All the worlds a stage and the stage sets were up an blooming at the San Francisco Garden Show.
Tops on my list for the most creative and best use of plants was the underwater fantasy sea scene created by Organic Mechanics .
A dining table surrounded by 4 oversized antique metal clam shell seats set in a swirling sea of sumptuous succulents, colored sea glass and a watchful red eyed octopus was whimsically quirky yet crafted to perfection.
It was amazing how such earth bound plants as aeoniums, aloes , agaves , echiverias and sedums evoked a truly authentic feeling of an underwater coral reef. I was expecting Jacque Costeau to float by at any moment.
The naughty school children from Arizona State University dissed the show at the last minute and the show director Kay Estay was caught in a pickle.
In a stoke of genius she called upon a true San Francisco landscape design professional, Davis Dalbok of Living Green Studio who saved the day with one of the most tantalizing exhibits of the entire show.
What that man can pull out of his arse in a matter of 5 days of notice is so far superior to most other attempts of strained mundane.
Davis designed his stage set around a pair of giant copper incised temple doors. They look as though they were liberated from the Mongol Empire and were surrounded by an exported South East Asian orchid jungle .
The Modern Martini Garden from the underwriters of Garden Design fell an olive short this year. They could have used a bit more top shelf gin to infuse their exhibit with some more pizzaz. A few good pieces of uncomfortable modern styled furniture, a hot tub, turf block and some muddy brown grass did not make an impact and will quickly fade from our memories until it resurfaces in the glossy pages of the magazine a few months from now.
There was however one very exciting contemporary garden that will not fade from our memories and that was the highly artistic stage set designed by McCloud Design.
Their open plane was minimally decorated but what they did choose to use was chosen with an eye to detail . A wide long warm patinated modern copper wall piece was inlaid into an earth toned wall. Juxtaposed in front of the wall was a small stand of white bark birch trees.
Off to the side was a simple gathering area around a hand crafted metal fire pit . Several planter boxes fabricated from raw steel and a cascading water feature made from woven metal completed the sensual vignette.
The San Francisco Bromeliad Society crafted a well packed subtropical inspired jungle and John Greenlee the Californian Grass Guru visually treated us with a pastoral wild flower and native grass meadow complete with a shiny classic old car plunked down in the middle of the field.
The giant plastic gold gilded trophy for the most ghastly gauche goes to Amy Kee and the American Institute of Floral Design.
OH MY GAWD ! , It was so bad that I loved it for its over the top garish tackiness.
Imagine a 4 foot tall cream colored poodle made out of chrysanthemum flowers floating in a tub of water and bubble wrap.
Brightly colored heart shaped floral wreaths hanging from tripods that one would see at funeral parlor proudly displaying a portrait of the deceased ringed the exhibit.
It was a hoot ! Now that was a exhibit that I won’t forget for years to come !