Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The 2012 Nashville Lawn and Garden Show & Local Garden Opportunities

Have you ever heard of the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show? It is one of the premier gardening events of our state and comes every year around the first weekend of March. I have attended it each year since 2003. That year was a memorable event for me. I was due to deploy to Iraq within a day or two but felt I had (read I would die if I did not) to attend the Lawn and Garden Show. That year was a cold year during the show. I found a lot of good buys and had no way to carry them around the show. Thinking I would take a shortcut I quickly exited a nearby door which I thought would be a shortcut to my car. Ha! The joke was on me and I was nearly in tears by the time I found my car. I wound up walking all around several agricultural buildings in a freezing cold wind all the while trying to carry things like iron letters and iron work. Never again have I made that mistake. This year the weather was simply splendid and the company good. I am now familiar enough with the venue (after all these years) that I don't get lost and can easily traverse all five huge buildings the show is housed in. 

The first building one enters upon entering the show contains all of the display gardens. The other four contain the vendors and lecture areas. The gardens are always a splendid sight to see. It seemed this year the big trends were ponds (as always) and fire. Rustic living seemed to be a common trait amongst the gardens as well. The tree in the above picture (believed to be a weeping spruce of some kind) was nicely displayed across the arched entryway of the fence. When one enters the fence he or she is taken into a rustic retreat that is reminiscent of the Great Smokey Mountains.
This waterfall caught my eye because it is exactly the view I have for my small pond!! We are not done with our waterfall but once I get another pallet of rocks I will be working on creating this waterfall in my own garden.
I love ponds that have the rocky bottoms. This one caught everyone's eye as they walked by. I don't think it is practical for ponds that are used though. In my experience ponds will need to be cleaned and I just can't imagine walking into this pond on all those rocks. Nonetheless my pond will have some areas with rocks like this-just not the whole pond. Firms that set up these displays at the show have the luxury of setting up dream ponds but they just aren't always the reality at home. I say enjoy the gardens for the concept and dream and then tailor the ideas to fit your lifestyle and capabilities and needs.
Fire was the next big theme. I have a particular fondness for glass gems so this gas fireplace was very catchy to my eye.
These pillars with the nearby faces of 'stone' were also pretty neat. I can just imagine the ambiance of a garden after night with these cool lights to illuminate the evening.
Now this sedum table is a special table. The whole display in this area was set up by the Davidson County Master Gardener Association. My friend Doris from PPSMT owns this table and was kind enough to move it here for the display. Don't you just love master gardeners? They are ordinary people who have a bit of training in gardening related subjects, but mostly master gardeners are volunteers who share their love of gardening with others simply to spread the word about horticulture. This is what Doris has done by loaning her cool sedum table to the display.
The floral design gallery is always a cool place to visit. While I am not much into designing with flowers I do appreciate bringing flowers into the home so I do tend to look at the displays in this gallery. This particular display was more of a horticulture related thing rather than a flower design in my humble opinion. It is a living wall framed to look like a picture. How cool would that be to have in a sunroom or breezeway? It is an absolute piece of living art.

This is the kind of art I want to see. These iris reticulatas were stunning next to the hellebores. This picture was taken on the first day of the show and they glowed. When I went back on the last day of the show (Sunday) these irises were not looking too good. Personally I think that is is okay to show the good and the bad in gardens and the fact these irses had grayed and gone by kind of added to their charm, although I do prefer the brilliant purple of them when they were at peak. 

I always attend the show with a few of my good friends. On Thursday I went with Helga, Geri, Vonna, and Naomi. I normally attend only one time per year but this year I had vowed to see some seminars. Ensuring I saw some seminars meant another trip to the show. My choice was to see Jeff Poppen of The Barefoot Gardener fame, and host extraordinaire on Tennessee's Volunteer Gardener. Jeff was scheduled to appear on Sunday, March 5 at 2:00 pm. He was the last speaker and I am sure the timing of his presentation was purposeful and it worked. Thursday's show saw the crowd as very thin but by Sunday it was practically standing room only. Jeff Poppen was a delight! He stated that every year he speaks at the Lawn and Garden show the organizers choose a subject for him to talk on. And every year Jeff simply stands in front of the crowd and opens up the floor for questions. It was kind of funny but you know he kept the crowd mesmerized for a full hour. After the presentation Jeff graciously signed his new book and gave away some kale seeds. Geri and I were fortunate to get a few. Once the kale begins growing I'm sure I'll note where it came from again. 

I highly recommend the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show if you live in Middle Tennessee and are into gardening. It and the Summer Celebration Show at UT Jackson are the two can't miss shows on this gardener's list....

in the garden....

This Saturday from 9-3 there will be an excellent opportunity for local gardeners to hear some top notch speakers speak on the very subject of gardening. The annual Montgomery County Master Gardener Association Short Course will take place at the extension hall in Cumberland Heights. The cost for the all day program is $40. For that you get lunch, door prizes, networking, the opportunity to buy garden related items from local experts and vendors, and networking! I'll be giving a talk about perennials at 1:00 pm and I'll also be selling some of my wares to include hypertufa pots, marker stones, leaf castings, and window paintings. I'd love to see you there so hurry and call Karla to register for the course! Some of my friends have already signed up and I promise you that you won't regret coming to the course~!
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. It is heartening that there are still a few flower and garden shows that actually show some flowers and gardens, and are not just a showcase for outdoor kitchens, sun rooms and vinyl siding.

  2. Les, we have those 'home' shows too but this one is pretty much all about the garden though a few nonrelated retailers slide in there. The gardens were so nice this year!

  3. I would have liked to go this year but to many things were going on last week. I would have gone on Friday but you know what the weather was like! That sedum table is a really cool idea!

  4. I agree with Les on the Home and Garden Shows in our area. Atlanta of all places has one that is mostly household related. I would think that a large city such as Atlanta would have a nice Garden show but I am yet to find it. Grrrrrrr. I so envy you for being able to get to this awesome looking show each year Tina. I should plan a TN trip during the show sometime. I would love to stroll around with you and soak up all the surrounding beauty! Not to mention the ideas one can get at these shows. My mind is wandering after seeing some of your pictures.... Hummmmmm, stay tuned... LOL...

  5. I love the entrance way. It always sounds like a good show to attend. The one in Portland is this coming weekend but I have never gone. Too much walking for this ole lady and it is such a hassle to take my electric wheel chair and I hate having to have someone push the manual one around. The flyers on it look like it is a good one though.

  6. Many interesting display there! I like ponds with rocks too.

  7. Living walls are everywhere this year. Great photos.

  8. How much fun to see that show. I love the rocky pond and thought of yours. Poor you. I lose my car in big parking lots too.

  9. I miss Garden Shows. Haven't found one close enough to make the trek to see one. I love the big Jade plant in that concrete pot.

  10. Love your site! Can you tell me the name of the bush that one of the booths at Nashville Lawn and Garden Show gave away this year? I got it and the Red Oak, but forgot the bush's name. Thanks!

  11. Anonymous, I believe it is Amorpha fructescens, aka Lead Plant. I didn't get one but picked one up for a friend as she was so excited about it. Enjoy!