One of my favorite featured gardens at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show is Reflections: A Spirited Garden of Asian Inspiration. The Chicago Flower & Garden Show guide tells us; "Asian gardens are entrancing, serene spaces-tranquil and timeless. Generally small in scale, they achieve considerable effect with a minimum of resources, relying on eco-friendly materials artfully arranged. Decorative touches include a Buddha and lantern fashioned from natural stone, while Japanese maple, ginkgo trees and weeping larch add to the contemplative mood."
Usually, copy exaggerates to sell something but in this case I don't think the copy does the product justice. This garden can't really be described in words and my pictures don't do it justice. Amidst the noise of the crowds, sound effects and the distracting lighting this garden give visitors to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show a place to relax. I recommend visiting this garden later in the evening when he crowds have dwindled so you can really appreciate it.
These photos below show what Reflections looks like from the second floor of the exhibition hall. You can click on this photo for a larger view.
Looking at these photos the garden and stone Buddha head look massive but inside the space the proportions don't seem so big. Oddly enough, when you're standing in the garden you notice how intimate the space is. The Buddha head that looks so imposing from above seems to fall into scale with the rest of the garden.
The "garden art" is kept to a minimum with two lanterns and a water basin to complement the Buddha head sculpture.
A river is created below one of the lanterns using small pebbles and river rocks. This is an easy way for a home gardener to create movement and interest in a garden that doesn't have to cost a lot of money.
During the media preview of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show I walked around basically on my own just looking and taking photographs. On my second pass through the floor of the exhibit I came across Rich from Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery. I was greeted with a "God bless, you!" that echoed across the almost empty exhibition hall. The next thing I know I was sitting in the garden with him while he told me stories about his youth and how he came to get started collecting and selling rare trees and shrubs, the hot dog stand his Greek buddy had on the west side of Chicago many years ago and how his friend would meet him in the parking lot brandishing a .45 ACP to escort him into the hot dog stand. I hadn't seen Rich in about ten years and only knew him casually but he treated me like a long-lost friend. If you visit the Chicago Flower & Garden Show make sure to go later in the evening so you get a chance to meet Rich when he isn't busy. You'll walk away a better person.
Marketplace at Chicago Flower & Garden Show
Watch Rich on the 30th Anniversary Special of PBS' The Victory Garden.