by guest blogger Annie Spiegelman, a.k.a. the Dirt Diva
Garden nerds, come home. There’s a place where we belong. It’s time to get your green on at the 26th year of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show! This year’s theme, “Life in the California Garden,” celebrates a bigger, better, and greener approach to tinkering around in our backyards, cursing aphids, tossing snails, threatening slowpoke plants to get them to bloom, and all the other so-called relaxing things we do in the name of gardening.
This year features 20 full-size garden installations from top Bay Area designers, including the world-renowned horticulture staff of Woodside’s Filoli Center, and seminars led by well-known experts like HGTV’s Gary Gragg, and garden authors Amy Stewart, Rosalind Creasy, and Annie Spiegelman (yes, I mention myself. Is that so wrong?). Award-winning landscape architect Jeffrey Gordon Smith will invite attendees of all ages to “Get Your Green On” with a strong emphasis on forward-looking, environmentally friendly techniques that can be accomplished in urban, suburban, and country gardens. The iconic Alice Waters will be featured at several Saturday events, including a lecture that will focus on the local foods movement and celebrate the 40th anniversary of her groundbreaking restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
And that’s not all, folks! Hold on to your nerdy, muddy, garden hat. There’s more! Nationally acclaimed filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia will show three short films from her upcoming documentary project Symphony of the Soil, which examines the state of community-based and scientific growing practices all over the world, with an emphasis on successful, environmentally sound options. This will be the first general-public showing in the Bay Area. “The segments on dry farming in Napa, community gardens in England, and a successful biodynamic community in the Third World should appeal not only to gardeners, but also to anyone interested in both the technical aspects of this complex topic as well as the sustainable green living practices,” says SF Flower and Garden Show Producer Kay Estey.
She adds: “Sure to appeal to local foodies will be daily cooking demonstrations by several Bay Area celebrity chefs—including Esquire magazine’s 2010 Chef of the Year Sean Baker, of Gather Restaurant; Francophile favorite Roland Passot of La Folie; the very hot Jeffrey Stout of Alexander’s Steakhouse; and the ever-popular Andrea Froncillo of the Stinking Rose Group—that will incorporate discussions with designers on “How to Grow a Chef-Worthy Garden.”
Along with scores of seminars and book signings by top experts on a range of topics, including flower arranging, design trends, water conservation, lawn alternatives, and cutting-edge growing walls, there will be a marketplace with over 200 vendors selling plants, seeds, tools, and fabulous gift items. There will also be a special Children’s Garden called Sproutopia with fun-filled, hands-on learning opportunities, as well as a farmer’s market with flowers and produce.
WHERE: San Mateo Event Center, 346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, California (20 minutes south of San Francisco)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 23rd, to Saturday, March 26th, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 27th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the door: $20 for a single-day admission, $25 for a multiday pass, and $15 for a half-day pass, and children under 16 are admitted free at all times. Admission includes all regular seminars and demonstrations. For advance online ticket sales, general show information, and a calendar of seminars, chef demonstrations, and film showings, go to SFGardenShow.com. Tickets can also be purchased at major Bay Area nurseries and garden centers, or by calling 925-605-2923.