Monday, March 9, 2009

Garden Art at Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show

I had a memorable day my first time attending the Chicagoland Flower and Garden Show on Saturday with Spring Fling committee members Gina from My Skinny Garden, MrBrown Thumb, and Mr. McGregor's Daughter. You've probably seen some of their 'big picture' shots, so I thought I'd share a few fun pieces of garden art from the show. A moss pig looks like he was getting ready to nosh on the marigolds at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Art's display garden. The first three shots are from this display, created by students at the school.

My niece attended the Ag. school, and was valedictorian of the first graduating class at it's new location sited on 72 acres - the last farm in Chicago. The rooster was made of coleus and begonias - and (I think) dried grass for the tail. He was also part of the high school's large display garden, along with the bee below.

The bee was suspended from cables, and glided back and forth along tracks at the ceiling. It was difficult to get a clear photo of it because of the movement - Advanced Sports Shooting came to the rescue for this shot.

On a different theme, there was something serene, yet whimsical about this ginormous Buddha.

This guy, made from flower pots, was my favorite critter. If I'd found a replica at one of the vendor's booths, I would have had one more thing to carry home!

There was so much to see I could do a month of posts. For now I hope you'll enjoy some of the more lighthearted garden art I saw at the show.

Our presentation went very well. I was nervous when I started, but felt more comfortable as I got into it. I'm not sure I'll ever get over my fear of public speaking entirely, but it was confidence-building to get through it without passing out or making a fool of myself! Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support, and for your comments! They were a big part of my presentation, and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your reasons for blogging with me so I could share them with our audience.

Beth Botts, Chicago Tribune garden writer was in the audience. I was thrilled we got a chance to meet and chat with her. Mr.Brown Thumb, Gina, and I stayed at the show for awhile after our presentation to talk with audience members who stuck around to chat with us. We received such positive, enthusiastic audience feedback - it was really nice. The three of us also got a chance to chat with Bill Aldrich, publisher of Chicagoland Gardening magazine, and received very positive feedback from him as well. All in all, I'd say while I have no plans to quit my day job, our presentation was a success, and I'm proud of us!


  1. You got such great shots! I tried to take a photo of the rooster, but it came out too blurry because of the lousy lighting. I missed the little pot critters somehow. (I guess I got distracted by the Peonies.) You didn't sound nervous during your part of the presentation; you were very engaging and persuasive.

  2. I am so happy it went well for you Linda. Cute animals at the show.

  3. My husband and I are going on Friday- after seeing the pictures, I'm really looking forward to it!

  4. What great things! I love those topiaries. The little dog is so cute too. You could make one! What did they use for the "fur"? Looks like some kind of string?

  5. Good job on the presentation! It is sometimes difficult to get 'out of the comfort zone' but it usually results in more confidence so kudos to you for getting up there! Love the pics of the show. Topiary animals seem to be in vogue don't they?

  6. Thanks MMD. I think I deleted about half the shots I took because they were blurry - good thing I took so many. All the shots I took of the cityscape on top of the green roof came out fuzzy. Oh well!

    Thank you Tina! I'm relieved it's over, and delighted we were so well-received.

    Hi Laura, welcome, and thanks for visiting!

    I've added your blog to sidebar blogroll of Chicago area/Illinois garden bloggers. It's always a thrill to discover another garden blogger nearby. I'm looking forward to visiting your garden through your blog!

    Good morning Cindee! Aren't they cute! It would be fun to try making the dog. I think the 'fur' was some kind of rope or string. I think it would pretty easy to copy the dog. I love the creativity of stuff like this. I would have never thought to come up with a clay pot pet like that.

  7. Thank you Layanee! Who knew blogging would lead to such a challenging, but good opportunity! Once the nerves calmed down, it ended up being a lot of fun. (I think I'd be less anxious next time, if there is a next time!)

    I loved the topiaries, and didn't realize they were back in vogue. I'm guessing they'll be popping up all over Chicagoland after the show.

  8. I came looking yesterday to see how things went at the Flower and Garden show. Another good reason for blogs. To keep those of us unable to be out and about informed.
    Looks like the AG kids did a great job. I really like that rooster and I'm glad they included a pollinator. With all the pumpkins they grow each year bees are as necessary as the seed and soil...
    Wish I could have been there.

  9. Hi Linda, It would have been such fun to be in the audience to hear all of your presentations! I suspect you were all excellent! The rooster is terrific...did you say a highschool ag group designed it? Wow! It never fails to amaze me how talented people can be...gail

  10. Hi Linda, I am so proud of all of you for making your presentations and wish I could have been there to cheer wildly for you! Probably you are glad I wasn't! This show sounded great. So fun to see different people's perspectives on it too.

  11. I like seeing the garden art on display at garden shows. I've been hearing about the Chicago garden show and now it's fun to see the pictures.
    Thanks for visiting my blog earlier today!

  12. Linda,

    It was nice meeting everyone. I'm still going through pics trying to decide what I want to post about. That lighting sure made things tricky. Nice meeting everyone.

  13. Hi Gloria, I'll post more photos, and I'm even considering going back there again to see things I missed the first time.

    The Ag kids did a great job, and I plan to do a separate post just about them.

    Glad you get to visit via the blogs! It's free, and you don't have to go through the hassle of getting to Navy Pier!

    Aw, thank you Gail! It would have been fun to have you! I'm really looking forward to being able to meet and hang out at the Fling!

    Yep, the Ag kids designed and built the garden. I plan to show more of it. I think that school is just awesome.

    Thank you Frances! In some ways it would have been really cool, on the other hand . . . I think I would have been even more nervous! Having the support of you all has been great. It's been nice to know you're rooting for us.

    Hi Cathrine, this is my first time going, but I'm sure not the last. I'm glad you're enjoying the virtual visit!

    I really enjoyed finding your blog today. Your girls remind me of mine quite a few years ago!

    Nice meeting you too MBT. I know what you mean - it's an embarassment of riches. There was so much going on there.

    I'd like to go back sometime this week now that our presentation isn't looming over my head. I've been checking the schedule of seminars trying to decide which day(s) I might go back.

    The lighting was tricky. Plus I had a ton of blurry or otherwise bad shots I deleted - probably 1/2. That's ok though - still got lots left!

  14. Now those are critters I would want in my garden on any given day! They are so much fun. Great job on the presentation!

  15. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Yippee, another flower and garden show to enjoy. I feel like I have been all over the country seeing them all!

  16. Glad you liked 'em Skeeter! Thank you!

    Yippee Msrobin! Isn't it fun to come along on field trips!

  17. Wow, it's so cool they have a special ag high school. Awesome!!

  18. Congrats! Glad it went well.

  19. It's an awesome school Monica! Wish we could visit it during the Fling!

    Thank you Kim and Victoria!

  20. Congratulations, Linda; I knew you would be a hit! So glad everything went well.

    Beckie (Dragonfly Corner) and I just got back late last night from the Garden Show. We were there most of the day Monday and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were almost ready to leave when we realized we had missed one display garden, but now I see we also didn't see the rooster or the bee! I've been to flower shows before, but not on such a large scale. Beckie and I kept marveling at the amount of time and work to set some of them up. And the booths were almost as tempting! We rode the train into the city, or I probably would have bought more to take home. As it was, not only were my legs tired, but so were my hands from carrying around overflowing shopping bags:)

    I wish we could have come up Saturday instead to hear your talk; maybe you can give us a synopsis at Spring Fling:)

  21. Tremendous - and congratulations.

    I love the pig and the rooster.

    How was the pot-pig held together?

    (I want one!)


  22. Thank you Rose! So glad you and Beckie got to go! There was a lot to see, that's for sure. I'm still thinking about going back this week now that our presentation isn't hanging over my head. The weather's not ideal this week, but I still might brave it.

    Thank you Esther! I'm not sure what the interior was stuffed with, but the outside layer was moss, all held in the shape of the pig by a wire frame.

  23. Linda - I'm an idiot. Although it is true I'd like a pig (brilliant!)it would be too big for my small garden. What I was meaning was the hairy thing made from flower pots. I don't know why I was thinking it was a hairy pig (!) . . . dog? Anyway, it might be within my capacity to make, which was why I asked how it was held together.

    (And, if it is, guess what all my friends and relatives might be having as Christmas presents this year!)


  24. You're no idiot Esther, of that I'm sure! I'm not sure how the dog is held together, but his body is made of plain clay flowerpots, and his legs are smaller flowerpots. I think they're placed with their top ends facing each other, then glued together. There may be dowels through the centers of the pots, but I'm not sure. His hair is some sort of rope.

    I'd still like to go back to the flower show, and if I do I mean to look more closely at the pig, because I want to make one too. I'll report back if I get to investigate the dog's construction more thoroughly.

    One could make a pig with clay pots too, or even a clay pot zoo if you fancied.

  25. Visit it? Heck, I wish I could have GONE there... except that, well, um, I had no interest in gardening/ag when I was that age. DOH!!!!

  26. It was so good to meet you, I am trying to get on the blotanical site right now... your pics are great! I agree with the lighting.. I took so many pics... and felt bad posting so many! LOL I think I will do a few more today... I also blogged about my order from the seed company That you guys handed out... Its a bit long... LOL, but I was in the moment!!


  27. Um, I meant DOG Esther! :) It's a dog. I think it's supposed to be a Yorkshire terrier.

    I think it would make a great Christmas present. I mean to figure out how to make it, and if turns out well, I may churn out a few to give as gifts too.

    That little dog would make the perfect pet - it can stay outside all season, and once it comes in it won't go out again until it gets warm. It wouldn't shed, wouldn't dig holes in the garden or scare the birds away, and it wouldn't track mud in the house. No little piles to scoop, and no pee to kill the grass.

    I hear you Monica! For me that would have been a dream come true. Even in high school I loved gardening. My niece loved going there, and ended up with a full ride academic scholarship for her bachelor's degree. It's a very cool school.

    It was great meeting you too Vanessa! Good on you for joining Blotanical! The more the merrier! I plan to post more about the garden show - still have lots of pics to show, and might have more if I end up going back this week.

    Glad you like the seeds! Those packets are little works of art, and I think the lettuce is going to be very pretty. I love Bibb, and an heirloom French variety is just so. . . continental!

  28. Love that rooster! He's a great-lookin' guy. Glad to hear the talk went well, despite the nerves. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to have done it, isn't it? Thanks for the glimpse of the show.

  29. Anonymous12:57 AM

    Good for you and the audience as I'm sure they loved ya. I have the feeling gardening is on the comeback and hearing how well you did makes me excited for the industry.

    I like the rooster and little pot critter too.

  30. Thank you Donna! Isn't he cute! I'll bet he would take a lot of preening to maintain. Coleus go wild in my containers if I don't keep them pinched. It is a good feeling to have cleared that hurdle! (and a relief to have it behind me :)

    Thank you Anna! I agree with you. Vegetable gardening is exploding in popularity, and I think ornamental gardening stands to increase along with it.

  31. You take wonderful photos. Looking forward to seeing your 2010 photos from Macy's and Chicago Garden show.

  32. It's been fun seeing the CFGS through gardenbloggers' eyes, Linda - you make me want the rooster! Some family members live near the Ag HS and we also loved the idea that kids in the big city went to school on a farm.
    Glad your talk went well!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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