By Lisa Steinkopf
This year I had the pleasure of being one of the speakers at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. My talk scheduled for Thursday morning was “Cultivating Your Green Thumb – Indoors.”
After my presentation I proceeded to the show. There were so many beautiful gardens to see. I especially loved the topiaries that were done by the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo. They were a huge hit with the kids and adults alike, and brought attention to pollinators. Yay!
Of course, the marketplace was amazing – and dangerous to my wallet, I may add. My money disappeared quickly. Mariano’s Marketplace and Ted’s Greenhouse were especially tempting. I loved all the plants and must admit I took quite a few home with me. I even bought a vine for the Belle Isle Conservatory here in Detroit. I also couldn’t miss visiting The Seed Keeper Company booth and hobnobbing with fellow GWA members Carol Niec and Kerrie Rosenthal. They were so much fun!
A new item on the exhibit floor that especially caught my attention was the LED Habitat, a lighted garden perfect for a countertop. Growing healthy herbs is almost impossible in the house without extra light. This adjustable stand would be perfect!
The display this year by the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences totally intrigued me. The students and faculty there are keeping the “Ag” in ChicAGo. The young adults I spoke to in this booth were very articulate and answered all my many, many questions. I was beyond impressed.
The premise of this college preparatory high school is to “provide opportunities for diverse students from across the city to study agriculture with the goal of developing marketable skills as well as college level competencies.” They have five “pathways” to choose from: horticulture/landscape design, agricultural finances, animal science, agriculture mechanics, and food science. Two hours of their high school day are spent in the pathway they have chosen. I was absolutely blown away! I would have loved to attend this high school as I knew from a young age that I wanted to work with plants.
The high school is located on 75 acres, 50 of which are used for farming, and raising animals. They have horses, cows, pigs, chickens, and goats. They also raise turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday. The produce and food products are then sold at a local farmer’s market.
I spent a large amount of time at this booth, talking to these amazingly well-versed high school students. Twice a day they planted seeds with children at the show, using wooden containers that they had made. What an amazing opportunity for these kids!
As a member for 21 years of a local garden club, I was especially pleased to see the involvement of the local Chicago garden clubs in the Show. They made the most beautiful window boxes on display at the show. It was hard to pick my favorite. I really liked the use of antiques in this one.
I encourage anyone near Chicago next March to stop in and spend the day at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. It was amazing and provided just the shot in the arm I needed after the long winter!
Meet the Author
Lisa Eldred Steinkopf is The Houseplant Guru. Lisa grew up in a rural setting and her love for plants came from helping in the family vegetable garden, her Mom’s flower garden and the fun of just exploring the countryside with her 3 older brothers. Yet, her true passion came from Grandma and her many houseplants. She writes for local magazines and gives presentations to Master Gardener groups and local garden clubs and garden centers.