I am delighted to be the photographer for the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, but it is an adventure in many ways. If you have ever been to one of the big indoor garden shows you know the settings are fantasy and the gardens are all together in one huge room.
As a photographer, the setting is challenge with a kaleidoscope of gardens all together in one huge room, with artificial lighting and spotlights of every color. I am expected to make each garden look distinct.
Fortunately, as the official photographer, I get to use a scissor lift machine that I can elevate to the ceiling and drive around to exactly the position I need. Nevermind the fear of being in a small platform on the lift high above a concrete floor, the real worry is taking a sharp photo while the lift wobbles and shakes.
But it is the only way to get a sense of each garden and to see the overall design.
Then I am expected to find the more intimate images, that pretend we are in a real garden. Notice that concrete statue in the lower left in the photo above, with the striped chairs across the installation?
Now peering into the garden over the shoulder of the sculpture, we can almost pretend it is a real garden.
For most garden shows we are asked to suspend belief and imagine these gardens are our backyards. But in many of the gardens at the San Francisco Show we enter the fantasy of the garden designer, the exhibits become art installations. The gardens are often provocations that entertain and make us smile.
Enter Where the Wild Things are:
There is a “garden bed” through the door, under those blue lights.
Meadow Mindcraft, inspired by the popular video game as seen from above.
Modular pieces are meant to be pushed around and re-arranged by any one willing to play. This is not a “Do Not Touch” garden.
The Best of Show prize went to “Sublimation” designed by the Academy of Art University, a fanciful gardenscape featuring stone gabions and bold plants.
I think it pretty wonderful that the judges were open to the creative ideas of art students.
Indeed, the show seeks to encourage the imagination of the garden designers as well as the show goers. The central area of the Show was a sculpture area, encouraging visitors to stroll.
Sculptural details were found in many of the gardens, such as this “weeping ” tree.
Sculptural plants such as these blooming Aloe:
Sculptural water features such as pollinator’s water fountain .
Even the flower exhibits at the show were sculptural and artistic.
Regular reader here at Gardening Gone Wild will be pleased to know your three intrepid co-bloggers, myself, Debra Lee Baldwin, and Fran Sorin were all together on the main stage, back-to-back-to-back at the Show. Was it some sort of coincidence that the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show theme this year was “Go Wild”? We think not…