After a long Chicago winter, the Chicago Flower and Garden Show is a sure sign spring is on the way. This years show took place March 18 – March 26 at  historic Navy Pier.

Filled with blooming flowers, shrubs and trees alongside artistic renditions of Chicago landmarks, the pier held up to the theme “Chicago’s Blooming”. The market area was filled with everything from fresh cut flowers to succulents and garden tools to cheese,

Combined with education and beauty, here are a few of my favorite exhibits at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2017.

-The Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, designed by Stanec

Chicago artist demonstrating ways to incorporate unique sculpture in the garden. Different local art  surrounded by a mass planting of roses.  My senses were stimulated and I took my lunch break on a bench in the middle of this beautiful rose garden. It was a perfect spot to show case using art sculptures in the garden.

 

 

– “It’s not a garden, it’s a (r)evoltution”, designed by the Chicago School of Agriculture.

This CPS college preparatory high school provides opportunities for students from across the city to study agriculture with the goal of developing marketable skills as well as college level competencies. Since Chicago is fast becoming a leader in urban farming, this display developed by our next generation was refreshing. The exhibit displayed a timeline of some of Chicago’s famous landmarks, The Board of Trade, The Crain Communications Building and The Willis Tower (I still can’t get used to the name). As well as a hand cranked Ferris Wheel holding buckets of  golden marigolds. All of this surrounded by herbs and vegetables recognizing the social impact of food production and distribution.

 -Window Box Exhibit, designed by the Illinois Garden Club

This exhibit, designed by The Garden Clubs of Illinois, is a display and a competition. Entries from individual Garden Clubs around Illinois submit a container garden that is then displayed in window box fashion. Shown against a wooden wall display, each unique box hangs bearing spring at every glance. Folks can vote via text through out the week of the show and the winner has bragging rights for a year. Boxes are labeled with plant content and the creativity with local gardeners gets stronger every year.

 

I had the opportunity once again this year to volunteer with the University of Illinois Master Gardener, “Ask the Master Gardener” information booth.

Purple Senetti

“What’s the name of that purple daisy looking plant over there?,” was a reoccurring question, as they pointed to the Welcome Home exhibit down the way. I didn’t recognize it , but it had a daisy familiarity to it. So, I looked it up and shared my new found knowledge.

According to Proven Winners, Senetti is a brand name given to a new cultivar on the market. It comes in purple, pink, magenta, and a tri -colored variety. An early spring plant that prefers it cool, with a wonderful re-bloom ability.  A non-native to the United States, it grows in clump form and can handle full sun to part shade. It grows 12″-15″ and makes a good cut flower.

At the information booth I was paired with a rookie Master Gardener named Laurie. It was a joy to share the booth with her and build up a fellow Master Gardener’s confidence. You never know what question you are going to get when you volunteer with “Ask the Master Gardner”. If you don’t know the answer, there are plenty of resources available to find out. It takes time, patience and lots of continuing education to become an experienced Master Gardner.

For me the Chicago Flower and Garden Show continues to reassure me that there are plenty of people like me in the world, like minded gardeners ready for new ideas. They too, are waiting for the soil to warm up so they can plant,transplant and divide there green spaces into whatever they dream of.