Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Chicago Flower and Garden Show

To sum it up-- fantastic speakers, terrible exhibits, same old marketplace.

But still totally worth going, because I get to see all the people that I talk to on line all year, all the gardeners who have made such a difference in my life.

In general, the show was poorly lit, unimaginative and focused on hardscaping rather than plants. There were very few plants that even a casual gardener wouldn't recognize, and those weren't identified (in fact almost no plants were identified). The theme of "sports" was not well conceived, and for the most part poorly executed. (There was a pond that looked like an ice rink; really really want that.)

I managed to make it to four seminars, although I missed three that I was hoping to attend as well (stupid job). Got a great lecture about using the web as a resource from Mike Nowak, another on sustainable garden design and a presentation by Chicago Gateway Green about converting highway spaces, and responsible, workable corporate sponsorships, and I finally got to hear Lamanda Joy's wonderful talk on Chicago and the World War II Victory Garden movement.

Sadly, there was no edible garden at the show. Again. Okay, there was one, but it wasn't using the plants as edibles, but rather as ornamentals. Why is the garden show so averse to edible gardening? I don't get it. The landscape awards were all for professionally designed and installed mega-gardens in rich peoples' houses. At the very least, there should be a display featuring Mayor Daley's Landscape Awards.

Ah well. Kvetch kvetch kvetch. I rescued a lost child and I did score some wonderful dried fruits from Lehman's Orchard, with which I made these scones, and some wasabi peas, which I used in the following potato salad.

Wasabi potato salad
10 red potatoes
2 russet potatoes, peeled
1 large carrot, shaved and chopped fine
1 hard boiled egg
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 cup dried wasabi peas, crushed

1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon wasabi (less or more, depending on your heat tolerance)
1 teaspoon finely chopped basil

Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces and boil until just done. Set aside to cool (do not put boiling hot potatoes into the mayo). Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrot down, then finely chop the shavings. Cut up the egg, and mix everything together, no finesse needed.

I had this with crab cakes. Make your own mayo.


  1. Sorry you had such a mixed review from the F&G show. I'd thought about heading up that way with Mom and meeting up with you, but you'd already been and Mom's expressed exactly the same opinions about the show as you. It's been several years since I've been - and the last time I did go, I managed to catch the St. Patty's Day parade to boot. In fact, it's been so long the Bean wasn't even there!
    Sorry the show sucked, glad the seminars were good!

  2. Sorry we couldn't meet up, but there are lots of other more interesting places for gardeners to get together. I think we should all meet at Fernwood in Southern MI this summer, actually!