Three’s A Charm: San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

On the first day of Spring this year I joined my friend Candace for the annual San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. We’ve decided that after attending for three years running, it’s officially a tradition. This year’s theme: Mother Nature Going Wild

Tumble leaf 4

Tumble Leaf No 4 Sculpture

The display gardens are the heart and soul of this show and they are really something to behold. Although they aren’t all necessarily my style, I appreciate the thought that goes into each one. It takes tremendous time and energy to install the garden displays in the middle of an indoor event center. They haul in plants, trees, soil and structures and in many cases paving stones, gravel and tile.


As you walk through each one, it’s fun to imagine what it might be like in the ‘real’ world.

There were fewer gardens then in past years with many of them focused on succulents or low-water use gardens. I also spoke with a gentlemen who designs a lot of water features  and learned that a properly installed water feature uses less water than drought tolerant plants. Of course flowing water attracts all sorts of birds and beneficial insects and is a key component of a healthy garden. Who doesn’t want a garden filled with butterflies, birds and bees? I’ve already designed one…in my head anyway.

Here are three of my favorites:

2015 garden show where the wild things are

Transformation: Hugelkultur Technique Garden Designer: Nathan Beeck and Juan Chavez Garden Creators: Clearwater Design

Transformation is based on the landscape elements of Hugelkultur

“using landscape waste into new organically rich soil and an underground sponge that holds moisture and encourages the development of a mycorrhizal web of life. – Program Statement

2015 garden show growing an artful garden

Growing an Artful Garden, Garden Designer: Max & Joanne Nagaele Garden Creator: Foothill Design

Growing an Artful Garden was full of whimsy and charm. We’re sitting at a table with a garden cake made of greenery. If you look closely you’ll see a slice. The program statements says:

The vibe is serendipity. The ornamental garden, vegetable garden and the vintage potting shed provides the viewer with a vibrant tableau.

Don’t you want to stay awhile?

2015 garden show waterfall

Beauty Gone Wild Garden Designer: Benjamin Goulart Garden Creators: Goulart Designs

Beauty Gone Wild’s design features

Gaia, the great mother of all: the primal Greek Mother Goddess, creator and giver of birth to the Earth and the Universe. She is the personification of nature itself, and we are creating her with nature itself in our garden.

I fell in love with this gorgeous fountain, and haven’t stopped thinking about it for a week. The soothing flow of water held me captive.

In addition to the garden displays, there are two other pavilion halls housing plants, trees and seeds for sale. A couple of hobbyist groups showed off Bonsai plants that were upwards of fifty years old. If those plants could talk!

There were plenty of gadgets for sale too, but nothing I couldn’t live without. We did leave with several bags of freshly made kettle and caramel corn, and put a serious dent in one of the bags during the 45 minute ride home. Yum!

Have you ever been to a garden show? If not, I highly recommend it.