Sunday, February 24, 2013

Connecticut Flower & Garden Show

Spring has sprung, at least at the Hartford Convention Center this weekend for the 32nd Annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show.  "Love in Bloom" was the theme this year although it either wasn't always evident as a design element in the displays or I fell down on the job as an observer.  Not to worry, it's the thought that counts.

After a few years these shows start looking like much of the same, but I always pop in for a few hours if for nothing else to see green and smell fresh bark mulch.  Usually I'm not disappointed and often I'm pleasantly surprised.  This year I was both.  Beware, this post is photo heavy.  I considered breaking it up into two segments but couldn't figure out a logical breaking point.  As a compromise I attempted to strive for verbal brevity.

Like a beacon, these colorful metal sculptures immediately caught my eye as soon as I walked into the exhibit hall.  They are the creation of local artist Karen Rossi.  When I got home and checked out her website I found out she is also the artist behind the Fanciful Flights ornaments that were popular gift items a few years ago.  Her Norfolk, CT studio will definitely be on the garden shopping tour this spring.

To give credit where credit is due, this display was by Connecticut Homescapes a member of The Yard Group.  I don't recall seeing them at the show before.  By garden show standards I thought their display was well done.  When I visited their website and checked out the gallery of their work I was impressed.  Here's a few more shots of the display.

Another exhibitor I don't recall seeing before was Creative Contours who designed this delightful dining area and table scape.

"Love In Bloom" by Creative Contours

A regular exhibitor at the show, Aquascapes of CT never disappoints.  I wish I'd gotten a better shot of his pond.

"Love in Bloom" by Aquascapes of CT

Pondering Creations is another garden show regular who always puts together a nice design.

"Love In Bloom" by Pondering Creations

Best to capture the future garden nuts early.

Ponds and waterfalls always make up a large percentage of the landscape displays at the show.  Every year I come home and scope out my garden for a potential location.  What ends up scaring me away is the addition maintenance.  I already have more than I can handle.  Adam's Watergardens created this elaborate display.

"Love In Bloom" by Adam's Watergardens

Ballek's doesn't do a landscape display.  For the show, they're all about tender plants and conservatory decor which they do quite well.

Usually The Connecticut Horticultural Society uses a more unusual plant palette and has one of the best landscape designs.  Lawn be gone was the theme and I'm all for that but this year I just wasn't feeling the love for this design.

Really?  I realize they're popular but...well let's call it a first for the flower show.

Above ground pool aside, I did like this little hot tub and bistro table vignette.  According to the show floor plan, this exhibit was Landscapes by Design.  However a google search is not turning up a website for them.

Perennial Harmony had a fun twist-a playhouse for kids and another for chickens.

A few random shots...Supreme Landscapes website found.

Loved this very natural but subtle water feature by Hillside Landscaping in Berlin.  I couldn't find a website, just a Facebook page with no activity.

Stonehedge Landscaping is just a few minutes from work and one of my regular local haunts.

And of course what would a garden show be without a plethora of vendors, many who have absolutely nothing to do with gardening?

Vendors and artists of over the top garden ornaments are not common around here so this dragonfly was a natural draw.  Getting a decent picture of it proved impossible due to the maddening crowd but suffice it to say that with a price tag of $11,500 you won't be seeing it in my garden anytime soon ever.

For some reason my friend Monique insisted I take this picture for the blog.  Anyone know why?

Another garden destination trip this year will be to Fentonriver Studio in Storrs to see more of Shauna Shane's cast concrete art.  Fortunately I have a couple of very talented friends who create painted cast concrete leaves in their spare time so I have a few leaves in my collection but in my opinion one would be hard pressed to have too many.

OK, if you made it this far, then you most likely need a drink.


In keeping with our traditional garden show experience we passed on the garden show libations and headed out to a local eatery for a long, leisurely lunch.  Salute, located just off Bushnell Park was the the choice this year and it did not disappoint.  Rather than assault you with more pictures, I'll leave you with just one-our desserts-mine was the warm molten lava cake with vanilla gelato, candied walnuts and chocolate sauce.  Consider it the perfect end of winter.  This morning my Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise' started blooming and there was a flock of robins stripping the berries of the Viburnum in the back garden.  Spring can't be far off.