Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Garden Show

I attended the South Coast Spring Garden Show in Orange County this weekend.  To say that I was underwhelmed by the display gardens is an understatement.  I was disappointed by last year's exhibits but more so by this year's offerings.  Rather than show the majority of these as I did last year, I'll show you just a few.

Once again this year, the best exhibit was presented by Orange Coast College's Horticulture Club.  However, as Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden posted earlier, it bore similarities to last year's construction, which was also comprised of a wood deck, wood benches and raised planters.  Still, I felt it did what most of the other exhibits didn't: created a snapshot of ideas representative of a real garden.


 





This one, put together by Saddleback College's Landscape Design Alumni Association, had elements I liked, although I think the central sculpture overwhelmed the space.






I acknowledge the difficulty of creating the impression of a garden in a relatively small space, especially a space in the middle of the visually busy atmosphere of a shopping mall, but some exhibitors didn't put much creative thought into the effort.  The following exhibit, an ode to a garden honoring former First Lady Pat Nixon at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, was a mish-mash of poorly associated plants.




At least the memorial park that created a display, complete with sample gravestones, to sell visitors on its services was absent this year.

On the other hand, the floral centerpiece in the middle of the shopping mall area used for the exhibits, designed as in prior years by Fiesta Parade Floats, was nicely done.

The multi-story birdbath was populated by a variety of birds covered in floral materials

Photographed from the top level of the mall




The Iris Society also had some nice specimens on display.

Iris 'Mad World'

Iris 'Midnight Kitty'

My favorite, Iris 'Oil Painting'



My main goal in driving one hour to the south to attend the event was to see what the vendors attending the show had to offer.  I'll post some photos of my expedition through the top 2 floors of the show later this week.


14 comments:

  1. I do like the winning exhibit, several ideas there that one can apply to ones garden. They may have to vary the design though for future editions before their formula gets tired. The birdbath is fab, reminds me of the sort you find in the floral marquee at Chelsea!

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  2. Even though there were a few takeaways, I'm glad most of our garden shows dispense with the "display gardens" and stick to showing and selling plants that may be hard to find otherwise. Look forward to seeing the plants on offer.

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  3. Those are some interesting iris! Not at all like the traditional purple iris.

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  4. I love the first display and all that wood in the decking and benches.. I wish I had a deck.

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  5. Mark & Gaz, I like this year's floral centerpiece too, although I have to say it reminds me a bit of one of our Rose Parade floats.

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  6. Shirley, for all practical purposes, it seems that this OC garden show has eliminated the emphasis on garden displays they had years ago - I think I'd prefer that they stick to amateur creations as most of those involve a degree of effort and creativity.

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  7. I'm already regretting my decision not to invest in any more specialty Iris this year, SweetBay. The flowers don't last long in the garden but many are spectacular.

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  8. Based on what this group produced the last 2 years, Amy, they put at least as much effort into the hardscape as they do into their plant selections.

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  9. It's always interesting to watch garden shows evolve over time. There are some great things about some of the show gardens but the Pat Nixon memorial is a bit odd.

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    1. I think more effort went into explaining the Nixon-based display than went into its creation, Peter.

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  10. I find shows like these are best viewed as if they were a Hollywood movie. They never feel real or even that welcoming. They're just displays that happen to include plants. But they would make going to the mall more interesting. :o)

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    1. Well, Hollywood produces a few gems among the duds so I guess I'll have to cross my fingers that 2015 is a better year...

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  11. By the way. OCC's garden had no similarity to last year's entry at all. There was no wood deck. Planters were curved and finished with a patina coated metal.

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    1. You're right - I went back and locked at my photos from last year. It was the overhead wood structure and benches I was thinking of. The OCC group did a great job both years and I look forward to their 2015 creation.

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