Posts tagged ‘plants’

San Francisco Flower and Garden Show 2013 Summary: Part 2

As promised here are the rest of my impressions from the SF Flower and Garden Show.

One of the things Anne and I like about this show is the fact that it’s PLANT centered. So many Home and Garden shows are more home, less garden. This show features elaborate display gardens put together or sponsored by companies that are involved in landscape design, decor or nurseries. I’m always impressed by the displays. You feel like someone sucked up someone’s yard and deposited it in the San Mateo Event Center. One company even had full grown trees in there! This year, there seemed to be less gardens for whatever reason. Maybe it was cause this was our second year and the newness had worn off? We got there early on Saturday and I was able to walk around and take photos that were relatively people free which was nice.

Amazing rotating globe covered entirely in succulents.

Amazing rotating globe covered entirely in succulents.

By far, the most impressive display was an enormous reproduction of the planet Earth covered completely in succulents put together by Succulent Gardens. This globe actually rotated. I follow them on Facebook and had been seeing progression pictures of it’s construction in my newsfeed, but it was amazing in person. I took many other pictures. You can find some of them on Anne of Green Gardens Facebook page.

Speaking of Succulent Gardens… They always have a large booth in the plant market and last year I spent WAY too much money there. Every time I went by their display, I would find something new and just have to have it. I think I took home around $40 of succulents in a cardboard tray. This year, both Anne and I resolved to be good little girls and keep the spending down. Their booth is in a prime location where all traffic has to pass either to get food or to use the bathroom. Every time I went out for a break, I would pass by and look at the plants that were all calling my name, but I held out. Then, on the last day, Anne went on a break and came back with this funny expression.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I gave in to succulent fever!” she said.

Succulent plants for sale.

The candy section, I mean plants for sale at Succulent Garden’s booth.

There was a $40 minimum if you needed to use a card instead of cash. Since we were hording our cash for food (none of the food booths took cards which was a bit annoying), it was use a card or nothing. She had picked out her half of the $40 and left them in a box there at the booth and told them that her friend would be by to pick out the remaining $20. Never one to leave a friend in the lurch, (hee hee), I hightailed it to the booth and wandered around like a kid in a candy store picking out my plants. I LOVE succulents. They all come in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They are easy to care for. They propagate easily (most you can just snap off a piece, stick it in dirt and soon, you’ll have another plant growing). Most importantly, they are very tolerant – which is key in my tough love garden!

Ok, before this turns into an ode to succulents…

Anyway, we finished tabling and then suddenly, it was 6pm, Sunday night and Lynnette who runs the show was announcing that the 2013 show was closed. It was kind of a bittersweet moment. We were both pretty tired at this point, but in a way you don’t want it to end. I imagine it’s similar to how I feel at the end of an anime con. You’ve spent 3-5 days with a bunch of people who have similar interests as you and many of them you only see at these shows once a year. You form bonds of camaraderie and then suddenly, it’s time to pack up and leave and head back to reality. Anne and I joke that the garden show and anime cons are our respective motherships.

We packed up her car and then headed out to grab a quick dinner before I had to make my train in Hayward. Riding high on Garden Show vibes, we proceeded to plot an overhaul of her display for the 2014 show. I sketched ideas out on a napkin as we ate. All too soon, it was time to get on the train and head back home, my little succulents and cacti gently swaying to the trains motion as we headed back.

If you missed us this year, we’ll be back again next year (most likely in our same spot in the Fiesta Building). You should drop by!

March 27, 2013 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

Something Stinky This Way Comes…

One of the reasons I love living in a college town – access to really cool happenings. UC Davis has a very cool botanical conservatory that is home to a huge variety of plants. The ones that steal the show are the corpse flowers (Amorphophallus titanium) also known as the titan arum. The staff at the UCD Conservatory have fondly named their plants Ted, Tammy and Tom. I think there was another named Tabitha, but if I remember correctly, that one died. Anyway, corpse flowers are the largest unbranched flower in the world. In the wild, they can grow to over 6 ft tall! So what’s the big deal? It looks like a moldy french bagette wrapped in a cabbage leaf!

Titan arums take years to bloom and the flower only lasts for about a day or so as it takes an enormous amount of energy for the blooming process. Underground is the corm which is sort of like a bulb and looks like a really lumpy potato, lol. This sends up a tree-like leaf every year that helps to gather energy to store in the corm. The leaf dies, and it goes dormant before sending up another leaf. It does this until there is enough energy to flower. Titan arums rely on flies for pollination so when it opens, it raises quite a stink, literally! It really does smell like rotting meat or a dead animal. To further uh…enhance? the smell, the central part will heat up close to human body temperatures. After this big show, the flower will wilt and if there has been a successful pollination, seeds will form. It will go dormant again and then start the process all over again.

I had first learned of the titan arums (and the UCD Conservatory) back in 2009 when Ted the Titan bloomed for the fourth time. It’s a pretty big deal since these are so rare, so there are news blasts that will go out on campus and to the local news channels. When I heard that Tammy was blooming, I started keeping an eye on the progress on their Facebook page. Tammy teased everyone and took her own sweet time opening. Finally, they announced that she was blooming on Sunday afternoon. Even though I’m in the middle of a super busy time right now as I prep for Anime Expo, I grabbed the camera and jumped on public transit to check it out.

The flower wasn’t fully open when I got there, but still fascinating and starting to attract an audience. We mostly stood around and stared at it and asked questions of the staff. It was really otherworldly. I overheard this one girl say ‘I thought it would look more like a flower, not something from Little Shop of Horrors’ which was pretty funny. The smell wasn’t as potent when I went, but that was fine with me.  I had visited Ted when he was at full stink. Add to that the record heat we were having at the time and all the body heat from visitors and I felt like I could FEEL and taste the smell. Yum-eee!!

If you can get over the stink (or go when it’s not so potent), the plant does have a kind of strange beauty. I spent some time photographing it in detail before heading back home. All in all, am glad I went and saw Ted’s stinky sister 🙂

Tammy is done doing her thing for this time around, but the conservatory is open weekdays til 5. Even though the titans are kind of the ‘stars’ there are still many other equally interesting plants inside. I also saw a coffee tree with coffee beans and a chocolate tree with the pods. Whenever I go there, I make sure I take extra batteries and my camera as there is always something to photograph!

Follow their Facebook page to stay on top of when the titans are blooming. The conservatory also has a their home page with information about visiting (directions, hours, parking, etc.).

 

 

June 21, 2012 at 5:36 am Leave a comment

San Francisco Flower and Garden Show Review

Ok, so it’s about a week late, but I just took a week off to totally slack and try to recover. It’s a 5 day show! I was only there for 4 days, but I was already exhausted before hand. Anyway…

I actually had more fun than I anticipated. I knew I was going to have fun, but the main reason I was going was to help my friend out at her table. She was representing her gardening blog called ‘Anne of Green Gardens‘. I figured that there would be pretty detailed questions about plants and gardens that I would have no clue what to say. After all, I killed my aloe vera. Those are supposed to be pretty tough to kill! She had helped me out my first time selling at Fanime and she had said she felt like there was some invisible mark on her stating that she was an impostor or something – ‘DOESN’T KNOW NARUTO FROM INU YASHA! BEWARE!!’, lol! I was thinking that it was going to be the exact same thing for me at this garden show – ‘KILLS ALL HER PLANTS! PLANT MURDERER!!!!’ There were questions that I couldn’t answer when she was gone, but I told them to pick up her card and that she likes to answer questions (hope she doesn’t kill me for that one). After listening to her do her schpeel for a few times, I had it down and felt more confident when she was out roaming.

It was so cool to see her totally in her element. She made some great connections (this thing is HUGE – like 10,000 people attending) and when we got back from the second day of the show, she asked, “What was that you said about the first time you went to Fanime?”. “I found my mothership,” I said. “YES! That’s totally how I feel here!!” she replied.

One of the things that the show is known for are these garden displays that people put together. It’s seriously like some space ship ‘beamed’ up someone’s backyard and then deposited it in the building where the show is. It’s a large, warehouse like exhibit hall and so the garden designers had brought in full grown trees and had installed water falls and all kinds of stuff. I loved looking at them and taking pictures and dreaming what I would do in my own yard if I had a house and a ton of money. One of the gardens had this cool walk way that was made of up large flat stones that were supported over a pond with koi swimming below. I took so many pictures.

Of course, there were also plants for sale too. One business was there named Succulent Gardens (they are near Santa Cruz). It was like succulent heaven! Aside from the aloe vera death, succulents are the only thing I’ve grown with continued success. They come in so many varieties and sizes and the cool thing about them is that they don’t need much care and if you want to grow more, you can just snap off a piece, put it in dirt and it will root and start a whole new plant! Isn’t that cool?? My friends and I often swap succulent pieces among ourselves. This business had a large booth area and they were ALWAYS packed with people. Anne and I kept buying things from them. I came home with a half flat of various succulents. Granted, some were an early birthday present for a friend, but a lot were for my collection. I can’t wait to get them all potted up.

Since I knew that Anne was going to be the one doing most of the talking, I took my felt and sewing box with me. The first day, I worked on my plushies for nearly the whole time. In the end, I completed three donuts, a pancake, sunny side up egg, strawberry and eggplant. I also finished the ‘sprinkles’ on three more donuts and embroidered their mouths, but I had run out of time before the show so didn’t get a chance to cut the backs for them when I was still at home. All these will be on sale online through my Art Fire shop and at Fanime and Anime Expo. I put the eggplant plushie out on the table and people were commenting on it. I had also taken some of my own cards. I had done up some buttons for Anne with her blog name and website on them. The images were various Kimchi Kawaii style fruits and veggies and so when people commented on the buttons, we gave them one of my cards if they were interested in cute art. Some people gave me recommendations for more fruit and veggies and Anne and I were joking that we could go back next year with different designs and make it a ‘collect them all’ thing. We even had some people come looking for her table because they had seen other people wearing the buttons around the show!

We are definitely going back next year! I am thinking of actually selling some of my stuff there too. I have lots of ideas, but as for what they are, you’ll just have to wait, or visit me at the 2013 SF Garden Show!

March 31, 2012 at 1:34 am 2 comments

Wannabe Nature Photography & Shout Out

One of my hobbies is taking what I call my ‘wannabe National Geographic photos’. Usually, it’s plants. One of my favorite places to walk and photograph is the UC Davis Arboretum. I have so many photos from there. I’m really not sure what I should do with all of them, but I still like going and taking more, especially in spring time when all the plants are flowering. So if you are ever around and see some weird Asian girl crouching on the side of the walkway snapping away, it’s probably me. Or taking pictures of clouds. Or chasing bees….

One person who has found use for my photography skills (meager as they are) is my friend Anne. She’s a horticulturalist who maintains her own blog called ‘Anne of Green Gardens’. She frequently updates with posts relevant to the current season and also sprinkles in interesting tidbits about plant histories. Take a look and drop a comment or ask a question! You may learn something! Anne of Green Gardens is here.

January 7, 2011 at 10:26 am Leave a comment


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