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.