If the displays at last week's garden show, Plantasia, are any indication, you should be behind a bar outside, whether it be a breakfast bar, grill bar, tiki bar or bar-bar.
This is Western New York's big garden show for the year and the largest displays of creativity (there were probably 6-8 large displays) were not by nurseries or garden designers necessarily, but by "landscrapers" – builders of stone, tile & concrete patios and decking. Of the exhibitors, there were four that Incorporated some sort of bar for drinking and socializing. There is another show locally–a home & garden show. I would think that many of these exhibitors should be there as well.
This one had built-in barflies.
The most imposing of the displays was a Tuscan-themed, tree-trunk-columned, trellis complex of rooms including an outdoor living room (with fireplace, mantle, coffee table and overstuffed furniture); a dining room (with wooden dining table to seat 12, chandelier, and huge floral centerpiece); and kitchen (with requisite grill, ample counter space, wine chiller, refrigerator, pizza oven and another fireplace). The plant material was nominal and incidental. It looked like an interior room made to look "outdoorsy." Or a small apartment with no bathroom. This is where everyone was taking pictures with camera phones. The whole excessive outdoor room thing with flat-screen TVs and outdoor wine coolers is so very BEFORE the economic meltdown. Seems like these are the sorts of things you'd find in AIG executive's yard.
I do wish the nurseries had some of the larger displays – but I know they also don't have the budgets or staff to spend potentially tens of thousands of dollars in design, materials, labor, shipping and fees to enter a four-day show like this. Also, some of the most innovative and successful landscape designers in the area don't take part–they survive on commercial landscaping where larger-scale commissions are the norm. Not humble gardeners like myself or the zombie-paced crowds wandering this particular garden show.
The pizza oven in the kitchen of the Tuscan-themed outdoor "complex."
Elizabeth at Gardening While Intoxicated has a post up about her love/hate affair with this garden show, reflecting on the cinder block waterfall complete with a flat-screen TV on its mantle, overabundance of interlocking bricks and fire pits (unattainable for law-abiding city dwellers). I'm surprised the GWI garden doesn't have a bar. Oh, there's plenty of drinks there, don't get me wrong, I've been there. But no bar.
Garden Walk Buffalo had a booth again this year and committed committee members sat duty for the four days. I was there for opening day (busy!) and closing day (busy!). They throw us in the back room with the other non-profits and the "kids play area." But the cost is low–we are there, primarily, to troll for addresses and emails for our newsletter and e-newsletter. Last year we collected 450+ addresses for our database. Directly across from our booth was the Toro mower sales booth. It was basically a line-up of supercharged, riding barc-o-loungers with cup holders and deadly-whirring-blades. Any man's fantasy. Well, man with a grass habit.
The beautiful model (she looks like her father) at the Garden Walk booth was showing off her Harry Potter Garden in a gardening magazine. Start 'em young! Gardening that is. Not modeling.
It is very enjoyable to work the booth, as 95% of the people stopping by our booth have been on Garden Walk (and already own the Garden Walk Buffalo Book/DVD). The other 5% have heard of us and want more information. 100% are very nice and wonderful to talk to. It is odd to talk to people that know my back yard VERY well.
The best part is when someone will ask what the walk is like and another person just standing by the table looking through magazines will turn around and tell them how wonderful it is to get into the backyards of these grand homes & small cottages and see what creativity the gardeners have. And how nice the gardeners are. And that they can't miss it. We sit back and listen in. The best salespeople are the ones that've gone on the Walk.