A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Friday, February 15, 2008

NJ Flower & Garden Show 2008 (Part 1)

This post is my personal opinion only. It in no way reflects the views of Rutgers Gardens or any of its staff. I am not a spokesperson for Rutgers Gardens.

The NJ Flower & Garden Show was hugely disappointing this year. I adore touring the display gardens and tearing them to shreds in my blog. There wasn’t much to savage this year. There were only seven gardens rather than the usual dozen or so. And as “A” pointed out in an email to me, they just weren’t that creative. The overall theme for the show this year was “The Entertaining Garden-Party Among the Petals”.

Rutgers Gardens in conjunction with landscape architecture students from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (typing “Cook College” was soooo much easier!) did their usual great job. The students, who designed and built their garden as a class project, called their effort “The Games People Play: RU Game?”, a play on the Rutgers University name.

They included outdoor games and environmentally friendly details like this Green Wall:

Those are flats of plants placed vertically in the wall. Here’s my favorite part of the garden:

An interactive tic tac toe fountain! Don’t ask me how it works. My time at the show was extremely short this year. I was literally snapping pictures on the run.

Right next door was “Backyard Bliss”.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Fred Flintstone, right?

Bet you didn’t know that they planted in rows back in the Stone Age!!

Now, what we have here is a path, a picnic, a veggie garden and a flower garden, all in nice neat rows.

According to the blurb that accompanied the title, “Entertaining in a Jersey Fresh Garden”, is the assertion that this is a three-season patio. Maybe on the Isle of Jersey, but certainly not in NEW Jersey. In NEW Jersey, one needs walls and a roof during the spring and the fall. Next!

“Backyard Hot Spot! Cool Place!”

I’m giving them kudos for trying really hard not to plant in rows, but are they seriously trying to pass off this anemic fountain as “…water garden off the main patio, surrounded by lush plantings”?

I hope not because this is not the “…outdoor living space (I’ve) always dreamed of.”

Moving right along to “You’re Invited to a Martini Party”. This is what happens when you design the garden AFTER drinking the martinis:

When you figure out what it is, let me know. And in case you were wondering how large the martinis were . . .

“The Court Yard” made me dizzy. The “athletic courts” and fences were miniature but the flowers and hardscape were full-size.

It’s not as obvious in the pictures. I missed my Straw Hat buddies who are always willing to hop into a photo to provide scale.

Ah, “The Good Life”. Lights, flowers, a gazebo . . .

And who could resist this fountain?

This was hands down my favorite garden!

And this was my least favorite garden, “The Art of Outdoor Living”. Only part of an entire side of a “house” is showing in this photo:

And note all the sales literature and charts:

Honestly, until I looked at their sign, I thought they were selling aluminum siding!

Two other displays that caught my eye and slowed me down to look were orchids courtesy of Duke Farms:

And ikebana which I really wish I had been able to do more than glance at:

I slowed down a bit as I made my way through the flower arranging competition which deserves its own post. You can see all of my pictures of the flower show on Flickr.


At 7:39 AM, Blogger Tina said...

Wow, I can completely understand why you were disappointed. I think I would have walked out with a frown and a deep sigh.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger landscaper86 said...

As a student who helped with the design and construction with the Rutgers Gardens garden, I thought your comments were fairly based...for most of us, this was the first garden we ever did. I completley agree with your thoughts on the "Martini" Garden but why did you choose the "The Good Life as your favorite? I think the "Birdcage" and the pergola were a bit on the large size and between all the water features and the balls, I thought there was too much extra stuff just thrown in. That's all and I hope you come back next year.

Matthew Mehesy
Cook College '09


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