First, some meeting and greeting. White House floral designer Laura Dowling demonstrated floral design, a talk I didn’t stay for but I did get to chat with Laura about gardens in DC.
I’m a big fan of alternative lawn types, so I stopped at the Pearl’s Premium booth to find out more about this product I’ve heard about but never seen growing. Owner Jackson Madnick convinced me that his blend of seed types is succeeding even here in the tricky transition zone for turfgrasses and promised to send me a list of sites in the Mid-Atlantic where I can see Pearl’s fully established and thriving. Gotta say, even in my short time at his booth I heard show-goers stop to praise the product, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t paid to do that.
And what a nice surprise to see Garden Design Magazine at the show for the first time. I neglected to take a photo but owner Jim Peterson sent me this one from the Seattle show. The folks I talked with – Barbara and Sarge, shown left and right in this group photo – convinced me to subscribe, which I did on the spot. So here’s a quick review: love it! Somehow it’s huge and gorgeous with no ads!
I did have a small gripe for Jim when he called me after the show. I explained that when I see garden photos in a magazine the first thing I want to know is where is it? And in the Early Spring 2015 issue, I loved the spread showing two of designer Brandon Tyson’s gardens, but it took 6 pages to tell me where they are. And complaint number two: the locations noted were “Marin County” and “Mill Valley.” This Easterner happens to know where Marin is but has never heard of Mill Valley. So while the magazine is far more regionally inclusive than it was under the previous owner, it can do more.
Take the Bus? Not ME!
Finally, why my show experience wasn’t the greatest and why it’s all my fault. See, I like to leave home when I want, return home when I want, and honestly, not have to chit-chat for five hours with a busload of people, so I’ve always driven myself and except for one time, with no passengers. You know how a solo drive can be enjoyable with the right podcasts or books on tape?
Except when it’s NOT enjoyable because first of all, it’s a busy, ugly stretch of superhighway between DC and Philly and this year I could hardly see the ugliness or the other cars because my windshield kept icing up. Then I had to park 10 snowy blocks from the Convention Center. And when I finally got to the show I ran into Kathy Jentz, who organizes those busloads of show-goers and reminded me that I could have boarded the bus very near to my home and let a professional driver deal with traffic. Plus, the windshield on the bus was ice-free.
So I’m rethinking my show-going strategy and next year I’ll leave the driving to someone else. I might even enjoy chatting with the other passengers.