Sunday, February 18

Overview: Cleveland Home & Garden Show


The Cleveland Home & Garden Show is held each year in early February at the IX Center--a huge soulless warehouse of a building. I can never decide whether the display gardens breathe life into its metal frame or whether the natural beauty suffers in the cavernous, badly lit space. Probably a little of both. The timing is right, though, for plants and gardens to delight and inspire those who are weary of the whitish greyish brownish monotony of a Northeast Ohio winter.

This year, the main theme for the gardens was "Ireland," with a secondary theme of "green." A modern and environmentally friendly interpretation of an Irish castle was the centerpiece of the show. I'm not sure what I expected from the castle, but I wish that more information had been made available on the green building techniques and how they could be adapted by homeowners to improve our own "castles."

The interior of the castle was mostly disappointing. The two bright spots were the works from local artists featured throughout the house and the gorgeous kitchen cabinetry. The exterior was beautiful, though, and combined form and function very well. The first picture features a corten steel sculpture of lilies that graced the front patio. (I loved that--I'm a sucker for corten and other rusty metals.) Beyond the sculpture you can see the solar panels on the garage roof and a small waterfall that spills into the "moat" water feature.

The second picture shows a green roof that was visible from a second story walkway. The grass courtyard surrounded by square planting beds is pretty, but I couldn't help but think there are more practical planting options than grass when you are building a green roof. I also couldn't see where the excess water from the roof drained, even though it was obviously built on a slant--I suppose that these are some technical details that aren't worth worrying about when you're building a short-term display, though.

Next to the doorway that led out to the green roof were a pair of espaliered bay laurels that made my jaw drop. I have been checking out my two bay plants every since, wondering why I never thought to prune them into interesting shapes!

The castle was the first thing we walked through when we arrived; after that we moved on to the display gardens. Twentysome gardens were created by various landscape professionals and garden centers, most of them "in tribute to" or "sponsored by" (I can't quite figure out how that works) a local media talent.

The first display garden that we came to after exiting the castle was not quite like the others--there were no obvious signs with TV station logos and glossy, smiling mug shots at its entrance. It was simply a ring of standing stones surrounded by a waist-high berm of grass. A flat stone walkway encircled the standing stones, and at the center of the stone circle was a misty bog filled with heaths, heathers, orchids, ferns and moss. It was delightfully mysterious, a Druidic ruin brought into the modern day.

Most of the rest of the display gardens were not so much in keeping with the "Ireland" theme. Even when they were lovely, they did not quite transport you to anyplace other than an expensively well-done backyard... and I really wanted to be transported.

Although I was not very enthusiastic about the display gardens overall, some did have interesting features and ideas. I have a few pictures to show: Some great use of stone, how much interest you can create with just green and brown in a composition, etc. I also found an interesting way to use rusty metal in a practical application in my own garden!

All of that must wait for another day, however. I am never good at being concise and I'm sure that I have gone on quite long enough for one post. In the meantime, you should be able to click on any one of these pictures to see it in a larger size, if you want to take a closer look.

16 comments:

Stu said...

Great to hear about this show Kim. I always love strolling around these garden shows, gathering ideas and being inspired by some people whoa re just awesome at their craft.

Thanks for the tour...

Gotta Garden said...

This was worth waiting for, Kim! You transported me there! Lol! I especially liked the misty bog...it seems rather a "take me away" vignette. Thanks for letting us have a look...and glad you're back!

Christine said...

Thank you for sharing the photos and show~ looking forward to hear about the rusty metal use you've found, etc.

Annie in Austin said...

Nice tour! Thank you for making the photos clickable- you got some great detail, Kim. In the small photo the orchids looked sort of like trout lilies, but in the large photo - Wow! I thought the stone circle bog was great - sort of a "Mists of Avalon" feel to it.

Did any of the vendors have Shamrock plants for sale? That seems like a natural match with a theme like green & Ireland. Or was it all lucky bamboo and dutch brooms?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Xris said...

Sedums and sempervivums are the plants I've read about being used for green roofs. Aside from being drought-tolerant, they have fibrous root systems, they spread, and they stay low. They still need irrigation, both for when they are being established, and for prolonged drought.

Grass on a roof as about as "green" as a golf course in the desert.

meresy_g said...

Ah, tis the season of the garden show. I'm going to the Philadelphia Flower Show in March and the theme is the same...Ireland. I wonder if all of them are themed Ireland this year. Yours looks like it was fun. Anytime you can walk in from the cold dead landscape and be surrounded by flowers is fun though. I love the iron flower scuplture.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Stu, glad you enjoyed it! (By the way, are you Stuart from Australia? Your Blogger Profile won't come up for me, so I'm curious.)

gotta garden, I loved that misty pool, too! I had a devil of a time getting a pic of it, though. There were all of these uplights and cords that you don't notice unless you're trying to keep them out of the picture--and then there were a number of adorable kids who would choose just the space between stones where I was focused to kneel down and feel the moss. :)

Christine, glad you enjoyed it!

Annie, I had expected to see those plants, too. I didn't notice ANY bamboo or scotch brooms, though. Apparently they were trying to do Ireland but with plants that could be planted outside in NE Ohio. (I had always thought that heaths and heathers were very iffy here, but there were tons of those.) I only saw one or two oxalis, both purple. My next post will show more of the plant life in the gardens, I promise!

Xris, thank you for confirming my suspicions. I don't know whether to be really irritated or to just understand and appreciate that they were trying to illustrate the point that a "green roof" can be pretty.

meresy_g, can you take pictures when you go? Even if those are the only two "Ireland" shows in the garden show season, it will be interesting to compare their takes on the theme.

By the way, the more I look at the flower sculpture... the more I drool... *sigh*

Hillside Garden said...

Very interesting to see your photos. Thank you.

Sigrun

Colleen said...

Thanks for the tour, Kim! I'm looking forward to the rest of it :-) Our home and garden show here isn't until mid-March, so I have a while to go yet. Ours won't be Ireland themed, though....they're building a log cabin for the duration of the show. I hate log cabins. I don't know why, but I do :-) Glad you're back!

Annie in Austin said...

We'll be looking forward to more flower photos!
Actually, my mention of Lucky Bamboos and Dutch brooms [with their 'miracle rubber teeth'] was supposed to be a joke - these products seem to show up in the vendor section of every single home & garden type show, no matter where you live, along with the knife sets, water filtration systems and spas.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

phempton said...

Nice blog Kim. I just went to the show here in Seattle and had the same feeling. If only the setting was a bit less drab! But in February we'll put up with anything to look forward to Spring.

Cheers,

Patrick - I Heart Gardening

The County Clerk said...

I've trying to come up with something nice to write.

I have nothing.

But I have to say, that smoking watery gateway to hell freaks me out a bit.

But that's just me.

EAL said...

Don't you have another garden show in Cleveland--an all-garden show that's more artful? I think I remember getting press releases on it. Is it held by your botanical gardens? Later in the year? I was thinking about attending it--Cleveland is pretty close.

Thanks for the tour--I will be doing something similar about our show, Plantasia, in a few weeks.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Thank you for stopping to visit, Sigrun!

Colleen, that's where you and I differ--I would love a log cabin! If you go, will you take pictures?

Annie, sorry... I must not be as recovered and well-rested as I'd thought, because I missed the joke. Oh, and I missed those horrible aisles of junk stuff, too, because we literally only walked by the gardens--and stopped to pet the Irish Wolfhounds. *grin*

Hank, I think one of those "smokey watery gateways" would be just lovely in front of that huge picture window at your new place! *irreverent grin*

Elizabeth, yes. The Cleveland Botanical Garden puts on their "Flower Show" over Memorial Day weekend. That's why I haven't ever made it there--I am usually elbow-deep in dirt and compost during long weekends. It's supposed to be the largest outdoor flower show in the U.S., though. Maybe I should go this year.

Colleen said...

*gasp* Something you and I don't agree on?? I can't believe it....

If I go, I will absolutely take pictures of it....so "Little House on the Prairie"...*grin*

lisa said...

Thanks for the pics, Kim! I love the "misty bog"...I want to make a bog area for myself next year. And welcome back, too!

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