I’ve said two things to people recently that sort of shocked them.
First, “I just don’ t like garden shows.” I’ve been to them — from Chelsea in England to San Francisco. I’ve even spoken at the Northwest Flower Show years ago. They just don’t turn me on; I’d rather be outside though I do love the flower competitions, the bookshops and nurseries that show up.
The second thing is that I love Orlando and Disney. Yeah, crowds, fantasy and all. Seems like a contradiction. But they do things right. I spent 2 days at the EPCOT International Flower Show recently.
Why did I love this Flower Show?
- Little “urban” food garden displays with straw bale gardening, plots of corn, sugarcane, and even aquaponics and a history of Florida produce. In each a little kiosk sold related creative food–I had a great “nan-which” with quinoa and some sort of hummus stuff. Ethnobotany gardens that didn’t shy away from including tobacco and poppies. Great bamboo in “China”The Land walking tour is required — looks at new crops and extreme hydroponics as ways to feed increasing populations. At dusk, drinks and a concert by The Gin Blossoms, a good meal in an Italian restaurant with great wine and overwhelming fireworks display on the walk out. Manned booths by every local horticulture group you can imagine: hibiscus society to sustainable living non profit and the Ikebana club…..
What I loved more than anything was the broad mix of people at this flower show. In the pictures you’ll see lots of young guys — engaged in gardening. Where else do you see that? You’ll also see me, on stage and the very next picture is back stage. Yeah, that entire kitchen is a big fake set!
Here’s a slide show including my “stage”, a full-fledged kitchen and a pic of that behind the scenes.