Each year Mike and I look forward to speaking at the Flower Shows as well as viewing the display gardens and visiting with vendors. A few weeks ago we were at both the Rhode Island and Connecticut Flower & Garden Shows.
We were at the Rhode Island show on Thursday when Mike presented a demonstration called “Growing Great Roses in 6 Easy Steps” and included pruning a potted rose that he had wintered over in our ‘crib’ just for the show. We spent some time at the RI Rose Society booth and chatted with a few folks who later joined the society. There wasn’t much time to view the gardens, but we managed to see the sand sculpture that we look forward to seeing each year. This year the sculpture featured a lighthouse. (See photo above.)
On Friday we had more time to check out the show after our lecture “Rose Gardening Season by Season” and it was a treat to admire the creativity used in so many of the gardens. I especially enjoy seeing the unique ideas used for hardscape. Above is a picture of a large branch of bittersweet, of all things, that caught my eye at the show. It reminded me of the piece of driftwood we spotted on the shore on one of our walks along the East Bay Bike Path. Mike calls it The Night Watchman.
One of my favorite display gardens at the RI show was “The Birds & the Bees & Other Creations” by Adam Salisbury from Pawtucket, RI. Using recycled and found materials, he created some whimsical hardscape.
Another display I found most impressive was the Fenway Rooftop Garden by Cityscapes from Boston, MA. They showed vegetables and herbs grown in lined milk crates against the backdrop of Fenway Park’s Green Monster scoreboard. Growing vegetables in milk crates is a novel idea, especially when you lack space for a traditional garden.
On Saturday we hit the road early for the 2-hour drive to Hartford, CT and the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show where we had 2 lectures: “David Austin Roses for New England Gardens” in the morning and “25 Fabulous Roses” later on. In between lectures we had time for a quick lunch and then we took a stroll around the show floor to see the gardens as well as many of the vendors.
The first garden we went to see was also our favorite: The Connecticut Rose Society’s rose garden. It featured Downton Abbey roses such as Anna’s Promise and Pretty Lady Rose in a Victorian/Edwardian setting that even included an area with table and chairs where afternoon tea could be served. Many of the roses were in bloom and we know from past experience how difficult it is to force roses into bloom on time for a winter event. They succeeded, though, and their garden looked fabulous when we were there on Saturday. By Sunday, under the heat of the lights from the show, I’m sure this rose garden was even better! Hats off to Connecticut Rose Society
Water features are often used in gardens but the display garden created by Hillside Landscaping was outstanding. Their water feature was an upright piano with plants growing out of its top and water rushing out below the keys. They even added a piano player wire sculpture. Fantastic.
There were many other gardens we admired, but we didn’t have quite enough time to stop and enjoy them between lectures. In a few weeks we’ll be at the Boston Flower & Garden Show and can’t wait to see what creative and beautiful designs we’ll find there.
If you make it to the Boston Show, stop by and say hello. We’ll be there on Saturday March 19 at 1:30.