Bozeman home and garden show: not so much


A lesson learned: be chary with your guilt


Last year I missed this show. I saw a sign or heard an add, and the next time I turned around, it was over. Immediately, I was stricken with guilt. After all, as a garden blogger, shouldn’t I be running around the country to see garden shows? If I’m not flying to England for the Chelsea show, at least I can attend the local one. But I didn’t. Hence the guilt.

This year, I actually got to the show (thanks to my friend Ellen), and I have to report that last year’s paroxysms were a complete waste of good guilt.

Part of the problem, of course, was that I went with the wrong expectations. I’m aware that Bozeman, Montana isn’t Chelsea or San Francisco, and I wasn’t expecting anything approaching the elaborate installations to be found at those garden shows. I was also aware that it was February (and it was still February when all this happened) and I did wonder what sort of gardens could be on display in February. In Montana.

So, bearing in mind that February is not the most optimal month for gardening anywhere north of the 40th parallel, and that even in July Bozeman hardly qualifies as the center of the gardening universe, I still did expect to see gardens. Plants, you know. Things growing. Green things, some of them with woody stems, some with colorful stuff (known amongst us gardening aficionados by the affectionate term, flowers) at their tips or along their stems or branches.

Oh, foolish, naive, woman! Oh innocent of the lawn and garden universe!

When Ellen and I had picked our way through the snow and ice and mud and puddles to the fairground entrance, we found booth upon booth set up by local businesses, most of them advertizing flooring or roofing or window blinds or lighting or wood stoves or plumbing or just about anything else that goes into a house. Daunted but not yet defeated, we made a short dash to the second building, still hoping to find rows of booths with, say, pansies or crocus or daffodils set out in attractive arrangements. But no.

In all, I found three gardening businesses, one for a local gardening magazine Zone 4, and two for organic lawn or landscaping businesses. The lawn exhibit did have a little patch of plastic grass on display, but I saw not one living plant. 

The only exhibit that included living things was that selling chicken houses: their model had real chicks in it, and all afternoon people thronged the door to watch the chicks run around under their bright lights, cheeping and scratching in the straw. This struck me as being hands down the best exhibit, from a gardening/ outdoors/ sustainability point of view. Not to mention the cuteness factor.

In the end, I went home with a deep longing for chickens, and with plans to get estimates for insulated blinds and solar roof panels, but no grand ideas about gardening. So much for that illusion.

Another one bites the dust.

7 Responses to Bozeman home and garden show: not so much

  1. A joke about the folly of wasting guilt when there were kids in India who didn’t even have any guilt sort of failed to gel, but I bet it would have been funny if I could have made it work.

  2. For “folly” in the previous comment please substitute “tragedy.”
    Thank you.

  3. Heh. I know what you mean. I haven’t been to a ‘home and garden’ show for about four years, ever since I had a similar experience as you’ve just described. These shows are only interested in selling the latest in plastic siding, or overpriced furnishings for ‘outdoor rooms’, or resin gnomes…not plants or seeds or other things that appeal to gardeners. I participate in a show that does include a fair bit for and about gardening/gardeners, and it’s one of the highlights of the year in our province. (It’s a terrific show, not because I’m involved, I hasten to add.)

  4. Oh, that just sounds so frustrating! Well, if you can make it to San Francisco, here’s my invitation to you to stay at my house for free. This year or the next. Really, I mean it.
    It’s still weird to see all those weird gardens put together just for the show, but there are lots of plants!

  5. Well that stinks. I hope you didn’t have to lay out some grand entrance fee or anything. I know I go to those things for the plants, not really for the siding, etc.
    Christine in Alaska

  6. mr. subjunctive Well, I find it funny even in this ungelled form, so if you ever get it polished, let me know.
    mr. s again–I can’t tell if you’re covering your politically incorrect rear end here, or upping the guilt-index above levels even I’d aspired to. The latter, I hope.
    Oh, such a relief to hear that someone else has been similarly bamboozled, Jodi! And yes, I’d forgotten the plastic siding, and that captures the atmosphere exactly. Ugh!
    TOWN MOUSE! Wow! When’s the show? What an invitation! And I thought I’d never be able to face another trip, as I just spent an exhausting week making complex travel plans. Hmm. Just dangle a garden carrot before my nose and I’ll come running. Thank you so much! I’ll definitely consider this.
    Hi, Christine, and welcome. (I believe you’re my first Alaskan.) Yes, it does stink, but fortunately no money changed hands. I’d have been irate as well as disgusted, if I’d actually paid to get in! I mean, the chicks were cute and all, but really…

  7. What?
    You’re not coming to Chelsea this year?
    I am devastated.
    No, not devastated…hurt….struck to the quick.
    What shall we do with the Presidential suite at Claridges?
    What will the Queen do with an empty afternoon?
    How about all those guardsmen practising their marching?
    We are a Nation, disappointed.

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