“Earth laughs in flowers.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here in The Windy City, we need a show dedicated to ringing in spring before we all go a little crazy with cabin fever. As a nature lover, it is always a welcome sight to see spring start to bud, and the Flower & Garden Show allows us all to experience a little premature spring fever.

This year’s theme for the show is The Sport of Gardening, which seems to have been taken quite literally by some participants this year. Throughout the show, you’ll find exhibits infused with Chicago Sports teams motifs including a jersey shrine right at the entrance to the event. The Blackhawks, Bears, White Sox, Cubs and Fire are all represented, but I was hard pressed to find anything Bulls related. Oh well…

With that being said, here are some must sees at this year’s Chicago Flower & Garden Show:

One Goal Garden
An ice rink filled with water ready for you to walk through, a Chicago Blackhawks logo made of autumnal leaves and a smaller version of the Stanley Cup itself. Yes, we are the champions, so soak that it in while you can! Water and hockey highlights are running while you walk through shallow water.

Sustainable Soiree, Whole Foods Market
Design and concept by the lovely and talented Stacey Bal AIFD (that’s American Institute of Floral Designers for all you slackers) and her partner in crime Luz Cardenas CFD (Certifed Floral Designer), this plush table full of orchids, bamboo, air plants and whimsical hanging arrangements is reminiscent of a magical jungle garden and a functional space all wrapped into one lovely package.

The Hats on Parade
You can’t miss this one, especially if you are as big of a hat aficianado as me. 1920s Hollywood inspired hats, dreadlocks made of flowers and foliage, hats that light up, this display’s got a hat for everyone!

The Tulip Garden
This garden has every single tulip known to humankind! OK, probably not every tulip, but there are a few dozen varieties. A fun way to enjoy this garden is by picking out your favorites while the boys who want nothing to do with flowers or gardens play baseball in your background.

Take a deep breath and inhale that spring air, because this winter is one that won’t quit! Thankfully, we have this show to remind us all that there is, indeed, a proverbial light at the end of the long, wintry tunnel.

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show , Navy Pier, March 5-13, 2011

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