Marin IJ Articles
Fabulous floral visions at S.F. Flower and Garden show
|March 20, 2009|
Looking for spring? Good news: the 21st annual San Francisco Flower and Garden Show is open this weekend and filled with beautiful spring flowers at the San Mateo Event Center.
Before you start thinking it is too long a journey from Marin, I want to share with you that several sources have assured me that the Event Center is so easily accessible from Highway 101 that it's a painless and worthwhile trip.
Before I elaborate on seminars that I truly enjoy, I have to share with you some rather disturbing news: This may be the last San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. Producers of both the San Francisco and Seattle shows have decided to call it quits and move on with other interests. These shows rank second and third in the entire nation in attendance with 40,000 to 60,000 attendees each year.
I am not writing to mourn; rather, I want to share with you a wonderful success and encourage you to mosey on down the Peninsula to experience a fabulous floral opportunity.
So, what draws me to this show each year? Sure, the major garden exhibits are captivating and enthralling. But me, I'm here for the seminars, closely followed by the vendors.
Last year I thoroughly enjoyed a presentation on hellebores by C. Colston Burrell, author of "Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide." I spent the few minutes between seminars searching among vendors for the perfect hellebore, and guess who meandered by? Within a few minutes I enjoyed the companionship of Colton, who helped me select a number of perfect specimens for my Mill Valley hillside.
The seminar schedule this year is extraordinary and addresses many topics of concern to Marin residents. Clearly, the words "drought" and "water rationing" are on all of our lips these days. You'll like learning some nifty ideas from folks who specialize in drought-tolerant gardening.
On Saturday, you can pick up some great ideas for reducing your gardens "carbon footprint." In addition to recommending climate appropriate, drought-resistant planting, Alma Hecht, designer and owner of Second Nature Design, will show creative ways to recycle and reuse soil, concrete and other materials already at your site. Hecht focuses on low-maintenance, sustainable landscape design and environmentally friendly garden management practices.
Enjoy Hecht's seminar, "Cool Ideas for Warming Times: Creative Gardening with Earth-Friendly Results" at 11:30 a.m. in the Meeting Pavilion.
Writer, lecturer and author Mary Robson will present "Tough Plants for Dry Times: The Best Herbs, Succulents and Water-Wise Shrubs" at 3:15 p.m. in the Meeting Pavilion. She'll recommend some terrific herbs, succulents and water-wise shrubs to keep your garden growing and your water usage minimal. While Mary currently lives in Washington state, she has strong ties to the Bay Area: Her mother was one of the first docents at Filoli.
Robin Stockwell, owner of Succulent Gardens in the Monterey County town of Castroville, will speak on "Waterwise Succulent Pots: All the Best Tips for Succulent Success" at 10:45 a.m. on the Monrovia Stage. Plants tend to dry out faster in pots than in the ground, so how do we furnish our decks and patios with intriguing containers and respect our limited water resources?
Succulents offer a great alternative to traditional moisture loving annuals in the container garden. Robin will walk you through selecting the proper container and planting medium and provide tips for caring for your new succulent container garden.
"Savvy Succulent Care" with Mary Irish will help you provide TLC for your cactus, agaves and succulents at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Meeting Pavilion. Mary knows a bit about gardening in dry places as she lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is the author of "Gardening in the Deserts of Arizona" and "Gardening in the Deserts of Nevada."
I'm a big believer in backyard composting and dutifully collect my garden and kitchen waste, layer it in two large black plastic compost bins and wait 'til compost happens. Master composter Alane Weber will walk us through the process of managing a "working" pile of compost through to completion. Weber is dedicated to sustainability in gardens with a focus on landscape management and soil fertility in urban and suburban gardens. She will offer advice on the use of compost, compost teas and organic amendments at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on the Monrovia Stage.
More seminars of interest to Marin gardeners include Bob Hornback of Occidental who will share with you his ideas about plants that can truly co-exist with the deer population at 6 p.m. Saturday on the Monrovia Stage.
Who among us does not love orchids? Debra Atwood of Napa Valley Orchids will share her techniques for proper potting, watering, light conditions, fertilizing and much more. As an owner of many really healthy appearing, but nonblooming orchids, I'll be in the front row for this seminar at 5 p.m. Saturday on the Monrovia Stage.
Closing out the show, Annie Hayes, owner of Annie's Annuals, specializing in Mediterranean and South African perennials, will delight you with her springtime slideshow and commandments for success in the garden. Join Hayes at 4:45 p.m. Sunday in the Meeting Pavilion for "Thou Shalt Not Whine in 2009: Annie's Commandments for a Dazzling Garden."
The show, sponsored by Sunset magazine, will have special seminars for children Saturday and Sunday.
IF YOU GO: The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show runs through Sunday at the San Mateo Event Center, 2495 Delaware Street, San Mateo. Tickets are $20. For a complete listing of seminars, visitwww.gardenshow.com/sf/seminars/seminarschedule.cfm
The University of California Marin Master Gardeners are sponsored by UC Cooperative Extension. For questions about gardening, plant pests or diseases, call 499-4204 from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays, or bring in samples or pictures to 1682 Novato Blvd., Suite 150B, Novato.Ê