at Chicago Flower & Garden
by Tony Abruscato
Everything is coming up roses, azaleas,
perennials, annuals and more when the
annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show
presented by 811 Chicago and Peoples
Gas, ushers in spring from March 18 through 22 at Navy Pier
. This year’s theme,
“20/20 Focus on Flowers,” promises a fresh experience, with several new
exhibits and activities staying true to a celebration of flowers.
Begin your garden walk
with a 16-foot walled, spectacular, multi-sensory display of floral imagery,
flowers and planters: an entrance fit for a new focus and a new decade, not to
mention a great photo opportunity created by Kehoe Designs
Continue your walk by
taking in the majestic display of more than 20 unique garden exhibits featuring
more than 700 plant varieties. Some that are certain to make you stop and smell
the hyacinths are the “Focus on Spring” garden showcasing an all-new take on
our annual tulip garden; the Spring Garden, featuring Flowers for Dreams Floral
market offering a wonderful variety of fresh-cut floral stems and their
talented designers on-site to help create Make-N-Take arrangements; and the
“Pathways: Dreams, Explore, Discover” garden, featuring local female artists
who are challenged each year to create a new fiber art project that shares
their personal journey set in a new garden designed by In & Out Design.
And you won’t want to, or be able to miss
the display of 39 floral-themed quilts created by members of the American
Quilter’s Society. Suspended 30 feet above a 40-foot-by-40-foot quilt-patterned
garden, this is a rare opportunity to see floral art in this form, and the
first time the American Quilter’s Society
has displayed its members’ creations of
this magnitude outside its own events.
Flower power comes in all forms and
continues with competitions, stunning floral fashions, photography,
Tablescapes, window boxes and more. Being inspired will not be difficult at
this year’s show!
An exciting return to the 2020 Show is the
Best in Bloom florist competition. The competition helps kick off the 2020 Show
on March 18 with eight of the region’s leading florists on-stage at 11 a.m. competing
to create the best cut floral arrangement in 30 minutes. The winner receives
the title of Chicago’s Top Floral Designer, along with other prizes. Arrive
early to get a seat at this coveted event.
If you’ve missed it in the past, you’re in
for a great visual delight this year with the Hort Couture dazzling floral
fashion show, now a garden exhibit to be enjoyed by all attendees throughout
the five-day event. The Wintrust Bank Hort Couture Garden will feature
one-of-a-kind floral fashions displayed on mannequins by 12 local designers.
Show-goers are invited to text-to-vote for their favorite design.
All those in the Chicagoland region with a
talent to focus their lens on flowers will be featured in the Horticultural
Photo Contest. Look for selected photos in the Green Gallery.
The popular Tablescapes
and Window Box exhibits return this year, with regional interior designers,
florists and gardening clubs creating splendid and innovative displays in
dining room and window box vignettes.
The Chicago Flower &
Garden Show has the world’s only Kids Activity Garden, supporting its mission
to cultivate the next generation of gardeners. The Kids Activity Garden,
sponsored by JULIE1Call, features numerous free activities, including a new
butterfly encounter, bug zoo, paint your own bird house (for the first 300
children) and many more fun, green activities.
Also new to the Show is a rare look at a
locktender wife’s garden with the interactive Illinois & Michigan Canal Corridor
1848 Garden, featuring plants and more from the era. Additionally,
they will host an activity in the Kids Activity Garden for budding horticulture
enthusiasts to learn about the Junior Ranger Program.
Continuing your walk through the show, also
plan to check out the small spaces and parkway gardens; new technology exhibits
that will “wow”, such as a rooftop garden that uses smart phones to turn on
music, lighting and other outdoor features; and the presenting sponsors’ 811
Chicago and Peoples Gas Safety and Awareness Garden, providing messaging to
call before you dig in your yard this spring, whether it be for a new garden,
fence, mailbox or other project.
Finally, don’t miss the
opportunity to tour Plant Truck Chicago. Introduced last summer as the city’s
first mobile gardening boutique, its mission is to provide access to plant
material to residents of urban and underserved communities. Starting in April,
Plant Truck Chicago will make “food truck-style” appearances throughout
Chicago. The pop-up boutique sells terrariums, succulents and other houseplants
and small gardening products. All proceeds benefit The Get Growing Foundation
, the Chicago Flower
& Garden Show’s nonprofit umbrella organization.
Location: Navy Pier, 600
E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Tickets are available online and at the event box
office. For more information and advance ticket sales, visit ChicagoFlower.com.
Tony Abruscato, “Mr.
Green Chicago”, is president of Chicago-based Flower Show Productions, Inc. and
founder of The Get Growing Foundation.