Genevieve Schmidt and I took a road trip to San Francisco last week for the garden show. She's done such a good job summing the whole thing up on her blog that I have little to add, except to say:
The lettuce hanging in tubes thing? It was the subject of much debate during our post-show sangriafest at Cha Cha Cha Cuba (which, by the way, is definitely the place to go after the show). There were about 15-20 of us around the table, and opinions were split between those who thought that garden shows should offer practical demonstrations so as not to confuse the easily confused neophyte gardeners, and those who thought that lettuce growing in tubes and suspended in an interested geometric pattern was–well–interesting. Besides, where else are you going to do a large-scale horticultural conceptual art project?
I fall into the second group. I approve of the lettuce in tubes.
Here is what I most certainly do NOT approve of:
This hideous display garden was really just an excuse to show off the sort of hardscaping that suburban homeowners with more money than taste might regard as being Tuscany-like and therefore worth spending a great deal of money on. But apparently, once they got it built,they realized that it needed some plants, too, what with it being a garden show! So somebody must have run out to Home Depot and bought — well, whatever. It was the most absurd hodgepodge of incompatible and unrelated plants I've ever seen. In the bed to the right was a Japanese maple with a planting of kalanchoes underneath it, gerbera daisies planted next to rhododendrons, lavender and chrysanthemum tucked in next to each other–really, it was ridiculous. Absurd. And not at all high concept, abstract plant art, just ignorant nonsense.
Or wait. Maybe it was high concept plant art! Is it possible that the whole point of the project was to elicit scorn from gardeners? A way of commenting on the comments? Some sort of postmodern, meta display in which the real display was not the display, but the gardeners mocking the display?
Anyway, The Mockery of a Garden won a lot of medals, for reasons I'll never understand.