A week or so ago, Marisa Reeves (Media Relations Manager for Macy’s East, North Region), offered to set up a tour of the show for local garden bloggers with the Jon Jones (Visual Director for Macy's on State Street) & Todd Pope (Branch Manager for Green View's Oswego location). My Skinny Garden & Garden Girl found time in their schedules to attend. And that is how my boycott of Macy's & pink flowers ended.
I'm a realist and I know that the purpose of the flower show is to get people into the store and hope they buy or become loyal customers. Gimmicks like this usually don't appeal to me but the show is a lot of fun and realistic. What do you mean by "realistic?" A lot of times flower shows like this tend to lean towards the theatrical and use plants that the visitor can't grow in their Zone. Dream in Color uses a combination of perennials that can be planted in Chicago interspersed with flowers & plants that are too tender and won't survive a Chicago winter. But you can actually walk away from Dream in Color with inspiration that is practical and a plant list you can find at a local garden center to start a garden in Chicago.
Besides ideas for plants for your garden and color combinations you can use in your garden you can also gather ideas for gardening in small spaces like patios, decks and that annoying spot between the street and the sidewalk that nobody ever knows what to do with.
I think we could talk My Skinny Garden into wearing one of these if Macy's would become a sponsor of the national garden blogger gathering Chicago Spring Fling.
My favorite installation is the flamingo topiary. If I recall correctly each flamingo had over 2,000 kalanchoes painstakingly added. The frames had to be rotated so all the plants would receive equal amount of light to prevent them from becoming lopsided.
Here is an overhead view of the garden installation. The topiaries are underplanted with tulips, azaleas and chrysanthemums. The turf is created with wheat grass that has to be cut by hand and maintained during the run of the flower show.
This is an overhead view of the Walnut Room.
As you can see, even the fountain in the Walnut Room was turned into a garden and has been invaded by pink flamingos.
There are many tablescapes and items throughout the store that can give you inspiration. I don't know how I'd pull this off but I have to have blue trees like this in my garden.
I know these planters aren't very pratical but I really like the way they look. Notable tablescapes not pictured:
- Ralph Lauren table featuring the Red Pogada china collection
- Martha Stewart table featuring her Modern Daisy china collection
- Wedgwood/Waterford table inspired by Showtime's The Tudors featuring Wedgwood's Oberon china collection along with crystal stemware and serving pieces from Waterford
I actually took a picture of the tablescape inspired by The Tudors but didn't include it because I figure that tablescape will be visible in other locations.
I called this one the Hewlett-Packard Garden because it was built around the HP Mini. The peonies in the design by Vivienne Tam are picked up by the real life tree peonies. We were told these mini-notebooks have been displayed as clutch purses on the fashion runways.
I loved this square topiary planted with succulents on the first floor. Like I said, there are a lot of neat ideas you can take from the displays on the first floor for gardening in small spaces. This one is an interesting topiary shape I never would have considered-but it works.
Fashion & flowers collide all over the place. The Betsey Johnson garden seems a little subdued and not as over the top as I was expecting. I'm not sure if this was intended, but viewing this garden installation I thought the trees looked rather menacing and looked like they were lurching over the fairy-like mannequins. Since My Skinny Garden and Garden Girl had also been to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show the first thing that came to mind was the bee topiary in the installation by the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, when we saw the dragonfly topiary.
A view of the flamingos and cherry trees from the second floor. If you attend Dream in Color you should enter either through the Randolph or Washington entrances so you get to walk underneath the giant flamingos. There are fifteen cherry trees used throughout the show and they had to be put, alternately, in a greenhouse and in refrigerated trucks to get them to bloom for the show. If I remember correctly all fifteen will be replaced at some point in the show to keep the flower show fully stocked in cherry blossoms.
Whenever you're in Macy's you should make it a point to look up and see the amazing Tiffany Ceiling.
On the left is Jon Jones, Visual Director for Macy's on State Street. On the right is Todd Pope, Branch Manager for Green View's Oswego location. Green View is the floral partner for Dream in Color. Together with Marisa Reeves they provided us with an educational and funny tour of the flower show. Jon, if you read this I could probably make a centerpiece of one of the large flamingos. Todd if you need to unload any of those plants I could probably find two or three garden bloggers who would take them off your hands. Thanks for the tour.
Dream in Color is free to the public and runs from April 5th- April 19th. See website for more details. Don't miss the following:
Flower show tours by the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners every Thursday-Sunday throughout the duration of the show, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., & 3 p.m.
Rose Gardening tips by the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners every Friday & Saturday through the duration of the show, 12:10 and 12:40 p.m.
Family Fun Day
Saturday, April 11, 5th Floor Children's Department, 1-3 p.m. Kids will learn the basics of worm composting, including learning about Red Wigglers.
Family Fun Day
Saturday, 18, 5th Floor Children's Department, 1-3 p.m. The Traveling Bug Brigade by the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener staff.
I didn't post pictures of the garden displays on the first floor so as not to spoil it for you if you're in the Chicago area and would like to attend. There is more to see that what I posted. And for the record, it will be a cold day in hell or take one awesome flower show for me to ever call the Sears Tower "Willis Tower." I'm just sayin'
You may be interested in these posts of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show 2009:
Hope for a Healing Planet
Reflections: An Asian Inspired garden
Rooftop Garden of the Future
Paradise in a Parking Lot
Chicago Flower & Garden Show 2009
Update: Macy's Flower Show post for 2011
Macy's Flower Show 2011 Preview. My photo gallery for Chicago Garden with pictures from the media preview of the 2011 show. The theme is "Towers of Flowers".
Macy's Flower Show Bromeliads & Succulents. My post here on this blog about the cacti & succulent garden display and the bromeliads featured in the show.