Alabama, flowers, gardening, green living, local food, spring
Vertical bed of lettuces, flowers and herbs at the 2009 Festival of Flowers.
Take heart, all you northern gardeners. Even though your vegetable beds may be slumbering under six inches of fresh snow this week, those sweet spring days are just around the corner.
Here in south Alabama, we flirt with winter but the relationship never lasts. We’re already well into our growing season, with pea vines waving overhead and tomato plants racing to put on some size before the arrival of the rowdy insect hordes who show up to party all summer. We know that by July, when the mercury rarely dips below 90 degrees, gardening will be bearable only before sunrise or during a steady rain. But in April, anything is possible.
I try to attend the Festival of Flowers every spring, to soak up some gardening inspiration. The event provides a sprawling patchwork of blooms from around the world — plus locally grown orchids, landscape architecture installations, a whimsical tablescape competition, a gardening vendors’ marketplace and a slate of expert speakers and demonstrations. Fun!
Among the usual ikebana arrangements and displays of backyard reflecting pools, this year’s exhibit tent was populated with a surprising number of edible landscape elements. There were hedges incorporating kumquat trees and rabbiteye blueberries. Windowboxes were artfully arranged with herbs and edible flowers. One local company advertised a 4×4 foot raised bed (the finished product, all dark stained wood and spindles, looked almost like a piece of furniture) installed and planted with your favorite seasonal veggies.
The advice booth, staffed by members of Master Gardeners, was all about the kitchen garden this year:
And I couldn’t help lusting after this beautiful 1955 Ford pickup, all covered in locally grown food crops. (Sigh.)
At the container gardening display, a repurposed kitchen sink becomes a home for lettuces and garlic chives:
And the usual displays — the ones that dealt with flowers or landscape design — were as beautiful as always. So here, for all my snowbound gardening friends, is a little bit of spring. Enjoy!
Great pictures! Thanks for sharing some inspiration!
I HATE I missed the Festival of Flowers!!! It is such an amazing event. I always love to see the displays the people have. One of the ladies in our garden club did a display….I’m not sure on what. Seems like it was something with either bamboo or orchids…I can find out! thanks for sharing the pics!
That vertical bed of lettuce was WAY COOL!
Donna at Suburban Sanctum said:
Stunning colors! Thanks for a real day-brightener for this cold-weary northern gal! 🙂
The vertical bed is awesome. Thanks for sharing you lovely photos.
My Blog On Flowers said:
This was great reading on flowers for the day.
Thanks for the virtual tour. I love attending garden shows, as well as gardens anywhere I go. I will often plan my vacations around the nearest botanical garden.
Thank you for that bright spot of spring Val. I’ve been desperate for it. Love the vertical wall. Goes to show even if space is limited, you can have your own veggie/flower plot, doesn’t it? and I was so excited about the protea photo ~ just two days ago I wouldn’t have known what they were ~ now I do!! It’s so good to keep learning. Fun show and photos for this dreary Saturday morn. Happy Easter too!
trish from "grow lettuce grow" said:
ok that vertical bed of lettuce ROCKS IT!!!!!!
Mr. Carriage Clocks said:
Wow their are some beautiful pictures here thanks for posting them.
Amazing photos! I can nto believe one of the garderes managed to grow loquats! They are really yummy, makes for a excellent jam!