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Chicago outdoors showtime: Flower Show ruminations

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So my wife and I hit the Chicago Flower and Garden Show after seeing our tax-prep man on Saturday and, me being me, thoughts other than just flowers and gardens came.

I think it has been a decade since we have had an outdoors show of 10 days, yet the Flower Show runs for nine days at Navy Pier.

Explain to me how the Flower & Garden public can support a big-name, big nine-day show in a big-city venue, but outdoors sorts don't send enough people through to make a big, big-name outdoors show viable.

Tickets were $15. We lucked out on that. One of my wife's editors had a pair of tickets for us. The show will give a $10 discount for parking, but even so parking still cost $14.

If I had known the details of the parking, I would have thrown the perch rod in and made a few casts while my wife wandered around looking at some shop or the stained glass after the show.

Back to the Flower Show.

The incidental costs were the usual high ones for a night out.

I bought my wife a glass of white wine. A glass or Barefoot moscato cost $8? You got to be kidding.

Now I grant you, the server filled the plastic cup with about a 1/3 of the bottle. However, I sometimes buy Barefoot (yes, I know that shows a lack of discernment on my part) and there are those sales times when it is $4.99 or $5.99 a bottle.

We are not talking a rare vintage.

Did we enjoy the show? Yes, absolutely, especially the designed gardens. As somebody who put himself through the early years of college working in landscaping, I enjoyed the work and finished designs.

In particular, we were looking at some of the water designs to borrow or steal some smaller-scaled ideas. I think as the kids are getting older I might be able to try to do something small with water in our garden. That's in a few years, after they stop booting soccer balls all over.

Back to the show.

Yet, I noticed, and I do notice these things when I hit shows of any sort, quite a few of the junk booths in the booth area. You know what I mean, massage booths, facial remedies, etc.

I am beginning to think those booths keep shows afloat.

The Flower Show runs through Sunday. For those guys newly married or newly into a long-term relationship, let me give you a tip, there's real value in going with your significant other to things like the Flower Show.

One, it makes it easier to buy some time outside in a couple weeks when the weather breaks. And on those good nights, there are other added values.

Oh, and throw your perch rod in the back.

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Always an angle Dale. I like your style, even the barefoot.

Do you keep the Barefoot on the same shelf with the bottles of MD 20/20?

There are probably millions of people in Illinois with gardens. Only 500,000 get fishing licenses in Illinois. Only about 1,000 visit any website or blog that has anything to do with fishing pretty much throughout the state. That's a pretty limited audience.

Take a good look at the gear being used by the majority of that 500,000. It's border line junk and they don't care. They'll keep patching it up and using it till it falls apart beyond repair. Then they'll go over to WalMart and buy the cheapest thing on the rack. Same goes for all the lures and plastices used.

It's no different than the economy really. I'll bet 10 percent of Illinois anglers buy 90 percent of the more expensive stuff. You were out at the cooling lake openers. How many St. Croix Legends did you see walking by?

The average angler is notoriously cheap. Shows have to be as close to free as possible or they won't bother.

@Ken. While there are a lot of gardeners who are willing to buy some of that stuff at the show, I can tell you many are like fishermen. The exception is we share our seeds and periannuals with our fellow gardeners. We move stuff around and take found items to be garden art.
One of the things that is highlighted at the flower and garden show every year is creating outdoor space with big humpin' grills and fully furnished gazebos. One gazebo was bigger than our daughter's bedroom. Perhaps that is the reason for the bigger popularity.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 8, 2011 5:59 AM.

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