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No ‘home,’ more ‘garden

This exhibit from the 2001 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show is from Woolworth Nursery in Campbell and Gardenmakers in Sacramento. The garden was titled "A Spirit of Exuberance" and designed by David Yakish.
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“Well, whaddya think?” I asked my friend after we visited a recent home and garden show at Cal Expo. He stared through the windshield, sighing, “We could have seen the same thing at Builders & Consumers Hardware and saved the gas money plus $6 for parking.”

Amen to that. Those shows are long on “home” – with everything from spas to slicer-dicers – and pathetically short on “garden.”



If you’re in the mood for a truly spectacular garden show, the 17th annual San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, Wednesday through March 24, will leave you gasping (not sighing) as you return home.




And when you visit the 23 full-size gardens at the Cow Palace in Daly City, you can cheer on a local artisan, David Burns, who’s teaming up with Sperbeck’s Nursery in Yuba City and Stone Manor Lighting of Malibu to create a fantasy called “Garden Reverie.”

Designer Chrisann Sperbeck visualizes the display as, “A mystical gate amidst stone ruins beckoning the visitor up a winding woodland path to a place for dreaming. The journey begins with stepping stones across a brook and continues through a naturalized formal garden graced by ferns and dwarf narcissus and illuminated by glass flowers. The journey ends with a garden bed and chandelier floating over a cascading waterfall.”

Plus, you’ll see a feng shui garden, a tropical paradise in Bali Hai, an Italian countryside garden and even a sidewalk garden.

Burns, of Rough and Ready, will also have a booth for his “Copper Gardens” gates, tables and garden ornaments among the 450 specialty exhibitors at a trade show that does NOT feature spas or kitchen gadgets.

There’s also an international koi festival (40 percent larger than last year), children’s garden exhibit, California Garden clubs competition, orchid pavilion (covering 21,000 square feet), ikebana (flower arranging) exhibit, bonsai display and a dazzling lineup of speakers for some 60 symposiums.

Ketzel Levine, National Public Radio’s “Doyenne of Dirt,” will speak on “Gardening on the Radio”; Sunset Magazine garden editor Kathleen N. Brenzel will talk about “Spectacular Plant Combinations”; San Francisco landscaper Topher Delaney’s lecture on “Sanctuary Gardens” will be about plants that comfort and heal; seeds woman Renee Shepherd will tell all about “Herbs for All Reasons and Seasons”; and 2002 show judge Dan Pearson will cover two topics: “A Sense of Place,” which explains how nature inspires appropriate design, and “Home Farm,” exploring the splendors of a naturalistic garden.

Last and certainly least, yours truly will open the Friday morning seminars with a visual trip to “Gardens of the Wine Country.”

Then there’s the popular “New & Cool Plants” symposium on Thursday and Friday, where representatives from nurseries and public gardens explore the cutting edge of horticulture in California. Bring a note pad or tape recorder, because each speaker has 30 minutes to discuss the “top 20” plants they think we should be aware of.

It’s best to get in line early for the most popular speakers, because doors close when the seats are full. And in the case of less well-known speakers like me, appearing at 10 a.m. on Friday, it’s a good time to take a load off your feet and keep the speaker company.

Dick Tracy is an award-winning garden writer and photographer, Master Gardener and former president of the Foothills Horticulture Society. You can write him in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.


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