Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Invitation

About a month ago I received an invitation from a representative of Proven Winners to attend a luncheon in Chicago associated with the Mid-America Horticultural Trade Show in Chicago which has been held here for the past thirty-five years.  At first I thought it was a come-on but decided to check it out.  Proven Winners is one of my favorite companies for annuals, perennials and new introductions (no remunerations for saying this).

Navy Pier extends out into Lake Michigan, changing from an open air pier with boats docking along it's sides, a carnival like atmosphere in the summer with outdoor antique markets, to an enclosed building that goes on for blocks.  Top notch restaurants line the long walk from one end to the other, retail stores of every description and fast food to die for all with the view of the big ships docked at the side for the winter.

Look what's coming in March!  I wonder if they would want a Garden Blogger to cover this?

My contact said they would like to have some garden writers (bloggers) attend, interview the speaker, etc.  Wow, someone actually wants a Garden Blogger to take photos and interview without worrying about being on the Internet!

The I Max Theatre on one side and Harry Carey's Tavern on the other.

I realized this was not an invite to the trade show so I emailed the Communications Director of the show and told her about my lunch and asked if I could possibly attend the trade show as a garden writer.  The answer was yes with the stipulation that I send her a link to my blog and subsequent posts about the show.  A few days later I received via email scanable entrance passes to the show.

It was quite a trek getting there, an hour on the train, another twenty minutes on a bus but I had arrived wide-eyed like a squirrel in a newly planted tulip bulb garden.  I didn't know where to strike first, exhibitors everywhere.  I could have looked at the exhibitor map online before the show and I would have been better prepared, knowing I would not have time to see everything.

The Smith Museum of Stained Glass is housed at Navy Pier and is worth a visit just to see this beauty.

This is only a small sampling of the beautiful stained glass, goes on for at least the equivalent of two blocks.

Chicagoland Grows is an organization that partners with the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Morton Arboretum to make the community aware of new introductions and appropriate plants for our area.

I have never seen so many mulch selections!

Rooftop Gardens

I love Stepables

A great display of David Austin Roses

This has been a very positive experience for me, we are seen as professionals in the industry, our opinions are are considered important and we do influence opinion.  I guess I have been concerned about being accepted by the wrong choir (the general public) when the music is resounding in my own element, writing about gardening.

I'll be back on this subject, haven't even talked about the new introductions and who I met!

Visit Tootsie for Fertilizer Friday!


allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Congratulations on a beautiful "reportage". [I'm using the French word here because it is more appropriate.]
Eileen, we have to be accepted by both choirs because, on some level, they do listen to each other.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Allan.

Eventually, this will happen but we are not there yet. I remember when I was one of two people in my neighboored who gardened.


troutbirder said...

Neat blog! It's -20 here this morning and looking at your beautiful flower gardens helped me to think a bit of spring!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi troutbirder,

I've got you beat, it's -1 degrees here this am.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Eileen! I love Chicago and appreciate the pictures! I hope your writing about the show will help me to get out of my hybernation stage! Write!

Donna said...

wow what a great opportunity and experience....can't wait to see more from the show!!

Zoey said...

How exciting for you Eileen. I will be looking forward to seeing the rest of the show.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Tatyana,

It was a bit overwhelming, so I am trying to sort out all of the info.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Donna,

It was a great opportunity, so much more going on than we usually get a chance to see or learn about.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Zoey, I really was excited to be with all of those plant people. I really picked their brains about recommended plants.


Beth said...

Eileen, I love the stained glass, the David Austin roses and the rooftop gardens. I was interested to view the mulch types. We used to use cedar mulch but buying 100 bags every year - well, we just found it wasn't cost-effective. Now we use pine needles from our neighbors. Thanks for the tour and I look forward to more. Thanks also for identifying my bromeliad.
Blessings, Beth

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

What a wonderful opportunity Eileen and good for you! The stain glass is just so gorgeous. Wow! I would just be wowed by the Davis Austin Roses display alone. LOL! Hope you enjoyed yourself.I am looking forward to more postings on this.

noel said...


this is a wonderful tour, i love the stained glass especially the martin luther one

have a great weekend

Karen said...

Eileen, thank you for this wonderful post! We have been to Navy Pier once, to look at all the gorgeous stained glass, and it was worth the trip then, but to be able to attend the garden show would have been doubly great!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Eileen girl that was fantastic .. too bad it takes so long to get there but I absolutely loved your description of being a squirrel in a newly planted tulip bed !!LOL
I wish I could get an invitation like that .. I love Proven Winners and the "Steppables" line as well .. I wonder if they EVER think of us Canadians as being just as enthusiastic ?
It was so nice to read this and see these pictures (do I sound a little cabin crazy ? sorry ..I think I am!) haha .. I need to garden so bad .. I can't even say !
Great post and happy you got there to let us know how it went !

Balisha said...

Hi Eileen,
Lucky, lucky you. You did such a wonderful job of reporting for many of us who will never get there. I used to go to the Flower Show, but I'm not able now...I'll be going, however, with you bloggers who do. The stained glass is exquisite....and David Austin favorite.
Stay warm...Balisha

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Beth, the stained glass was wonderful, it went on forever!

I was really interested in the mulch also. I have never seen all of those varieties around where I live.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Lona, I really did enjoy it. I know you go to many garden and plant exhibitions so you know how nice it is to be surrounded by gardeners.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Noel,

The stained glass was beautiful, many more than I photographed.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

I know Karen, isn't that glass something else! I could have taken tons more photos but I was running to that luncheon.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Joy, we are all cabin crazy, that's why I took a chance on going to this. You would have loved it, more than I could see in a short period of time.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I have not been to the Garden Show in several years, but this may be the year I venture back there to meet some Chicago Bloggers.


garden girl said...

Sounds like a wonderful time - sorry I missed it!

The stained glass museum sure makes the long walk back to the exhibition hall more interesting, eh!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi GG,

I had no idea the stained glass exhibition was housed at Navy Pier. I can't wait to go back and have a more in depth look at this great collection.


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

That is great! Maybe you'll give others (like me) the nerve to try and do something like this where we live. I would never have thought to ask if a show would be interested in a garden blogger. I have to say I loved all the pictures, but the David Austin display would have sucked me in right away.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Catherine, I though maybe if the lunch group wanted me there maybe the show would welcome bloggers. They did, it was a surprise to me also.


Jan@Thanks for today. said...

Beautiful photos of the stained glass, rooftop garden selections, etc. Sounds like you had a wonderful experience!