Thursday, February 21st, 2008...10:31 am

The 2008 New Jersey Flower Show


Photo titled “Mossy” taken at The New Jersey Flower Show - by Corx 

Spring is almost here. So what can garden lovers across the country do before and during spring? Well, one thing is to go to the garden shows in your area or make a destination trip to one of the garden shows in an area of interest. This is the time to see flowers that you might want to grow in your garden or in your home or get landscaping ideas, and it is the best way to get an early taste of spring.

TheGardenLady is remiss in not writing this column earlier because an excellent garden show that TheGardenLady went to was the NJ Flower Show in the Conference Center in Edison, NJ.  TheGardenLady has been going to this show for many years. When I first went to this show I thought it was pathetic. But in the last few years the show has been getting better and better. And this year the show was excellent.

The first thing one saw on entering were the Show Gardens. This year’s 8 gardens asked for the visitors to vote on the favorite. I must say that I liked each one so much, that I could not and would not choose a favorite.  Rutgers University Gardens: School of Environmental and Biological Sciences had a large exhibit that included a large tic- tac toe fountain for the garden made up of 9 squares with water fountains coming from the center. Each center had fiber optic lighting that changed from white to red to blue when you used the little computer like system to play tic- tac toe. Or, of course, you could keep the lights  colored when you weren’t playing. This fountain was surrounded by flowering plants including flowering almond (Prunus glandulosa) trees. 

Another garden, by the New Jersey Conservation Partnership, had gorgeous tomato plants filled with luscious looking ripe tomatoes growing in planters within their flower garden.

Other gardens had interesting sculpture, or ponds or fancy lighting systems – I liked the use of fiber optics shining on fountains or a garden light made of bronze to look like a flowering vine. And the flowers in bloom were such a refreshing sight during this cold weather; the daffodils, the primroses, the orchids among others.

Then there were the judged plants brought in by individuals. This year had a large number of different plants including boughs from evergreens, or unusual plants or flowers that were forced.

There were also flower arrangements of differing types as well as the miniature shadow boxes made of vegetative material. Among the charming miniatures were 3 bud roses in a tiny vase and a tiny doll made to look like a fairy creature with her acorn cap in a village of tree parts.

And then there were vendors. This year the vendors were so excellent that TheGardenLady, who never cares about shopping at these shows, wanted to buy everything but was limited because there is only so much I could carry. Many of the booths had art or work by artisans. So besides the vendors that sold flowers or plants like Atlock Farm whose display of Topiary was breathtaking or Peony’s Envy with their gorgeous photographs of peonies, there were vendors who sold butterflies from Peru that were artistically framed in Peru; a vendor who sold his wife’s hand done Literary Calligraphy and a photographer, Duncan Hall, from England who now lives in Connecticut who had taken photographs, mostly of gardens, around the world. D&M Images is the name of his company  Hall’s photographs, all taken using a Hasselblad camera and printed by the photographer, were gorgeous.

Now I am eager to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show,  March 2nd to March 9th, at the PA Convention Center. If you don’t know about this show or have never been to it, check it out and make it a point to try to get to it. This year’s theme is “Jazz it Up” From the Roaring ’20s to New Orleans’ French Quarter, the 2008 Philadelphia Flower Show claims they will inspire people to jazz it up.

TheGardenLady thinks the Phila. Flower Show is the largest, most prestigious indoor flower show in the world. And it is extraordinary. The show gardens are stunning. Their flower competitions are extraordinary – TheGardenLady looks forward to seeing how many Best of Show ribbons one exhibitor gets – her name is Mrs. Hamilton and her plants are to swoon over. One warning is that because this is such a magnificent show, the crowds are daunting.

After the Phila. Flower Show the next Flower Show I look forward to is the Macy’s Flower Show starting March 13th which will have as this year’s theme the Latino culture.  This flower show is different from the previous shows I spoke about because it is not geared to being educational or having plant competitions or having vendors. This is a show of flowers, flowers and more flowers – I was told that the exhibitor uses more flowers than any other show in the world. They are placed in the Macy’s Windows and on their first floor.

Last year some flowers were made into creative sculpture – they made a giraffe and a zebra out of succulents. For a description of last’s year’s show check this out.  Last year as well as this year the nursery doing the show is the Martin Viette Nursery from Long Island. 

There are many other flower shows that TheGardenLady does not have the space to write about. Check out the ones that are in your part of the country.  See here and here.

Let TheGardenLady readers know about any Flower Shows that you have been to and highly recommend.

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