February 2010
Greatest Shows on Earth? By Lawn & Garden Retailer

Local garden shows are a great place for gardeners to learn about which plants will perform well in their area and get inspired by experts and peers alike. This month, we asked our panelists whether they take advantage of the numerous shows and events hosted throughout the year in their areas.

Linda, 51
Bluffton, S.C.

I haven’t gone to any local garden shows or events since I moved to South Carolina 18 months ago. It sounds like a great idea though! I will add it to my list of New Year’s resolutions: to attend at least one garden event this year.

Why I haven’t attended any garden shows: no real reason. I guess I just haven’t felt compelled to go to one. What they could offer to entice me to go to a garden show: garden landscapes, expert local advice and opportunity to purchase unique flowers.

Marie, 58
Mission Hills, Kan.

Every year, there is a major midwinter garden show in my city. It takes place in the convention center, runs all weekend and has a hefty admission fee. To me, the garden show is most helpful when I have been planning a major garden renovation. There is ample opportunity to evaluate the work of landscape designers and contractors. The various displays also provide fresh and creative ideas for walls, walks, fountains, planter boxes and other hardscape.

In years when I’m not so ambitious, I often skip the garden show. Most years, my midwinter dreaming involves plans for new combinations of flowers in pots or new plantings in a particular bed. The garden show is too big and busy to provide much inspiration for those ideas. I prefer to look at garden magazines and flower catalogs. If there were a smaller version of the garden show, maybe even a weekend event planned by one of the local garden centers, I would likely go. Lower cost, less hassle and an opportunity to talk with other gardeners about spring plans would be very energizing.

Luis, 77
Rockford, Ill.

I love attending local garden shows and go whenever I can. They are an opportunity to learn, meet gardening experts and be exposed to local garden vendors. We have several shows throughout the year in our area.

I especially look forward to the first spring show, which is a welcome event after a long winter hiatus. One can learn about new plant introductions, get ideas about attractive plant combinations and get all kinds of tips from knowledgeable people. There is also the opportunity to meet with other gardeners in the area and share information. Often there are short courses on gardening subjects that qualify as continuing education credits toward maintaining Master Gardener certification.

Questions to Consider

Does your garden center host events geared toward customers?

Do you exhibit at and/or participate in regional horticultural events?

Do you encourage staff members to attend gardening events to expand their product and industry knowledge?

Do you work with Master Gardeners in your area or offer courses that qualify as continuing education credits?