so, what did you think of the nj flower show?

hunt4carlFebruary 15, 2009

Oh, boy. . .I'm afraid this is what happens when an outside

Events Production Company gets their hands on a show that

requires a least SOME degree of taste and esthetics. Suffice it to say that I was pretty PO'd to be charged an

admission and then be herded down a side corridor through a

side door into a vast chamber which it turns out was 50% or

more filled with vendors pushing non-garden-related stuff

and hoping to pry away some MORE of my money. Aside from

the fact that almost anything offered there is now available on-line (and cheaper!), why would I need to go to

a Flower and Garden Show to purchase 300-thread count

Egyptian cotton sheets. . .or a Super-Clean Steam Mop. . .

or investment advice from David Lerner Associates. . .or

four pair of socks for $10.00!. . .or even Allstate Insurance? My heart went out to all those legitimate garden vendors and serious horticultural groups (like Diane's Jersey Shore Rose Society) who found themselves trapped in this hustler's circus.

The signage everywhere was either incorrect or inadequate; parking was a nightmare - we were actually FORCED to park in a vacant field about a half-mile from the Expo Center, and then stand and wait in a freezing wind for 15 minutes for a shuttle bus to find us! Rather than being glad to finally reach the Flower Show, instead I couldn't wait to get out of there. And WHERE were all the flowers???

On the way home, I stopped at Sickles Farm

Market in Little Silver and spent a blessed half-hour in

their greenhouse (free!) soaking up some REAL horticulture.

And if you'd like to see it done correctly, here in New Jersey, check out the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Springfest Flower & Garden Show

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I was there(with an exhibit) several years ago and like you said, it was almost nothing.
Go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. There are extensive displays, competitive classes, and a section with vendors. Ticket(s) are included with a Penn Hort Society membership.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 9:16PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

I have to say last year's show showed some growth in the right direction. Unfortunately they were not able to keep that up this year. I suspected that would be the case with the economy the way it is. The lack of displays were disappointing as were the lack of vendors about gardening.
I went Thursday night and the place was empty. I always find the flower shows to be empty at night so I wasn't surprised but I think the vendors got very nervous. You could see it in their eyes. Probably the spaces are overcharged. We heard some vendors mention over $1,000.

We got stuck listening to several live infomercials and hard sell speeches. What really surprised me is the lack of cards, brochures and websites. One vendor said we could have his website address after the first order but he wasn't going to be able to pay for his space by giving out brochures.

What this show lacks is consistency. Many vendors don't come back again so never develop a following. I do visit Atlock every year and buy my begonia. I also bought another overpriced plant just to get away from the vendor - he was selling just rooted begonia plugs for $6 - not even potted. He kept trying to make me buy plants I wasn't interested in. Finally I took a red flash oxalis for $8 - very overpriced for the size but at least I wanted it. Anyway, he amused me (and at least he sold plants).
I bought from D. Landreth Seed Company (seed potatoes, Bishop of Llandoff dahlia and malabar seeds).
Peony Envy was there (interesting name). I did not buy but I plan to visit their location. That should be interesting.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 5:47PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Edit the above - the oxalis was O. alstonii 'Firefern'. There is no Red Flash but that is what they called it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:50PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

Sorry I missed everyone! Thanks for the notes and for stopping by the booth!!!

Even I missed the show, I only saw the seed and bread booths and said "Hi" to the guy who used to sell the stacking planters (we got to be chatty over a couple of years) was now selling some new hose nozzle. I didn't see any of the floral displays or the Garden Club displays.

Saturday was brutal. I found out that PSE&G customers received a free ticket for Valentine's Day in their bill. Was wall-to-wall, and it was difficult for people to get over to us.

Steve, sorry, but the Philadelphia Flower Show is packed wall-to-wall every day. You can't get close to the exhibits until about an hour before the show closes. I would try to go, but it is just too much for me.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 7:26PM
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Now, Diane, you mustn't go scaring people away from a REAL
flower show. . . :) Of course, Philadelphia, IS quite crowded, but the mob really does start dissipating in the
late afternoon - from, say, 5:30 to 9:30 (closing), you'd have no trouble getting close to any exhibit. Why not start
your visit in the Marketplace earlier in the afternoon
(where the crowds don't matter as much) - there are
hundreds of vendors, the vast majority of them interesting-
and then work your way back to the main exhibits later in
the day? It's actually the reverse flow of traffic for
most folks, but there's nothing preventing you from doing
it that way. . .

Crowds or no, this is one major event I wouldn't miss for
all the tea in China. . .been to almost every show in the
past 40 years! Admittedly, my being 6'4" means the crowds
don't prevent my seeing much. . .and my membership in PHS
(which includes you annual show ticket!) also provides the
bonus of the member's lounge to "hang out" in whenever I
need a second wind, plus loads of 10% discounts. . .

Maybe I should start offering free master classes in "How
To Attend The Philadelphia Flower Show - and Survive!"


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 10:43PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Lol! Carl that is true. Later in the day is best at Phily. You will have no trouble seeing what you want, especially those of us who take pictures.
Diane, I am glad to read that it got crowded. However, this show really needs to ensure a certain number of plant vendors are at least present, even if it means giving them a price break. Few of them stick with the show from year to year. If you're not going to have the displays, then have the plants. It is what people expect at a flower show.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 5:57AM
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Sunday seemed well attended also, and by then they were allowing people in the front entry, right into the display area. While there were more non-garden-related vendors than I would like to see, maybe some of them are there to keep dragged-along-husbands happy - you know, things like the 18-in-one ladder, the super-duper hoze nozzle.

It was good to see Peony's Envy there again, and Landreth (oh, I wanted at least one of those Llandalf dahlias, but had reached my limit). There was a bulb company, I cannot remember the name, that I bought from last year and was happy with the results, so purchased a few more this year.

As for the displays, I was generally pleased. Definitely better than last year, in which I think too many exhibitors focused on such things as "outdoor kitchens" instead of gardens. I was eager to see the rainwater system GroundsKeeper has been talking about ... impressive ... as is the price (at least for me; I'll just have to stick to my food-grade rain barrels).

We went to the Philly show last year and I was impressed, but it was so huge I didn't know where to start. And, yes, trying to take pictures was frustrating. We are looking forward to attending again this year. Carl, if you decide to run a workshop, please post the details and count me in.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 10:44PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

Carl, I think you should write a guide pamphlet to the Philly Flower Show! I do enjoy the exhibits when I have gone, but it is too large for me to see both the displays and the vendors, so I stick with the displays.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:33PM
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weedwoman(z6 NJ)

First time I went to the NJ show, and I admit I was underwhelmed. I was there on Saturday (one of the free PSE&G tix) and it was pretty crowded. We parked (illegally, I think) right across the street, but there was no parking info at all, and the entrance seems to be at the back of that building. The whole layout is strange, for a building that is intended for public events.

I thought maybe it was meager because all the heavy hitters do go to the Philly show instead. Which is certainly crowded, but worth it. Forget the displays, check out the horticultural competition area - not nearly as crowded, and boy if you want inspiration to take better care of your poor neglected houseplants (or alternatively, to give up on them entirely), that's the place to go. Wow... Whereas I think my poor neglected houseplants would have won most of the competitions at the NJ show.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 12:00AM
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Loretta NJ Z6

The Rutger students did a nice job again though.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 7:42PM
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