda, Julia, MrBrownThumb, Alex's hands

There, we saw many familiar faces as well as a few new ones.  Those attending the swap, in addition to Gina and MrBrownThumb, were Linda (Garden Girl), Cara (Blue_Hydrangea), Xan (Mahlzeit), Alex (Finding My Green Thumb), Julia (Snarky Vegan), Melissa, Abbie (K-Town Homestead) , and Diane (The Garden of Live Flowers).  I left my first swap with seeds for my beloved Himalayan Blue Poppy, Variegated Purple Cleome, and 'Moon and Stars' Watermelon.

There were some other fun people in that press room, too.  I recognized a certain man in a distinctive pink shirt and walked over to introduce myself, as he had instructed me to do when we'd chatted on Twitter.  It was none other than the one and only Joe Lamp'l, a.k.a. Joe Gardener.

As I reached out to shake his hand, he was having none of that, being the warm-hearted southern gentleman that he is, and gave me a hug.  We chatted a bit, he signed his book for me (read my review here), and as we had our picture taken together, he told me liked my jacket.  Yes, he really did, and it was because it was green, which makes total sense because Joe is all about living "green."  He's all about nice, too.

We attended his presentation on Sunday morning - The $25 Victory Garden -  and were thoroughly entertained by the synopsis of his adventure in gardening last year, where he was challenged to grow enough food to feed his family of four on $25.  How he did it held us rapt for the entire hour, as did his down-to-earthiness. Joe is one of us!

Shawna and I found each other at the Cobrahead booth

Shawna Coronado was also there and we continued our conversation where we'd left off the day before, when we met up in the marketplace, and later when we had dinner together.  I don't think we would ever run out of things to talk about!  Shawna, too, ranks high on the niceness scale.

Unfortunately, Mom and I weren't able to attend Shawna's presentation at the show - Vegetable Gardening Nude: How Getting Metaphorically Naked Changed My Life and Helped Me Feed My Family, Neighborhood, and City In A Down Economy - because she spoke on the second weekend and we attended the first.  A missed opportunity to hear Shawna speak means you've  lost a chance to appreciate life on a whole other level.

And then there were These Two:

Me, in the middle of all kinds of trouble...

I capitalize "These Two" because if you've ever run into them, you know that lower case just won't do.  For those of you that may have thought gardening was boring (perish the thought!), Jean Ann Van Krevelen and Amanda Thomsen would like to have a word with you. For more about them, a good place to start would be their blog, Good Enough Gardening.

Mom and I attended their presentation at the show - Plant or Purchase? Which Edibles to Grow and Why.  They provided food for thought about which things you might want to grow because of the pesticides that may be used by commercial growers.  Some are worse than others.

The day before, we had run into some other garden bloggers we'd met at Spring Fling and whose blogs we try to follow. The first familiar face we saw was that of Anneliese Valdes from Cobrahead at their vendor's booth. While we were there, a familiar voice called my name and I looked over to see Barbara from Mr. McGregor's Daughter and Rose from Ramble On Rose.

L to R: Rose, Anneliese, Barbara, Geoff and me

After admiring Barbara's succulents purchase from Ted's Greenhouse, we went on our way and proceeded to run into Rachel from On the Shores of Lake Chicago.  We'd first met her at Spring Fling last year, too.  It was at this point that we mentioned we were supposed to meet up with Shawna but I'd inadvertently left my cell phone back at the hotel. Rachel just happened to have Shawna's number in her phone and let me use it to call Shawna. Thanks, Rachel!

Rachel and I sharing a smile at the show

NOTE: Imagine my surprise when I tuned into Jeopardy! this evening and found that Rachel was a contestant! She won, too! Congratulations, Rachel! We'll be watching again tomorrow night and cheering you on!

Mom and I ran into Beth Botts (Growing in Chicago), too, and after a brief Tweet-up, we went to a pub there at Navy Pier and had dinner with Beth, Shawna, Bill Aldrich, and C.L. Fornari. Such great garden world conversation!

What would a flower and garden show be without some shopping?  I always hope to find something a little unusual at shows such as this.  I don't know that I did that, but I came home with some pretty cool purchases just the same.

There was a Dutch company there with some of the largest bulbs I've ever seen in my life.  Mom is holding a Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) bulb in this photo and the size was typical of many of the bulbs they were selling.

I was so tempted to buy all kinds of their bulbs, but limited myself to three pink Pineapple Lily (Eucomis sp.) bulbs, a package of beautifully colored Gladiolus, three large hardy Cyclamen hederifolium (and I do mean LARGE), and three Gloriosa Lily (Gloriosa superba) tubers.

I'll bet they sold a lot of the Gloriosas because they were featured in several of the display gardens and commanded a lot of attention, due to their frilly beauty. I hope mine will end up looking like this!

Though I didn't buy any of these, I loved seeing all the colorful and varied textures of the branches from this vendor.

I walked past the Streptocarpus and African Violets sold by Gary's Out of Africa several times, oohing and ahhing.  I was especially drawn to a Streptocarpus in a ceramic pot with a flower on it that matched the flowers of the plant itself.  The price tag said $20, which I assumed was just for the plant, since that was the general price of the other ones not in pots, so I figured it would be more than I wanted to spend.  I also remembered that I'd killed three Streptos previously, no doubt by overwatering, so I tried to ignore that little voice in the back of my head that wanted me to buy it.  Instead, I took a picture.  I figured it would last longer.  LOL.

 Streptocarpus 'Savanna's Pink Satin'

A little while later, we walked back by them again and the pretty pink Streptocarpus was still there.  This time, I asked if the $20 was for the plant and the pot and was told that it was.  So that caused me to get into a conversation with them about how not to kill it, if I bought it.  Gary gave me his business card and told me to call him if I had any problems.
Mom was losing patience with me, but it was just a process I had to go through to justify my purchase! Yes, I bought it. Now it's a week later and it still looks good! One week down and 372 to go...

I also purchased some of those awesome succulents from Ted's, just like nearly everyone else at the show.  They were only $2 apiece, so how could I not?  I should have bought more.  Just before we left for home, I bought a rain gauge to put out in Max's Garden.  I've always wanted one for out there.

There were several jewelry dealers at the show, and I found two necklaces that I couldn't live without.  One was a red daisy-type flower (the real thing) pressed between glass and framed in silver and the other was a Hill Tribe silver flower pendant.

Was there anything I saw that I wanted, but didn't buy?  Of course.

This Hellebore.

The Burgon and Ball widger shown on the far lower right of this display at Landreth Seeds.


MrBrownThumb said...

LOL @ the photoshopping.

It was nice seeing you and your mom again and getting to spend some time with the both of you.

I was just going through my photo archive from last should've seen the size of the cyclamen corms (tubers?) they had last year. They were the size of dinner plates.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Well, your jacket IS nice. You (and your mom) are always so well-dressed! Love that hellebore with the foxglove-like pattern. Looks like you had lots of fun meeting up with many folks!

"Daffodil Planter" Charlotte Germane said...

I love your "road trip" posts, and in this one you really captured the excitement of the folks and the show--thanks! Now I really can't wait for the SF show.

Connie said...

I like your jacket, too...that is one of my favorite colors for spring!
Great report on the Flower and Garden show.

Peg Wiggins said...

Fun to see you with the camera in-hand, Kylee!
The photographer behind all of the wonderful photos on the blog.
You remind me of a gun slinger with his pistol on his hip.

Theresa/ said...

Well, I am so jealous that Joe Lamp'l got to meet you and I did not!! I wish I could have made it to this show this year.

Next time we are filming anything in your area, I am telling Joe that I need to be there. Not for the filming, but so I can meet YOU!!

Loved this summary of your wonderful time at the show.

And for the record...I like your green jacket too!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

How did you come home with any money left when there were so many wonderful items to purchase. It looks like old home week with all the bloggers there. And yes, I love your green jacket.

Joe Lamp'l said...

Well what a fun post and I'm sure glad you did such a great job bringing us along for your trip since I didn't get to see or meet most of the people you did! But I sure am glad I go to meet you and of course your mom. What a pair you two are. So glad you had a great time and so did I. Thanks for all the kind words and the great post. And if you ever find your jacket in a men's medium, let me know!

Diane said...

You did such a great job of documenting everything, especially in the marketplace! I always feel weird taking pictures of things people are selling. Hahaha re: the photoshopping... some people just seem so much younger in their pictures, don't they?

I look forward to updates on the plants you bought. I got a pack of ginormous liatris corms that I can't wait to plant.

Alexandra said...

Wonderful post! Plus, I wondered why I suddenly got a gazillion hits on my unfortunately secret blog on Monday!

Jean said...

Looks like you had a grand time. My problem in being in theses places is...I want everything I see. You did very well! Good luck on the
streptocarpus! They are beautiful.

Angela said...

What a great post! Love the picture of MBT - ha ha.

Jan said...

Kylee, what fun you have with your mom! It's so nice the two of you have been able to do so much together! I really enjoyed your synopsis of your time in Chicago and loved your photos! How exciting to attend the presentations, get autographs, and just generally have a blast with so many garden personalities!

Kylee Baumle said...

MrBrownThumb ~ You haven't changed a bit since your childhood days! Mom and I both looked forward to seeing you again and had a great time with both you and Gina. Wish we lived closer to each other!

Dinner plate size? Wow. And I thought these were big!

Monica ~ We had a ball. Wish you could have been there at the same time!

Charlotte ~ I wish Mom and I could attend the SF show! Maybe someday!

Connie ~ It's one of my favorite colors, too. Gardening did that for me! :-)

Peg ~ I've pretty much always got my camera in hand when I go on the road. LOL. I'm obsessive about it!

Theresa ~ Well, I'm jealous that Joe gets to WORK with you! Does that make us even? LOL. You are always welcome here at Our Little Acre's B&B, whether you're filming something or not. I really hope we get to meet someday SOON!

Lisa ~ Oh believe me, I have to hold back. I've still got the Cincinnati Show in May and there are all kinds of wonderful things there, too. And Mom and I are going to attend the Holland Tulip Festival at the beginnin of May, so I have to save some money for that, too. (And work more!)

Joe ~ Meeting you was pure delight. You know I had stars in my eyes, but then as we talked, I saw you as one of us - "Joe Gardener" - and loved the conversation between two people who are passionate about gardening. I hope to do it again sometime.
About the far as I can determine, a women's size 16 ought to be about the size of a men's medium. And guess what? Monterey Bay just happens to have one. (I got mine for half that, though.)

Diane ~ Thanks! You'll love your liatris! I've got three of the purple ones, although they've multiplied some, so I'm not sure just how many are out there now. The butterflies love them!

Xan ~ Thanks! Oh...your blog was supposed to be a secret??

Jean ~ I have a very hard time resisting things. I have to do a lot of self-talking!

Angela ~ Thanks! He's so cute, isn't he? :-)

Jan ~ Yes, Mom and I have a ball. She's always up for anything! This Chicago trip was one of the best. It was fun to meet up with some old blogging friends and meet some new ones!

Shawna Lee Coronado said...

Love this post - especially the photoshop-ing of MBT - great job!


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