When our girls were younger, we took the to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show every year. They loved to see the different gardens and smell the blooms. This year we took teenagers to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, which was a different, yet familiar, outing.
The first thing they did was smell the flowers. As you walk through the entrance the air immediately smelled like Springtime. It was a refreshing backdrop for the bright, colorful flowers we saw everywhere.
The hard part about attending an event as large as the Chicago Flower and Garden Show was deciding which way to turn. We moved left towards NPK Associates’ display entitled, “Chicago’s Blooming in the Office.” NPK described its mission in the show guide as helping you “bring the workplace into your workspace with plants, living walls and weekly flowers.” It was the living walls and shadow box display desk that captivated us. NPK offered so many intriguing ways to add plants to your workspace that went far beyond just putting a pot on your desk.
We always enjoyed the tablescapes, which this year prompted our girls to talk about how they wanted to decorate our outdoor space this year. The Lurvey Landscape Supply and Garden Center’s “Upcycle Your Outdoor Rooms” space started a conversation about what we had at home that they could upcycle for patio decorations.
The Chicago Agricultural High School exhibit, “It’s Not a Garden, It’s a (R)Evolution,” was enjoyable for its Chicago-themed garden. The high school students attending the garden were interesting and engaging, never getting impatient with us as we asked questions.
We spent some time at “A Butterfly Garden” talking about the importance of plants for butterflies and bees. This was my personal lesson in helping Monarch butterflies and bees by providing full lifecycle plants in my backyard. We received a free seed packet to help us move from talking to planting.
This year we found many other garden-related exhibits on interest. We spent a lot of time admiring the Horticulture Photo Competition. There were some really artistic photos that had us wondering if they were drawings or photographs. The Window Boxes were delightful ways for area garden clubs to showcase their creativity. We liked the way the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit mixed beautiful art into the beautiful gardens.
A few things seemed new this year. The Kids Activity Garden had a full-sized playset. Our girls wondered if they were too old to go down the slide, which made us smile. There were all kinds of free activities to keep kids busy and get them interested in gardening. The speakers series locations seemed especially robust for this show. Visitors can choose from the “Gardening Live” stage and “Garden Gourmet” in the main hall or slip into a separate room for the “Learn” talks and speakers. No matter what the topic, there was a session for every interest.
We were invited to attend the garden show by Mariano’s, which has been one of our favorite grocery stores since the first location opened in River East. We spent a lot of time last summer running through Mariano’s to get supplies before meeting friends at the Pritzker band shell. Their Chicago Flower and Garden Show display was a mix of artful arrangements and ready-to-purchase blooms.
No matter what your gardening interest, from food as medicine to flowers to attract pollinators to creating an outdoor room, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this year’s Chicago Flower and Garden Show. Make your plans now to attend this annual event and bring home inspiration for your Spring planting.
The Chicago Flower and Garden Show runs through March 26 at Navy Pier. Fore more information, visit http://chicagoflower.com/.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of NPK Associates.
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