Wednesday, March 11, 2009

1st Annual Flower & Garden Show

Last weekend was the 1st Annual Southwest Flower and Garden Show. It was beautiful early Saturday morning when I arrived, the Sweet Acacia trees blooming and the parking lot empty so I could get a good spot. Left click the pictures to enlarge.

I usually avoid Home & Garden shows. I’ve never been a very aggressive marketer or salesperson and I think it helps at home shows. But, this show was to be different. This was to be the beginning of a real Flower & Garden show in Phoenix. I was hopeful. A few others were too. The Arizona Nursery Association teamed up with the Arizona Chapter of the ASLA to judge a container garden contest. A couple of nurseries had some very beautiful displays of flowering plants, Gardener’s Eden and one of my favs, Desert Gardens Nursery. The Phoenix Art Museum had an exhibit, too. Our group, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Arizona Chapter, planned to provide some simple Landscape Design consultations on Saturday morning and Sunday.

I arrived early Saturday because I also wanted to take some pictures. Here is our APLD area. The lavender, Bush Morning Glory and Blue Hibiscus got a lot of attention all day.

I’m glad we had a place to sit during the consultations. Some people brought pictures, others brought sketches, some people just asked pointed questions. The consultations were fun, but not physically being in the yard was difficult for me.

Desert Gardens Nursery put together a very nice display. Two waterfalls and some very interesting plants.

But by far the best part of their display were these two islands of succulents. What a beautiful arrangement.

Here is the front.

The Best display of the show was by local Landscape Architect and Contractor, Chad Robert. Hats off to him and his company "Exteriors", for putting forth the effort to create a very interesting display. Obviously Sustainability was a big part of his message as many of the materials were recycled.

Interesting meandering path of used concrete (Urbanite) lined with lots of succulents.

The Presentation boards were great, but the light conditions and my meager camera skills prevented a good closeup. Notice the retaining walls.

The Aloe and Fescue in front of that blue wall is great. Like I said, succulents everywhere. This would be a very low water use landscape.

Here is the main entrance below. The sculpture just behind the awning was made from found materials as well I believe.

His use of used concrete with glass bottles placed here and there with lights tucked inside no-less show what you can do with recycled materials and little imagination.

I have to admit, I don’t know what his retaining walls are made of. Again, inserting the bottles sure made it interesting. I don’t think I could have passed up the opportunity to put lights inside those bottles though, but I’m obsessive that way.

Can you make out the bottles poking out of every other hole in the wall?
You might be thinking YUK! That looks rediculous! Step back a sec. Remember that a realistic display is not the goal. Realistic displays are a dime a dozen at virtually every home show and Phoenix has a lot of home shows. The idea here is to express concepts and new design asthetics, not realisim. They are supposed to stimulate your imagination and show off some of the designers talent. He integrated water conservation, recycled materials, innovative lighting, art in the landscape, and leading edge plant materials (all important design elements and challenges right now) into a beautiful space. Like I said, hats off.

As far as the show, there was diffinately space left open and traffic was probably slow for the "Slicer-Dicer and Miracle Cleaners" people. However, I think we should recognize this will take a few years and a better economy to grow into a really great Flower & Garden Show; we in the industry should join in and support the process. If we do support it, the show will grow and mature in quality. I found out about this show a little late this year. However, I am excited about putting together a display project for next year. Hopefully the economy will come around some, as well. I'm looking forward to it.


  1. That sounds really exciting! Glad you had the show, and I hope you'll get some business out of it.

  2. Gosh, how did I miss that? Would have loved to have gone. Ah well, maybe next year! :)

  3. WOW... wonderful show! I am super jealous of the flower shows put on out west. Thank you for sharing your photos from this event. Happy Planting!

  4. Thanks for posting ladies. I love the succulents. To me a great succulent arrangement is one of the most stunning. It will always get my attention. They use very little water as well.