Flower and Garden Show Inspires Green Growers


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By Lindsey Rabbitt

Last week thousands of Bay Area citizens flocked to the San Mateo Event Center to enjoy the 2012 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, despite some pesky rain. This year’s theme was “Gardens for a Greener Earth,” and the annual expo boasted sustainable exhibits to educate and inspire. Hundreds of vendors came to represent the best and newest in horticulture around the bay.

The smell of garlic and herbs wafted in between the two buildings. Visitors browsed booths filled with unique and sustainable art and other goods while munching on locally-grown food. Kids explored full-size, living replicas of garden ecosystems with dewy plants of the sub-Saharan African bush all around them and dense dirt underfoot.

29 gardens and hundreds of vendors sprawled across two buildings. Sierra Club Green Home found San Mateo’s own Ah Sam Flowers’ display “Imagine… Endless Possibilities,” which won the bronze, among the most memorable. With help from G. Anders Schmidt Gardens and a few other local nurseries, designers Shawn Leong and Michael Brundage created a magical, Asian-inspired tea garden with hints of Alice in Wonderland throughout.

“Any garden can be green. What we’re doing is showing the sustainable part, in fantasy mode,” says Anders Schmidt, who enlightened us on some sustainable soil retention and drip irrigation tactics. He also showed us the garden shed they had built entirely of recycled pallets. By using permeable paving and native plants, anyone can plant a sustainable, water-saving garden.

PG&E used the expo to spread the word about sustainable tree planting, and helped visitors determine which native trees would thrive best in their neighborhood. They also helped PG&E customers decide where to plant trees based on avoiding power lines and conserving electricity. Trees can conserve electricity by blocking or letting in sunlight.

For more urban Bay Area citizens, Academy of Art University student Emanuel Gonzales presented his “city parklet” garden design. By using found objects and overlooked spaces that are otherwise considered ugly, Gonzales showed that any space can become beautiful.

He used smooth rocks that shift softly underfoot for the floor of the garden, and lined the space with dumpsters-turned-planters. He used old pieces of metal to create light, abstract sculptures that peeked out between plants, and used pieces of recycled, colored glass to create an azure river with bright orange fish beneath the park benches. Abstract graffiti art on recycled pieces of wood lined the sides of the dumpster-planters, giving the entire space a cohesive feel. The parklet felt nothing like an overlooked street corner. It seemed to carry the message that nature can come back to life in any urban jungle.

Whether you’re interested in simply planting a few flowers or in building an entire home, the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show offers the perfect blend of inspiration and support. The whole family can enjoy this event every year, with new innovations every time.

For related articles, see:
A Container Garden For Any Space
Changi Airport, Singapore’s Green Gateway

© 2012 SCGH, LLC. 

One Response

  1. Melissa July 14, 2012

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