Vail Landscape Logic column: Finding spring at garden shows
January 29, 2017
This time of year when we're in the deep freeze, we need to smell some flowers — and garden shows soon to open statewide can bring the scent of nectar to our nostrils. The 2017 garden-show season officially launches with the opening of the Colorado Garden & Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center on Saturday.
If you're suffering from seasonal color deficit disorder, then the sight of flowers in bloom might help you survive until petunia-planting time. These shows also allow us to preview new trends we might want to bring home to our landscapes, patios and gardens. Here are four tips to help you get the most from your trips to local garden shows.
Avoid being overwhelmed: Walking through the door to see hundreds of exhibitors feels overwhelming — especially if your time is limited. Do your homework online ahead of time, based on what you really want to see. The list of exhibitors by category and show floor plan can help you map out your route so you have a plan when you enter.
Know your needs: Are you attending with a mission in mind? If you are on a hunt to see new trends in outdoor lighting or fire pits, then designate those stops as your top priority. Make these exhibits your first stops because you may end up in lines waiting to speak with someone. While you're queued up, let their display speak to you. Do they show credentials such as "certified," list industry affiliations or other third-party endorsements? If their booth conveys a sense of quality, then hold your place; if not, then move on to your next stop.
If you’re suffering from seasonal color deficit disorder, then the sight of flowers in bloom might help you survive until petunia-planting time.
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Evaluate the experts: Pay attention to clues that indicate the person with whom you are speaking is the expert he or she claims to be. Do they answer your question with another one to find out more about your needs? Real experts often do that because they know a good answer may depend on several factors. Pat answers can be shallow and not very helpful. If they say, "I don't know," that may be a sign of integrity more than stupidity.
Write down the advice you receive from different exhibitors. At the end of the day, it's likely you won't remember who said what. When you take a few notes, you will be able to compare and contrast all the advice later, and that will help you decide which companies you want to contact again.
Enjoy the gardens: Before you leave, make sure you've taken plenty of time to stroll by the gardens and smell the roses. Enjoy your first drink of spring!
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.
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