Monday, April 02, 2007
Bushybrained on the Nordic Gardens Fair
I've always liked garden fairs, ever since my parents used to drag me along to them when I was a kid. To me they are a kind of tivolies where you can see strange things, rob exhibitors on sweets and weigh down yourself with broschures. This garden fair gets a weak three on a five grade scale, though. It's a three since I was very tired (my brain felt as focused as a bush) and I don't know if the bleak impression was due to me or the fair.
This year I could understand those who complains that there's too little of plants on garden fairs. There were a huge amount of things like gardening tools, bubbel pools and design frills present. This made me impatient since I wanted to look at plants and seeds. But I have to admit that most of the stuff really was intended for gardens. My big complaint is that the gardening and growin associations was scuffed away in a small hall to themselves. If they had been mixed in to the mass of reatilers and booksellers the result would have been much more interesting. More gardening pizzazz among the bubble pools and colourfull rubbershoes.
Few exhibitors handed out advertising sweets, and since I was firmly intent on not buying a loot of seeds I bought a lot of magazines instead. I didn't find Allt om Trädgård (swedish gardening magazine) but returned to Hus och Hem (swedish interior design magazine) several times instead. As I said I was a wee bit tired, and they sold a morning gown that looked cosy. On the other hand I found Rosie - a new gardening magazine that seems to be interesting.
And of course I found a lot of interesting plant and seed retailers. The netherlanders (two different companie) occupied two large spaces. A people reknown for gardening and commerce - I shouldn't had been surprised to find them there. What did impress me though is that they take their task so seriously that they had learnt to speak swedish (most dutch and swedes speaks excellent english). Impecta held a monter, showing off their greatness, eventhough they hadn't brought their seeds for tuberous pea. I found another seed seller, explained to be a posh Impecta by my accompaning friend Ann, but they didn't sell it either, neither did fröer.nu, who held a monter selling Thompson & Morgan seeds. Lord Nelson, a smålandish firm didn't have it either.
What impressed me most this fair was the big amount of amateur gardener associations. As I said they filled a hall by themselves (albight a small one). In Sweden we have a rose association, a fuchsia association, a geranium association, a koi association, a chili pepper association, a herb gardener association, two associations for ecological gardening, two associations for amateur gardeners in general and an allotment gardeners' assotiation, all big enough to keep monters in a fair said to be the biggest in Norway, Sweden and Finland together. And since I'm sure I haven't covered all associations present I can only say; swedes are an associated people.
"Have I've always been the kind of person looking for things that don't exist?" I asked Ann when we had left yet another seed retailer not selling tuberous pea.
"I tried to explain that to my collegue" she answered "We are the kind that don't just buy a yellow tulip, we by a yellow tulip with red speckles..."
".. true descendant of the bulb that once started the tulip fever in Holland" I added to her description.
"Precisely! And if the pattern proves to be incorrect somewhere, we'll explain that to anyone who wants to hear."
Yes, that's the two of us in a nutshell. And when I left the fair as one of the last leaving, with my wallet empty, a mass of magazines, some seed envelopes and a pelargonium graveolens (rosengeranium in swedish) in a plastic bag as well as a gigantic citrus bush in my arms (I left a trail of citrus from Stockholm to Uppsala) I had the feeling of leaving a twentyfour hour party and I couldn't help thinking
"Was this really a good idea?"