Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 170th Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier. Yes, you read that right; this show has been happening in Chicago since 1847! For the past five years, BatesMeron has had the distinct pleasure of partnering with the show producers at Flower Show Productions to help design and brand each year’s event.
From the annual theme concept and design to the tickets and show guide to magazine and newspaper ads, billboards and event signage, we love working with Chicago Flower & Garden show to bring the event to life. And naturally, it’s a treat to see our work at one of the oldest festivals in Chicago!
While attending the show and getting to see our signage and designs interspersed throughout, I was also able to gather some gardening ideas and inspiration along the way. Although I live in a high-rise building and don’t have my own private outdoor space, I was still able to take away some great tips for how to incorporate more green into my life.
Top 5 Things We Learned at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show
1. Build an herb garden to give as a gift
I was delighted to be able to watch a talk from ornamental plant materials expert, Jill Selinger, who spoke on the many ways to build your own window box herb garden. Selinger gave tips that included the importance of not overcrowding the planter and choosing a soil made for container gardening. My favorite tip was to give away an herb garden you make as a party gift, instead of the typical bottle of wine or sweet treat.
2. Combine hardware and natural materials to make cool art
This idea to build a unique landscaping-materials collage came from the impressive Aquascape garden. I thought this was a really clever way to make a visually interesting decoration by pairing together items easily found around the home and yard. I love the juxtaposition of the natural materials mixed with the manmade items. While this collage would look great hung up on a fence outdoors, I think it would look equally as alluring indoors.
3. Discover the beauty of hanging planters
While walking through the marketplace of exhibitors selling home goods and garden supplies, I spotted the most adorable hanging planters from Verdant Matter. It’s a simple concept if you want to make one yourself: bowl + rope = planter, but you can also support a local business and purchase one of these from Verdant Matter in Pilsen.
4. Bring a living wall into your workspace
Interior plantscape specialists, NPK Associates, created a garden to showcase how plants and greenery could be brought into the office space with the benefits of cleaner air, improved morale, decreased stress and greater productivity. I loved the idea of this “living wall” that features an array of plants and grasses, and could be be featured on a wall or on the front of a desk. This concept would make a great addition to an office where there is little natural light, or simply for the plant lover in the workplace!
5. Recreate iconic art and images using flowers
I was really inspired by this re-creation of the Chicago flag made from multi-colored flowers and a metal frame. While I’m sure it would take some time, it got me to thinking what other designs could be recreated using flowers—famous works of art, a city skyline or an abstract design.
There you have it, my top five tips and inspirations from the 2017 Chicago Flower & Garden Show. If you attended this year, let us know some of your favorite takeaways in the comments!