What a Black Thumb Learned at a Flower and Garden Show

Award-winning landscape display. Photo by Corrina Lawson
Award-winning landscape display by Supreme Landscaping. Photo by Corrina Lawson

I kill houseplants.

I once had a rubber tree plant that I kept alive for almost ten years, a record, but, alas it died eventually and the replacements didn’t last long. It’s my husband who futzes and fiddles with our yard, and plants herbs and some vegetables with the kids.

So it was with trepidation that I approached my first visit to a show dedicated to flowers and gardens, the annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show last month. I knew my youngest daughter would enjoy it because she’s my husband’s most enthusiastic assistant.

She had a great time, as predicted. But I also enjoyed the show a great deal. Here’s why:

1. A new batch of spices.

Bittersweet Herb Farm from Shelburne, Massachusetts, had a large booth display with pretzels and dips made from its various spice blends. My daughter, the very picky eater, liked all the dips, and we came home with a small collection of spices. First dish made? Cajun Alfredo chicken in the Crockpot.

Everyone loved it. All six of us, which is a rarity. We’ve since tried the Alfredo with the garden spices with the same result.

homemade skin products, lotions
Body mousse and sugar scrub from Cirese C. Photo by Corrina Lawson.

2. Handmade soaps and lotions from Cirese C.

The owner/operator of this local skin therapy company makes all products by hand, producing wonderful smelling scrubs, bath salts, soaps, balms, creams, lotions, and jellies.

My daughter was entranced by the scents and tried out several products. She might have bought one of everything (I was the voice of reason but just barely), and we settled on a sugar scrub and a body mousse.

I’ve been using them for the past month and they’ve been a boon to the dry skin on my hands and feet. The prices line up with the more-famous Lush stores and I’ll be going back for more as soon as these run out. I told the exhibitor that she’d probably do very well at Connecticon, especially given the lines for the tea vendor last year.

3. Gorgeous signature landscape exhibits, such as the display above, that provided inspiration on ways to improve my own yard. Expensive ideas, true, but perhaps the ideas can be modified into something we can do ourselves. Maybe I’ve been interested in landscaping and just needed to see examples of how it’s done.

4. The awards in various plant categories provided great visuals to educate the daughter on the varieties of indoor and outdoor plants, flowering and otherwise.

5. Given the show took place during the worst of the snowfall in New England, our day was like taking a trip into spring. Going back outside was a shock. Boo!

Naugatuck cookies, made withbirch extract, maple syrup and candied cranberries. Photo via SavorFineFoods
Naugatuck cookies, made with birch extract, maple syrup and candied cranberries. Photo via SavorFineFoods

6. Homemade cookies from Savorfinefoods.com.

I didn’t know I liked cranberry cookies made in rosewater. Turns out, the Pinkki Rosewater & Cranberry Cookies made by Savor Foods from Watertown, Connecticut, are the perfect upscale sugary snack.

The various flavors offered by Savor start at $9 a bag, a bit expensive for the everyday, but perfect for gift-giving come the holidays. Warning: Because the cookies are so small, it’s easy to eat a lot at one time.

And by “a lot” I mean “the whole bag.”

My list doesn’t include the chocolate vendor, who sold me some terrific dark chocolate nonpareils, the various booths featuring flower and garden-themed jewelry, and the many vendors with outdoor furniture, such as the chair that can be hung like a hammock. That one, I wanted to bring home despite the $249 price tag. Alas, it wouldn’t work on any of our trees.

As for differences between this and the comic con crowds, I noticed more older adults, like myself, and fewer kids, though there were several child-themed activities. Crowd noise was at a discernibly lower level during the flower show than at Connecticon, which does tend to become overwhelming, sound-wise, on the exhibition floor. This was a definite plus for the youngest daughter, as she’s noise-sensitive.

All in all, it made for a fun day. We’ll be back next year.

Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.