Earlier this month, Eileen invited me to attend the Boston Flower & Garden Show with her. Eileen is a talented, self-taught gardener who transformed her front yard into an oasis so welcoming she's found strangers lounging on her lawn furniture. As we roamed the vast convention center, she gathered inspiration and ideas.
I, on the other hand, am terrible with plants. It's fortunate for Izzy and Maisie that I'm much better at caring for kitties than the green, non-mobile residents of our home. Throughout the evening, various plants at the show kept sparking memories of my failures over the years:
"Oh, I bought a gerbera daisy when I moved into my apartment! But it died in the heat."
"I tried growing herbs on my windowsill in California. But they dried up and died."
"I once tried growing cat grass from seeds for Maisie. I followed the directions carefully. But it looked pale and sickly and never grew very tall, and then it died."
"My neighbor gave me some catnip in a pot once for Isabel, but it died."
"I had this great idea to keep three little plants in pots on my coffee table, but I think that spot didn't get enough light. They died."
Happily, there were many other plants that didn't invoke ghosts of botanical victims past. I was content to take in the beauty without aspirations for doing any gardening myself, and I had fun snapping photos using Instagram. (As friends on Facebook and Twitter may have noticed, I've grown rather enamored with Instagram.)
The show's theme was outdoor landscapes. We saw elaborate imaginary gardens and decks, complete with waterworks and patio furniture. The displays had been constructed on the convention center's cement floor from wood, stones, and what must have been tons of dirt and then planted with profusions of flowers, shrubs, grasses, and trees.
Other areas featured compositions ranging from fanciful hats and shoes constructed of flowers and greenery to formal arrangements fit for a grand dinner table or hotel lobby. We enjoyed reading the judge's comments, which tended toward statements like, "Strong upward movement of purple blooms is pleasing, but placement of green fronds disrupts rhythm."
I liked reading the Latin names for the plants to see how well they fit. "Fothergilla major" seems perfect for the pom-pom producing shrub above. My cousin, Julie, aptly called it "positively Seussian" when she saw this photo.
Among the vendors at the show were growers of beautiful (and remarkably well-priced) potted plants and cut flowers. I bought two dozen roses from Wilson Farm, plus, given my inability to grow it myself, some wheat grass for Maisie. (Izzy is indifferent to greens.)
Afterward, we stopped for dinner at JP Seafood, a favorite and most delicious Japanese/Korean restaurant in our neighborhood.
I went home and arranged my roses. Two dozen fill up a vase most pleasingly.
And Maisie was delighted with her wheat grass. She says salad makes the interminable waits between meals more bearable.