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Reflections Garden: Chicago Flower & Garden Show 2009

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.

Reflections: Asian Themed Garden Chicago Flower & Garden Show 2009

Reflections: Asian Themed Garden Chicago Flower & Garden Show 2009, Front overhead viewLooking 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.

Asian lantern, Asian garden Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Asian lantern, Asian garden, Chicago Flower & Garden ShowThe "garden art" is kept to a minimum with two lanterns and a water basin to complement the Buddha head sculpture.

River created with stones, Chicago Flower & Garden ShowA 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.

Rich from Foxwillow Pines, Chicago Flower & Garden Show

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.

Related posts:

Marketplace at Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Watch Rich on the 30th Anniversary Special of PBS' The Victory Garden.


  1. Anonymous12:21 PM

    An excellent post, Mr BT! I liked the overhead photo to give an overview of the garden. So often, reports on shows are so limited and have only one photo to try to illustrate the garden. It's interesting to see how the scale of things changes when you're actually in the space.

  2. Hi Nikki,

    Thanks for stopping by. You're right about how only one image of a garden can't really convey what it looks like or feels like to be there in it. I feel like even the photos I took aren't enough to really show what was there. I think I may go back and pick up plant photos later this week.

  3. I really liked the fake river made of pebbles and rocks thing.. but I immediately thought out how hard it would be to keep debris off it... I guess I'm asking whether this feature is really practical... but.. yes... LOVED this one!!!!

  4. @J-Dog,

    You've probably have to hire a toddler and buy him/her a tiny rake to rake out all the debris.

  5. Hey MBT - I've got to disagree, I think those pebbles look awful! Seems a very weak riff off a far more successful and ambitious approach to a dry stream, usually calling for a lot of rocks laid cheek by jowel, not upended like bits of easter eggs or bits of urban debris! Thanks for the visuals.

  6. Hey Ketzel I didn't know you were back from your trip. Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts. :0)



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