San Francisco Flower and Garden Show 2012

photo by Holly Guenther

Garden Life Roses

I have no clue what possessed me to to sign up for a booth at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. The last thing I remember, I was checking the website for show dates, and then my name suddenly appeared in a corner booth!

Having a tendency towards impulsive decisions certainly keeps life interesting. Not that I don’t suffer from regret and having serious panic attacks! However, looking back on the garden show (and other schemes I’ve  instigated), I’ve decided that impulsiveness can be an asset rather than a character flaw.

photo by Holly Guenther

Yep. I belong here!

When I arrived at the garden show on Tuesday, I found my booth empty except for a large puddle of water. My neighbors had a leaking water feature,  and apologized profusely. I had paid for a table, 2 chairs and a rug and it seemed fortuitous that they hadn’t arrived. This could have been a trying time, but instead I practiced some yoga breathing, and even did some stretching and made a few new friends.

photo by Holly Guenther

Urban Farm Girls

After I set up my booth, I explored the halls and introduced myself to cool people who made me feel at home. Plant folks are on the same positive wavelength, and I felt great after just a few chats. In fact, I was surprised to find that like me, some were using their vacation hours to be at the Show. For example, Bob of Rainbow Worms is developing his business so he’ll have extra money during retirement. If you need any worms or an awesome bin, check out his stuff. I also enjoyed Kim and Jana from Sticky Situation in Arizona, who wowed me with their gorgeous cacti. Tina of Urban Farm Girls shared her secret to making perfect hypertufa containers. Rose and Dan of Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville donated a catnip to my cause when I mentioned that Snuggles (my cat) was most likeley upset by my long absence. Wasn’t that sweet?

photo by Holly Guenther

Magical Garden

The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show is held at the San Mateo Event Center, which overflows with gorgeous plant displays such as this magical garden. I took a break from my booth to sit enjoy the displays and easily forgot the crowds while watching the koi fish swim. These numerous display gardens were built in just three days! Landscapers install them around the inside edges of the Expo building. It was fun to explore each one and marvel at the detail and hard work that went into their creation. In the middle of Expo hall you could find tools, greenhouses, garden art, plants, garden wear, planting containers, and just about anything else related to gardening to purchase.

Opportunities for learning at the garden show were endless. A seminar stage featured  8-10 speakers daily on numerous topics such as gardening in the city, growing native plants, working with tall grasses, planting Japanese Maples, growing succulents, creating the perfect bonsai, and much, much more. Children aren’t left out either, a large side room off of Fiesta Hall had a kids area called Sproutopia where children created make-and-take crafts.

photo by Holly Guenther

Magical Garden

The one word that expresses the feeling of the garden show for me is “magical.”  Almost 50,000 people visited this year to see ordinary buildings explode with enchanted displays, gorgeous plants and riots of color. Like  most people, I walked around with my mouth hanging open most of the time and was lost at least 50% of the time.

While at my booth, I answered questions about keeping plants alive, busting pests and the sort of stuff that makes me happy. I talked about how to make a bug collection, miniature gardens and fairy gardens (one little girl approached the booth, pointed at the little garden and whispered “I believe in fairies!” and took off running) succulents, and terrariums, among other topics. Lots of folks were happy to see “Central Valley” on my banner. I had visitors from places like Fresno, Hughson, Tracey, Clovis, Modesto, Stockton, Elk Grove and Sacramento. Most commented that the CV was normally underrepresented at the show, and they were delighted to see me. That made me feel pretty good. I had thought about making my pages more generic, but have since changed my mind.

photo by Anne


Many thanks to my friend Holly! She helped me plan my booth ahead of time so it would look fabulous. I couldn’t have done this show without her. She also did the graphic design for my brochures, created the adorable buttons we handed out, helped me plant my miniature garden (when I was sick), listened to my numerous panic attack induced phone calls before the show, hung out at my booth for FOUR days, and encouraged me to follow my dream.  Being at the show was like a natural adrenaline high for me, so she also listened to my endless chattering about the show before, during and after it.  And she SWEARS she still likes me?!? LOL. How lucky am I to have a friend like this? A good friend truly is a flower in the garden of life. 🙂 I’m excited about the miniature gardening trinkets she’ll be working on to sell next year at the Show! For a preview of her stuff, check out her Facebook at Kimchi Kawaii.




  1. Aw, thanks for the shout out! It was a lot of fun watching you discover your ‘mother ship’, lol! Uh oh, the secret’s out, I better get to work on my miniatures….the pressure! LOL.

    Btw, you forgot to mention The. Best. Hot. Chocolate. Ever. from Kingston Cafe in San Mateo!

  2. How pity I could not visit this magical show! A long way for me from Saint Petersburg.

  3. I thought your booth was great, im from northern california (Live Oak,CA) and i am looking forward to using your website. It has already helped me out with my planning of the flower building for the yuba sutter fair. I am looking forward to furture use of your website. 🙂

  4. do you know anything about the rainbow rose that you have a picture of from the show? i did not see it and would love to know more about it.

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