Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wednesday at the IGC Show

Even bigger and better than last year, this week the Independent Garden Center Show at Chicago's Navy Pier was Garden Blogger Central. There was more to see than a person possibly could in one day, at least this person, who enjoyed talking to vendors and running into bloggers everywhere.

Most of the day was spent with Kylee and her mom, visiting as many booths as we could fit in. We met in person for the first time at Chicago Spring Fling and enjoyed some memorable moments together. It was a joy seeing them again, and hanging out at the show.

When I arrived, Kylee was shooting photos of Jean Ann and Amanda's podcast with P. Allen Smith. If you haven't listened to the podcast yet, you're missing all kinds of hijinks and hilarity. Really, you should listen to it!

The social aspect of attending the show was wonderful, and so were many of the products on display. My hands-down favorites were these indoor gardening LED lights. I'm telling you, these things were awesome. While a little pricey, they are beautiful, very energy efficient, and perfect for anyone like me who does a lot of indoor gardening. The holidays will be here before we know it, and one of these units would make a wonderful gift for the gardener in your life.

Herbs could be overwintered under these,

seedlings could be started, even vegetables can be grown indoors over the winter with these fantastic lights. Invented by an entrepreneur with a passion for both technology and sustainability, SonnyLights are energy-efficient, elegant, and technologically more advanced than any other grow lights I've ever come across. It would take an entire post to tell you what's so great about them. Better yet, visit his website where he can tell you all about them himself.

Renee's Garden is one of my favorite seed companies. Renee has really reached out to garden bloggers, sponsoring events for us including Chicago Spring Fling, and this year's very fun Grow Project. I visited her booth twice, and enjoyed nice conversations, and even got some free seeds and a lovely lavender sachet that's sitting here on my desk as I type. (mmm. . . smells so good!)

Left to right, Nellie (Marketing,) Renee, and me!

Tuesday, I had been working in a client's garden. One of my tasks was pruning and deadheading the roses, and Wednesday I walked around at the show with two thorns - one in my right thumb, and one in left index finger. You know how it is with thorns - sometimes it takes them a day or so to make their presence known. (OUCH!) As luck would have it, one of the booths I visited was SeaMar Gloves, importer of Atlas gloves, my favorite gardening gloves in the whole world. John, the sales manager manning the booth, graciously allowed us to pick out a pair of sample gloves. With thorns fresh on my mind and in my fingers, I chose a pair of Juggernaut goatskin gloves. When I got home Wednesday evening, I dug the thorns out of my fingers, and wasted no time putting these excellent gloves to work on Thursday.

If you work with roses, these gloves are fantastic! Reinforced with two layers of leather in all the places where I usually end up with thorns embedded in my skin, when my work was finished I had nary a scratch, and no thorns stuck in my fingers or hands. Developed hand-in-hand ;) with rose growers, these gloves should be in every rose aficianado's glove collection. (A long-length version will be rolled out soon!)

One day at the IGC Show was definitely not enough to see everything and visit everyone. There were some excellent seminars I'd loved to have attended, but one day wasn't enough for that either.

Kylee posted lots of photos from the show on her facebook page, and keep an eye out for Shirley Bovshow's Garden World Report from the show, coming soon to a computer near you.


  1. Linda, how fun it was to spend the day with you! Like old times! :-) (I love that we've now known each other long enough to say that! A year is long enough, right?)

    Those LED lights were AWESOME. I want one. I would love to grow fresh salad fixings during the winter with that!

    I got the Atlas winter work gloves to try. We'll see how they go when I'm out there in the snow, planting my fall bulbs. (I'm The Queen of Procrastination, you know. LOL)

  2. Hi gardengirl!
    Thanks for taking me virtually to that show. It must have been fantastic. Oh yes, those LED lights sounds awesome. I haven't heard from such a thing yet, but it would be perfect for me. Anyway, I guess in my part of the world we have to wait a little bit longer until this light get on the market. Smile, and I will show it at the right time to my husband... to give him a little nudge for the next birthday present :o).
    Take care

  3. Linda, what a great tour. You made me wish I had gone. Since my four foot lights are gone, I am really in the market for a small grow light set up.


  4. was such a pleasure seeing you again Kylee! I feel like we are dear old friends even though it was only a year ago we first met in person.

    I want one of those lights too! Narrowing it down to which one is the only hard part.

    I think you'll like the gloves. I was torn between the goatskin ones and the winter work gloves. I have a few pairs of Atlas thermal gloves - they're great for chilly fall days, but not quite warm enough for bulb planting on snowy days ;)

    At least you eventually get to the bulbs. I procrastinated for five years, procrastinating myself right out of winter and into spring when it comes to bulbs. We do finally have more of them than the daffodils that were here when I came, but it's only been in the last couple of years. There is so much room for so many more!

    Looking forward to seeing you on GWR, and hope to see you again soon!

    Hi Alex, thanks for coming along! It's a privilege as a blogger, being able to get press passes to the show, which is not open to the public. It's such a fun event, and seems to get more fun every year. Meeting up with blogging friends, seeing brand new products, (some not even on the market until next year,) and even being offered products to test and review is very exciting!

    I hope SonnyLights will eventually become available to Europeans too. I have a feeling this is going to be a very popular item with a lot of appeal for home gardeners, especially with the explosion of vegetable gardening. Being able to grow such high-quality, sturdy seedlings with the technology the light offers is a great way to get the veggie garden off to a great start.

    I love our basement grow light (not a SonnyLight.) While it was pricey, it has paid for itself over and over every year since I first splurged on it.

    The SonnyLight can do some things a lot better though, than my sodium light, and I really. really. want. one!

    Hi Eileen, well, there's always next year! I hope you can plan to come. I'm already looking forward to it, and will definitely plan on spending more than one day there.

    I think you'd love these lights. They really are so pretty, they would make nice decor in any room in the house. No need to relegate these to the basement

  5. Now, why haven't I heard of this show before?? Mr. McGregor's Daughter also posted a few pictures of products from the show, so now I'm intrigued. Do they put this on every year?

    Those gloves look great for working with roses or any other thorny plant; how nice of the vendor to give you a sample pair. And good to see Renee's photo here; I can attest to her generosity to bloggers, too. I just wish more of the seeds I'd ordered had grown this year--my fault, not the seeds'.

  6. Hi Rose, probably because it's not open to the general public. Garden bloggers can get press passes though. The show is very newsworthy in the industry, and it's great having a chance to attend and report on it in our blogs and through other social media. I hope you get to come sometime.

    Maybe you need one of these SonnyLights to make your seed starting easier! ;)

  7. I'm sorry I missed it this year! It looks like it was a lot of fun, just like last year! Those LED lights look fantastic!

  8. Sorry you missed it too Rose! It was fun - somewhat bigger than last year. The show spilled out of the main hall and there were a lot of vendors out there too. There was an amazing array of stuff!

    I love the lights!

  9. Linda, I don't work in this industry but I sure wish I had gone~It looks like a fun convention and another chance to spend time with good people. I need those gloves, especially today when I cut down a dead rose! It's been a bad hard summer. gail

  10. There's always next year Gail! Garden writers and bloggers can attend with a press pass, and there were lots of us there this year - far more than I remember from last year. I think you'd really enjoy it. There's so much to see, lots of great garden industry entrepreneurs to meet and chat with, seminars to attend, and it's very informative and really a lot of fun.

  11. Hi Linda, Wow, look at you posting about the show only DAYS after attending. That's where *I* procrastinate (though I do plant fall bulbs in fall, gasp!). The show sounds like a lot of fun and the P interview was hilarious. I like the word hijinks, too. It seems like rose pruning gloves should have sleeves as well, but otherwise they look nice.

  12. I really nwed the grow lights that will be stand alone--NOT hang from the ceiling or that screw into an ordinary socket. That said, I thought those lights were cool as well. Love LED.

  13. LOL Monica! I do try to do events posts fairly quickly afterwards while impressions are still fresh in my mind. Bulbs on the other hand. . . . :| ! Well, let's just say in the spring I always wish I had!

    The gloves will apparently have a longer version available soon, and the same company does sell separate sleeves too.

    Elizabeth, I thought it was really neat that SonnyLights are available in both stand-alone and hang from the ceiling or shelf. I could use both! It was good seeing you at the show!

  14. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Sounds like you all had a lot of fun.Sorry I missed out on it all. Those gloves look really awesome.


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