Today was all about plants (different from other days how?). Earlier this week, I won two tickets to the Capital Home & Garden Show from the Washington Gardener magazine's monthly e-newsletter reader contest. Awesome, sure--but I don't have a vehicle anymore, and the show was near Dulles. Not exactly accessible.

That is, until I was all like "Hey National Arboretum horticulturalist friend, I have a free ticket, you have a car, wanna?" and he was all like "OMG totally let's."

It was pretty much a bust. We got lost in a business park/strip mall. The expo centre was part of a strip mall and looked like it was an old Home Depot (appropriate theme, sure, but really...?). The "idea gardens" were... Well... Meh. Too much mulch, too many tulips and daffodils. I didn't even take pictures of them. There were two booths we stopped at in the entire convention (it was pretty big--two buildings!). The first was a design company (I didn't take notes or get cards, unfortunately, so no links for you!). We spoke with Jane, a designer, about the living wall she put together. She shoved the plants in pretty tight, but it looked very well-done. The colours went beautifully together and with the wood in the background. It's giving me ideas...! (Her photo album of her home that she wanted to show us also gave me a few ideas... But I guess for a designer/artist such as herself, such plants and streams and crazy-awesome rock walls could be a business expense for tax purposes. Not so for me. Besides, I'd have to own a home first, right?)

The other booth we stopped at was the only actual nursery there selling anything. I would have thought that the "Capital Home & Garden Show" would have, y'know, something for gardens, but really it was more about grills, cabinets, purses, sushi makers, and stuff like that. The one place (again, I don't remember the name...) had some pretty cool Tillandsia, some palms, and wicked Cyclamen. I just had to try for the scary-dinosaur-going-to-eat-me money shot for Aerelonian... It didn't turn out as well as previous shots of my own plants because these Cyclamen were on the floor. With my shoulder, I couldn't get in a good position without tripping people in the aisle, so I decided to be satisfied with a less-than-optimal shot. I hope it's scary enough.

My friend and I tried going to Thanksgiving Farms, in Buckeystown, Maryland, but they weren't open... We then got lost trying to find Potomac, Maryland, where there is a Behnkes, a local awesome-wonderful garden centre. Problem was that it isn't that good a time of year for garden centres... So we trudged to the Beltsville location. It had a better selection, but both of us ended up slightly disappointed and didn't buy anything. (I would have if he had, but I couldn't peer pressure him into getting anything, and I didn't want him to judge me any more than he does for growing things that are inappropriate for a living room environment. He never tasted the pasta sauce I made with my living-room-grown peppers and tomatoes, however, so pthhhhht!)

But, he did put together this nice collection for me (Cryptanthus, Saxifraga, and...erm?). He thinks these will be more appropriate for my environment. I can't argue with that... But I like to push the envelope and see what I can achieve in suboptimal conditions. I'm modifying my edibles plan a bit (I'm planning a bit in advance, I should say!) so that the plants I'm growing are more amenable to the conditions I can provide.

A great day, in all, but less money spent than hoped. Maybe I'll just have to order something off the internet...

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2 Responses to Plantcapades

  1. I went to the Home and Garden Show years ago when it was downtown at the convention center. There were lots of potted bloomers like tulips and azaleas, lots of gazebos and fountains, but little inspiration for me.

  2. I totally relate! I don't go to ours anymore even though the convention center is less than a mile from me! You get assaulted by the hot tub salesmen, sunroom people, and every ridiculous thing you can imagine. You will find the real gardeners huddled at the little table of Master Gardeners they keep hidden away doing a demonstration for kids! The rest is garbage!


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