Imagine a mass of climbing roses. When in bloom, all you see is beauty. But look under the blossoms to the snarled, jumbled mass of thorny vines supporting the flowery show and things don’t look so rosy. This analogy explains my feelings about indoor flower shows. I enjoy the sights and smells of these massive productions. I love the exposure to ideas of other gardeners and landscapers – madcap and sensible alike. The local big show, the
But the questioning skeptic in me has to ask: how much precious, non-renewable fuel and energy goes into creating each indoor oasis? Multiply this by the number of regional garden shows held across the States and one really has to question the ‘greenness’ of garden shows.
The Connecticut Flower and Garden Show was held in February – the dreariest, grayest of months in southern New England and it could not have been a more welcome time to soak up a bit of spring, albeit forced. The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show happened more recently. Take a stroll through the Designers look to the future of gardening photo stream. You’ll see “The Living Room,” a room sized box with exterior walls plastered with various types of sedum similar to these from my garden, and other edgy and not-so designs. Whether the photos elicit a “What?” reaction or get the creative juices flowing, catching a peek at designers’ ideas is always interesting.
After glimpsing “futuristic” garden designs, come back down to earth at the Smithsonian Institution’s interactive website Dig It! The Secrets of Soil. Plow into the info the Soil Science Society of America portrayed during their exhibit of the same name at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, in Washington DC. The exhibit ran from July 2008 into January 2010, but the Soil Science Society of America is prusuing a permanent soil exhibit. In the meantime visit the State Soils feature on the Dig It! site to read the soil tidbits listed for your state. The Connecticut link explains why so many areas, including where I live, are covered by masses of glacial rock – we grow great rocks around here. What I didn’t know: Windsor soils increase the fertility of the northern regions of the CT River valley in the Nutmeg State. Maybe you’ll learn something about soils in your state. The Dig It! site is full of lots of other interesting soil facts.
Probe deeper into the science behind making cut flowers last with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Plant physiologists there are studying how a synthetic version of cytokinin – a naturally occurring plant compound – extends the life of cut flowers and potted plants. The April 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine explains more. Maybe this will be the answer to making cut flowers last, particularly for those who forget to change the vase water.
You might also enjoy Ann Raver’s experience Growing Your Own Horseradish and Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s saving native plants project. Texas wildflower displays are predicted to be spectacular this year. Plus, learn about the dirty secrets of the cut flower industry as Amy Stewart portrays in her book, Flower Confidential – The Good, the Bad, the Beautiful in the Business of Cut Flowers.
I hope to make Newsy gardens & plants a regular Friday feature here. Last week’s version seemed pretty popular – stay tuned for more.