Sometimes it just needs to exist.
This was not my year for any of the big shows, but I did have a chance to see a different local event—in Rochester, where I did a couple talks. And this weekend, I’ll be visiting Buffalo's, mainly to support friends who have projects there.
The display gardens in small venues rarely have the wow factor of you’ll find at Canada Blooms or the Philadelphia show, but there are generally a couple elements here and there that might give you an idea. Or just raise a smile.
The shopping is usually good. Interesting or bizarre bulbs, high-quality specialty tools, and artisan-made décor are always around. Some of it is much more fun at the show than it would be if you actually bought it, but last year there were some really distinctive welded fountains that would never see the inside of a big box or most garden centers. This year I bought a couple dragonflies made out of knives and forks. I am thinking I can use them instead of stakes.
As for the crowds, it’s hard to say. The Buffalo show had the same numbers it always did last year, but the Rochester show did seem a bit thin last Friday. It could be the recession as much as the fact that gardeners are less interested in ornamental gardening.
The gardeners I spoke to were all the same. They wanted to look at plants, gardens, and garden tools and talk about gardens. That’s all. They’re sick and tired of winter and it wouldn’t take much for a show like this to provide some kind of respite. Because it’s there.