Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2009 San Francisco Garden Show review

The 2009 San Francisco Garden Show held at the San Mateo Event Center opened on Wednesday March 18.

The new venue is quite an improvement over the former site, the Cow Palace.
Gone was the dark moody lighting and cave like feeling.
The new venue is light and bright and best of all, you can sit outside on comfortable picnic tables surrounded by lawn and trees and enjoy a lunch break between visiting the spectacular garden exhibits and shopping in the nursery concourse.

As always, all the gardens were beautifully presented but several were absolutely spectacular.

When casting a discerning eye towards the exhibition gardens I am looking for creative innovation, strong design direction , uncompromised quality craftsmanship and originality.
These are the elements that separates the seed from the chaff.

The garden designed by Rebecca Cole and company met all of the criteria above and then some.
From the custom designed fabric on the seating to the perfectly patinated metal planters to the intricately planted green walls she choreographed a multilayered symphony that delighted and ignited every cerebral emotion in ones body.

She and her team garnered the highest award given at the show, The Golden Gate Cup , and they deserved it.
From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

There is much to be said about judging a garden on its authenticity of design and not by the authority of its past.
The craftswomen at Mariposa Gardening and Design embraced the time honored craft of fine stone masonry and gave us a splendidly rich contemporary garden that touched deeply into anyone's soul who can appreciate the art of fine hand wrought craftsmanship.

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

The design team of Studio Replica , Wendy Owen Design and Garden Fantasia deftly blended haute horticultural couture with rusticated elegance.
It was if Fred Flintstone hit the lottery and hired Wilma a brilliant hot new decorator.
Textures were rich, colors were harmonious and the forms were artistically exciting.

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

The ladies from Fiddleleaf Fine Gardening and Design along with Susan Fenelon treated show goers to a sublime retreat. Their delicate interstitial design was environmentally sensitive. One felt as if they were wrapped in a thick velveteen cloak of natural luxuriance.

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

Ripple Effect Water Gardens along with Eco Systems Landscape didn’t fall victim to the ubiquitous Japanese Zen Water garden theme that always seems to show up at the garden show every year.
Instead they demonstrated authenticity of design and extraordinary craftsmanship.
Their attention to detail showed in every nook and cranny of their sanctuary.

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

Mary Te Selle of Quite Contrary Garden Design artistically blended found objects into objects of art.

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

The Master Composters and Alane O’Rielly Weber were educational and inspirational with their vegetable garden.
From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

Redwood Landscaping once again delighted the crowds with their garden ‘Paradise Lost and Found.
From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

Tierra Seca wowed us with his contemporary design.
And although I have seen his lit cube of glass in a cage at a prior garden show, I still find it alluring.

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009


carolyn g said...

WOW! Thanks for the great coverage of the SanFrancisco garden show - I attended the Seattle show, and found them quite similar...seeing your photos. Great stonework examples!

Apparently, it's the last year for both, unless a buyer has come forth. Bummer.

I enjoy your Garden Porn blog - you inspire me.

susan harris said...

OK, here's what I don't understand: why YOUR flower show showcases such gorgeous and hip stuff, and all the other garden shows I've ever seen are filled with tacky stuff I absolutely hate.

Deviant Deziner said...

Hello Carolyn,
I hope that you have heard the news that the show might go on. The current owner has found a local buyer for the S.F. show.

The S.F. show has long been a trend setting show.
As a matter of fact that is the premise that the original show was set up as.
Back in the early days when the show was held at Fort Mason center ( prior to being sold to Salmon Bay Productions, a for profit org. ) it was so cutting edge that it was often harshly critiqued for being too "arty" too "sculptural" and too "out there".

I actually think the show has gone a bit too main stream pedestrian and wish there were more avant guard gardens.

Perhaps the S.F. show will go back to its cutting edge roots now that there are new S.F. based owners.

Emma Howard said...

The archived image of your bamboo pergola brought me to your very inspiring,energetic site.

Love it and will continue to check back.

Thank you!

Susan Battersby said...

I was terribly disappointed in the show.
Because of the size of the building, it seems that the gardens were all rather small. I felt that it was disorganized, and I really didn't like to see vendors in the area where the gardens were.
I have always enjoyed the Cow Palace, as it allows for two tiered gardens, and cascading waterfalls.
While I have always attended to get new ideas, find new types of plants, I also like to shop. Many of my favorite vendors were not there.
I was thinking that if the show survives, I would not go again, but maybe I will give it one more chance.

Deviant Deziner said...

Hello Susan B.
Thanks for your feedback about the show.

I also found the show to be a bit disorganized too.

By having the vendors in the same room right next to the show gardens was distracting.

This is the first time that I have been to a garden show and saw this and in my opinion it does not work.
It muddies up the organization of the space and creates a pedestrian flow of traffic problem.

I also missed several booths that I was looking for such as the CLCA ( calif. landscape contractors assc.) because I could not find it.
I was wondering if I missed an entire building of vendors because I did not see them.

I hope the new management for the show reviews these problems and comes up with better solutions.

I also did not like having to drive all the way south of the city to attend the show.
I think it would be preferable to have a centrally located S.F. city location.

I know that the Ft. Mason venue was eventually deemed too small for the growing show, but perhaps they can find another location similar to it in the city.
Many people that I know from Sonoma and Marin did not attend because of the additional traveling distance.

I think a City location is key in regards to location.

Alice Joyce said...

Michelle, you did a brilliant job of reviewing the show gardens. Sorry there was not one of yours to bask in. Now that I have made this connection, albeit a vague one, with you in cyberspace, I'll look forward to keeping up with your projects.

Alice Joyce said...

and btw, I agree that a city location would be far more desirable in every way. Having moved West after the Fort Mason days, I really feel like I missed the best times, based on everything I've heard from hortis in the area.

Kathleen said...

Your review and photos are making me even more excited about getting out in the garden! I am SO ready! The forcast for tonight is snow flurries, but soon... very soon....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for covering the show so well! I was at the Chicago show and it definitely doesn't reach the level of the SFGS.

Deviant Deziner said...

Thanks for your comments,
I enjoyed covering the show and look forward to doing the same for the next year's show.

Until then, happy gardening !

MNGarden said...

All I can say is Wow, what a show, and since I couldn't be there, it was great seeing it with you.

Jen said...

Found your site by accident and love this post - tres chic - love the glass in metal cube

Anonymous said...

Garden is awesome ! Great pictures and very interesting blog. That's one thing I'm really looking forward. Looking forward to reading more from you. Till next time.

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