IT can be hard to find inspiration during these dark days of winter but February and March hold the promise of several garden shows to inspire.
The North Shore's own North Vancouver Home Expo 2013 is being held on March 22-24 at the Karen Magnussen Arena. I could not find a "purpose built" website for this show so you'll have to watch the North Shore News for upcoming announcements about the show. It's a bit early to talk about that one but mark your calendars anyway.
Two of the best home and garden shows are being held on the same dates this year, which is terribly unfortunate because I would like to go to both but I'll have to choose one.
The Northwest Flower & Garden Show is bursting into bloom on Wednesday, Feb. 20 until Sunday, Feb. 24 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. This show has a long history and usually produces some fantastic theme gardens. O'Loughlin Trade Shows (otshows.com) took over this show several years back and has infused a breath of fresh air into the show.
The show includes a small space showcase, floral competition, a play garden themed after the Swiss Family Robinson, a garden gallery full of unique garden elements, a marketplace and of course the inspiring theme gardens that draw most visitors. This show does something that no other show does, they are mindful of where the next generation of gardeners is coming from and accordingly they have implemented a "youth" ticket price for teenagers aged 13 to 17 which is quite forward thinking and a brilliant way to engage the next generation.
Various ticket prices and packages are available. For more information go to gardenshow.com.
Closer to home, the BC Home and Garden Show springs inspiration upon its visitors on Wednesday, Feb. 20 until Sunday, Feb. 24 at the newly refurbished BC Place Stadium. This show is more about interior decorating and general home improvement than it is about gardening, but it is definitely worth a visit if you're looking for ideas and inspiration to enhance your home and garden. There's a lot going on at this show, too much to cover here, but a few highlights include the HGTV Main Stage (hgtv.ca) where home decorating, design and improvement experts will offer solutions on enhancing your home. The main body of this show is dedicated to interior design and consumer products for the home. However, there will be more than 35 exhibitors showcasing garden design, construction and supply ideas.
And the Dream Gardens - around the world in eight gardens, showcases how greenery goes global, in the form of eight lush landscapes from around the world. More than 7,000 square feet of gardens will plant the seed for every backyard oasis, complete with exotic blooms, chic outdoor furnishings, flowing water features and top landscapers to tend to every plea for gardening help. This is usually one of the main reasons I attend any sort of show like this as I look for inspiring ideas. This year some local and national home improvement celebrities will be on hand to provide inspiration and ideas for the home. Steve Whysall will be heading up the Vancouver Sun Gardening School to teach gardeners how to solve problems. There are also quite a few chefs from Vancouver and farther afield including Vancouver's own chef Chuck Currie of the White Spot Restaurant group. Currie never fails to entertain. There's also a fellow named Ron Shewchuk who calls himself a Barbeque Evangelist. With a moniker like that I'll be sure to check him out.
On the landscape construction side, Paul Lafrance, creator, owner and CEO of Cutting Edge Construction and Design (cuttingedgedesign.ca) and host of HGTV's Decked Out and Deck Wars will be on hand to amaze visitors with his mind blowing deck designs.
No one designs and builds outdoor decks like that guy. For the home improvement crowd, the Gemini-award winning host of HGTV's Leave it to Bryan and House of Bryan, Bryan Baeumler (baeumler.ca) will be on hand to charm and educate visitors on everything home construction and renovation. As the media release says "Baeumler doesn't believe he's put in a hard day's work unless he gets his hands dirty." I like people who put their hands where their minds are.
Lastly I had to include Jennifer Scott & Megan Baker who own an interior design firm called A Good Chick to Know. I love the premise and fun of their company name and have to stop in to see if they live up to their name. For more information on the BC Home and Garden Show visit bchomeandgardenshow.com.
Todd Major is a journeyman horticulturist and chief horticulture instructor at UBC Botanical Garden. Contact him at email@example.com.